Pre-Thinking Digital 2011

The Thinking Digital Conference 2011 is just about to get underway and there’s magic in the air!

People from all over the UK, Europe and indeed the rest of the world are either on their way or have already arrived in Newcastle/Gateshead for this major ‘Event’ on the tech world calendar, of which the local hotels, bars & restaurants, taxi, train and airline companies should be eternally grateful for.

Being a native Geordie, born and bred in the West of Gateshead, I’m proud to have such a prestigious event in my home town which serves to bring some of the world’s most original and creative thinkers together in a single location and I can’t wait to see what the next few days will bring.

What Happened Last Year (25-27 May 2010)

Last year (2010) was my very first Thinking Digital Conference, and although I didn’t really know what to expect the lineup of speakers looked impressive and I’d heard plenty of good things from previous years.

Right from the outset it was clear that TDC was no ordinary conference and that the organisers had really pulled out all the stops to deliver something that far surpassed my (already high) expectations. Not only is the Sage Gateshead a wonderful venue, but the quality and range of speakers was truly breathtaking with many of the world’s leading experts from the world of tech & creative thinking all coming together as one.

Unlike other conferences I’ve been to (and I’ve been to a lot), I can honestly say that each and every speaker at 2010 was first-rate, but some of the most memorable/impressive for me were;

  • Brian Solis (Author of Engage! and Principal at Altimeter Group) - changed the way I think about social media (again) and made me go and buy his book the very next day!
  • Tom Wujec (Autodesk) - one of the most impressive presenters / public speakers out there. You think you’re good at presentations? You’ll want to burn your slides after seeing this guy speak. Seriously slick!
  • Mary Ann de Lares Norris (Oblong) - one of the most breathtaking videos demonstrations I’ve ever seen! The future is already here!
  • Rory Sutherland (Ogilvy Group Ltd) - seriously intelligent and extremely funny. Book him as a speaker NOW!
  • Louis von Ahn (Inventor of CAPTCHA & / Carnegie Mellon University) - after hearing Louis speak I added to the Shell LiveWIRE registration form which resulted in a huge reduction in spam on our site. ;o)
  • Christian Payne (Our Man Inside@Documentally) - demonstrated that with a little bit of technology and a lot of creativity you can do some truly amazing things whilst having plenty of fun at the same time
  • Jer Thorp (blprnt) - the beauty and art of ‘data visualisation’
  • Ken Banks (Kiwanja / FrontlineSMS) - how mobile phones are truly changing lives (for the better) in the developing world
  • Joi Ito (Chairman, Creative Commons) - imprssive and articulate speaker. Made me want to publish all my work under CC license

Major props go to Herb Kim (Founder of Thinking Digital & CEO of Codeworks) for his vision and ambition to ‘gift’ the region with such a wonderful event, plus of course his fantastic team for their hard work, dedication and organisation in bringing all the plans to fruition!

The Next Few Days (24-26 May 2011)

I wonder what the next few days will bring? To be honest, although I’ve read through the list of speakers I’ve deliberately not paid too close attention to the who, what, where and when. I’m just going along with an open mind and willingness to learn, be inspired and make new connections with my fellow delegates who are going for the very same reasons.

Thinking Digital is a very special event, where thoughts and ideas come together, germinate and spread back out into the wider world. Who knows what fantastic new things will result from this meeting of minds and what impact they will have on the rest of the world? All I can say is that for the next few days something magical will happen on the shores of the Tyne and I feel very lucky to be there in the thick of it!

If you’d like to contact me during or after the Thinking Digital Conference, please feel free to contact me on 07734 722 716 or [email protected]. You can also Follow me on Twitter @lordlancaster and @plandigitaluk or via LinkedIn at:

Paul Lancaster (Plan Digital) Interviews Herb Kim (Thinking Digital), Feb 2011

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