In talking this week with folks from the various PodCamps about things like logistics and fundraising, one discussion that hasn’t happened which I think is worth mentioning is the topic of rockstars.
Rockstars, loosely defined, are the A-List, “name brands” in any given vertical. In podcasting, they’re the people who tend to have really large audiences and recognized personal brands – Andrew Baron, Amanda Congdon, lonelygirl15, Robert Scoble, and so forth. Rockstars are great to have if you’re a conference planner because they add name recognition to your event, encouraging sponsors to contribute more, encouraging attendees to pay more, etc.
UnConferences like PodCamp are a different breed. Rockstars are of course more than welcome, because it’s a bonus for attendees to be able to talk and network with people they might not otherwise get a chance to, but PodCamp is not about the rockstars of today, at least not to me.
From my perspective, PodCamp is about finding the rockstars of tomorrow, the people who have got great things ahead of them, and if you’re smart, you’ll get to know them and become friends with them early on. For example, one of the folks who “get it” about PodCamp is Jeff Pulver, who, when he saw what Chris Brogan was capable of, offered him a job on the spot. PodCamp is about meeting people and learning what’s possible, what you can do, and how you can help podcasting and new media grow as a medium.
Everyone who attends PodCamp and participates is a rockstar of tomorrow – even if they don’t know it. One of the central tenets of PodCamp is “everyone is free to participate” – so be sure to attend sessions by people you’ve never heard of. If you have something worth sharing and contributing to the community, by all means please participate!
There are gems to be found in unexplored territory. Make as many new friends and relationships as possible at a PodCamp near you.
Be sure to check out the PodCamp homepage for upcoming PodCamps.