Dave Winer on invite-only Google Zeitgeist conference.

A pertinent rant by Dave Winer about invite-only Google Zeitgeist conference. What is interesting here is not the event per se but the 'invite only' thing:

How ironic that a conference called Web 2.0 was invite-only. It's so un-weblike to say who can come and who can't. That's not what the web says. It says anyone can come. (...) Take a step back and ask what the goals of the conference are. How do you know who the right people are? Are you sure you do? Maybe it would be better to let the universe decide who should be at the conference.

Then he reflects on his experience:

My experience with these shows is that if you trust the universe, it will take good care of you. In all three cases, exactly the right number of people showed up. Every seat was filled, a few people had to stand, there were enough lunches, lively discussions, all the goals were achieved. Now we didn't get people who only come when an event is invite-only, but I say that's good! Those people don't come because they love ideas and want to learn and share, they come for other reasons and they change the character of the event, not in a good way, imho.

And this is also interesting:

You come because this is the good stuff. You come because this is totally 1.0. This is why I came to Silicon Valley in 1979, when I was 24 years old. (...) Like an open conference, I needed to give something up to get there. But there was no gatekeeper at the door to Silicon Valley telling me I needed an invite. The door was open because not only is that a value of the web, but it's also a value of Silicon Valley, even if some people usurp that.

Why do I blog this? first because I really believe in (and appreciate) the openness of Silicon Valley, I'm sure that it plays a really positive role in sustaining innovation there. Second, since I'm helping laurent organizing a conference about emerging technologies here in Geneva, I can fairly see that we have to think about those issues.