1) Build it and they will come. It’s not only true of baseball grounds, it’s also true of homespun conferences built on nothing more than interesting things. (I think it all started here for Russell, this post got something like 5 times the hits of his usual stuff.)This is also a principal demonstrated by many people who write for wikipedia, blogs and set up organisations like We are what we do, one of the first speakers. They went on to sell tons of their books 'Change the world' and we all know the story about 'I'm not a plastic bag.' They made a difference because they had a go, they built it.
2) Real things count more in the digital age. According to Tim at Artomatic, just as painting stopped being a record with the arrival of photography, so print and film should become liberated with the arrival of digital. I think you can already see this with the films of Michel Gondry and commercials like Sony Bravia and Skoda Cake where doing it for real takes the place of CGI. This gives the brands an emotional resonance that only the best digital work can achieve and an authenticity that people crave. Very much like the Interesting conference itself.
3) TV is like advertising, but harder. Richard Wilson, producer of ‘Have I got news for you’ and ‘Room 101’ describes commissioning editors as people who are paid to say no. This may sound like advertising, but remember that at some point the client will need a campaign, so they can’t say no for ever. Whereas TV is awash with hackneyed formulas, repeats and people peddling the next ‘Wife Swap’ so they’re never going to be short of content. (Apparently you can only make the next ‘Wife Swap’ if you make Wife Swap type programs already. There’s a lot of pigeon holing in TV.) And what was also interesting is that whereas digital and advertising is full of bloggers and people who want to share their ideas and opinions, TV is full of people who are extremely protective of their ideas. I guess you’re only going to come up with one ‘Who wants to be a millionaire’ every ten years. By the same token, if everyone shared their ideas, maybe TV would end up much more diverse and risky and not full of the formulaic nonsense that fills our screens (although not Richard Wilson’s stuff of course even if his ‘sitcom about a reality tv star trying to make a sitcom about his reality’ starring Paul Torrisi from the Apprentice, will never see the light of day.)
4) Opinion always wins over reportage but not always over anecdote. The speakers who stuck their necks out and tried to make a new connection like Beeker did with the Muppets and Ibsen were the most interesting. However, you can never beat a good story and Grant McCraken told a whopping tale about going on Oprah.
5) People love to share. There was a particular loveliness to the sharing that went on at Interesting 2007. It was a very open, smugness free, soul bearing sort of stuff. The amount of ideas pinging around the room by the end of the day was testament to the have a go attitude of so many of the crowd (including Mathew Ancona’s Al Pacino impression, not the kind of thing you expect from the editor of the Spectator.)
6) Richard Dawkins is one of the most referenced men in marketing, and for good reason. Matt Black Belt Jones referenced his Ted Talks talk on ‘the middle world’ and how our view of the universe is ultimately confined to what we are evolutionally designed to understand – i.e. our middle view of the world rather than the very small quantum level and the macro big bang level. He applied this to marketing and how we should try and look beyond the immediate problem at much bigger or smaller concerns. I’m inclined to agree.
7) Don’t bootstrap products. Another one from Matt who I think may have borrowed from Ray Kurzweil. His example of Nike+ was a good one. Yes, it’s a great product but it doesn’t let you ‘play’ with it beyond its intended use. For example, you can’t walk with it or it stops working. Look at Google maps, it’s not just a boxed product, it’s a shared resource that people have already thought up thousands of previously unimagined uses.
8) If you do something well, do it more. A perfect 5 minutes from a lovely guy who described himself as Cluso on land and Fred Astaire in the water. He’s since worked out why he’s so good at swimming and it’s due to anatomy. His point was that everyone has at least one thing they can do well. So do it.
9) Om is the sound of the Universe. Red is the colour of his pants.
10) You can get a great tune out of a household saw. If you don’t believe, watch this fantastic performance from Rhodri Marsden.
11) Lists are good. Ann at I like