(Sean Murphy, Liz Massingill and I finish up our discussion about DAC¹09 acknowledging that the role of social media in EDA, not technology, was the story this year. All of us see DAC needing to change. First of three parts.)
Ed: So let me throw this question on the table, since we all seem to be saying that DAC has to change with the times, as heralded by this year¹s social media debut: What has to change?
Sean: I think it’s a question of adapting changing circumstances and returning to some of the practices that allowed the industry to negotiate earlier transitions.
Liz: And I think that DAC’s press room has to change with the times.
Ed: Sean, you have the broadest perspective, being able to speak from the customer, attendee AND marketing perspectives. Liz, you go next since
you¹re not burdened with a long DAC history.
Sean: As I said previously, I think the show needs to abandon a number of things that have made them historically successful but are no longer appropriate.
Liz: Like what?
Sean: People want history and context. Lots of content has been lost
over the years. At DAAC¹09, Doug Fairbairn’s historic talk has been lost. A ton of content from the pavilion panels that¹s been lost.
Liz: So you¹re saying that there should be archival recordings at DAC?
Sean: yes, and not only recordings, but accessible archives. After all, what good are these recordings if no one or only a select few people can get to them? DAC papers were captured, in the form of the proceedings. But most of actual conversation about the papers’ topics migrated out of the formal conference and into the hallways.
What we have right now with DAC feels more like EDA during 1988 through1994, when synthesis became established and new platforms were established and many new companies were formed.
Liz: But how do you capture that hallway discussion?
Sean: well, a lot of these technical papers might easily work as well as webinars. Then you can do get the premise of hallway conversations captured in the webinar discourse. In the end, DAC has to foster more small group conversation. There has to be a vibrant community of practice. An unconference model, if you will.
Liz: What¹s that?
Sean: Five minute lightning talks. Open space where people who are interested in a particular topic come to an open room. Many sessions running on parallel tracks. At the beginning of the day, people post topics. Then DAC posts a schedule, and people show up and talk about that topic.
I also worry that my recommendation is ultimately too grandiose.
Ed: Sean, grandiose is fine. Did you see Warren Savage¹s suggestions for DAC? It’s easy for all of us to suggest change. But it’s up to the DAC Committee and MP Associates to decide what to change and then how to implement. That’s their problem and their mandate! One way not to do it
is to hire that consultant who¹s pissed off everyone he’s talked to.
Liz: If we could capture the excitement of CC somehow. Location is key. CC was so, central. The press room was off by itself. I think scheduled activities/ discussions bring people in and then engage them.
And variety is good. CC went from an interactive class to lecture to discussion to free form.
Sean: In prior years the press room was excited and exciting, or at least buzzing with activity. I remember going in 1995 and doing a round of interviews.
Liz: Was it always off by itself? I think that’s a major problem for the press room.
Sean: It seems to me that CC and the press room serve different functions.
Liz: I think they might need to combine forces.
Ed: That’s a good point, Liz. The press room WAS isolated, as they wanted it to be. Historically, it was a sanctuary for press, to keep from getting hounded. Inadvertently, it walled them off from the action.
Sean: The press room preserved the press as a gatekeeper to the larger audience of conference non-attendees and assumed that communication would not unfold in real time (now events at DAC are twittered/blogged/ videoed, podcasted within minutes to hours.
Liz: I think they need to change the press room with the changing times, though.