A conference review three months after the conference? What’s the point? Well, that’s not it exactly. Yes, the topic at hand is the re:publica. But I am not going to get into singing the praises of the speakers and sessions. Anyone interested in that can resort to Google. Whether it is a Google hoax or David Hasselhoff – the net is full of retrospectives and thematic reviews of the conference. And why now you might ask? That’s easy: because we just went online. And some things still need to be said, even if the actual occasion has long since passed.
I have to start with a confession: I hate workshops and sessions.
Speeches, presentations and all the rest. A speaker who has not blown me away in the first 2 minutes does not stand a chance. After 15 minutes at the latest I start squirming in my seat and can hardly keep still. It has to be a really exceptional presentation to keep me there to the bitter end. The re:publica had a lot of really good sessions, no doubt. But you won’t find what makes these three days in Berlin so special in any session. It is the opportunity to engage with so many exciting and interesting people. And that is much easier over a lovely grilled sausage from an outdoor vendor than trying to hold a whispered conversation with your neighbour during a session.
The Tea Team is a re:publica regular, including as a media partner for quite some time (formerly under a different format) and although the event is growing increasingly professionalised, happily one thing has never changed: the spirit of upheaval and a zest for action. We’ve been conference hoppers for years now – often as many as a dozen a year, all part of the job – but looking back the one that has always reliably brought results for lasting partnerships (and the many friendships that have developed out of these) has really only been the re:publica. The whole atmosphere makes it easier to start up a conversation than at other events. One of the best examples: Geraldine de Bastion, one of re:publica’s organisers who attendees will know as a moderator of the large sessions, and I met in the ladies’ loo. Where else would you just strike up a conversation with the person washing her hands at the next sink? And it didn’t end at conversation either. It was the start of our partnership.
Contact to a lot of our authors from this issue arose from re:publica connections too – from this and past years. The topics covered in the sessions have always been rather secondary for us. The speakers’ backstories are what attracted – and always have attracted – our interest. The stories of their lives and the things they have done not addressed in the sessions, but discussed over the first ice-cold glass of Fritz cola. These conversations and contacts have provided one very important thing: inspiration. In my opinion, this is greatest gift a conference can bestow.
Dear re:publica, please forgive me for not being much of a session fan. I simply adore the rest of your event concept! Keep doing what you’re doing; we are already looking forward to next year.
And if you’re curious about which authors have a re:publica background, have a look below.