Is PodCamp Too Corporate? or, Welcome New Folks!
Gosh, I hope so. But not in the sense he's thinking. In terms of sponsors and vendors, there are so far three - VON, Blue Sky Factory, and Jay Berkowitz. You've heard VON's commercial pitch - attend Video on the Net for $200 instead of $1,695. Blue Sky Factory hasn't gotten their sponsorcast stuff to us yet, but they're a mailing list service, the one that powers PodCamp Boston's outreach efforts.
Here's my thinking about all the corporations, venture capitalists, media, and marketers coming to PodCamp Boston:
Welcome! Please go meet some new media people, and learn all about new media.
In the year that's passed since PodCamp Boston 1, there have been a number of success stories about new media folks being able to make a living doing what they love to do most. At the same time, there are orders of magnitude more stories about people wanting to get connected to resources (money, media, marketing) to share their work who haven't been able to. At PodCamp Philly, Brian Conley from Alive in Baghdad mentioned very publicly that AIB is desperately looking for donors/sponsors. He and his organization are doing great, very important work telling stories that the mainstream media aren't.
It's my hope as one of the organizers of PodCamp Boston that if we put folks like Brian and AIB in the same room as producers and directors from media buyers, venture capitalists like Openview and Masthead Venture Partners, that new media experts with legitimate, great content can get connected with resource partners. It's not about selling stuff to PodCamp attendees at all, but rather connecting new people and new media together to make exciting partnerships and friendships.
If PodCamp Boston didn't invite people with resources to the new media community, we'd be doing the community a disservice. As Bill Weye pointed out, people come to PodCamp to collaborate and meet others doing exciting things. I hope that idea and feeling extends to new people who want to know more about new media, and isn't just reserved for people already in the community.
Finally, I'll remind EVERYONE of this: the Law of Two Feet - meaning you walk away from what doesn't interest you - doesn't just apply to sessions. In every interaction at PodCamp, you have the right to walk away, and should do so immediately. With so many people of so many different backgrounds, you can find plenty of people of similar mind if you choose to do so. I hope you don't. Corporate or evangelist, early adopter or conservative, I hope you meet some new friends and find ways to help each other in whatever best suits your needs in new media.