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07 Feb

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Cognitive Cities Conference: An Update

February 7, 2011 | By |

Cognitive Cities Conference LogoWith Cognitive Cities Conference (#CoCities) being less than three weeks out (yikes!) it’s a good moment to take a step back and see where we stand now.

And let me start with a bit of a spoiler: I’m very, very happy how all the pieces have been falling into place.

We love our speakers. At the core of any good conference are, of course, the speakers. And boy, have we been blessed with great speakers who kindly agreed to join us at CoCities despite our obviously limited resources. (CoCities is organized on a non-profit basis.) With Adam Greenfield, Dannie Jost, Georgina Voss, Juha Van’t Zelfde, Matt Biddulph, Sami Niemalä, Ton Zijlstra and Warren Ellis, plus our moderator for the day Ben Hammersley, it’s a dream line-up as far as I’m concerned.

For the second day, which is open for free to the public, we’ve also been getting a plethora of great talks, workshop ideas and some exhibitions – give us some more days to sort it all out, we’ll announce details soon.

This week, we’ll also announce a sponsor, which is a big relief as it gives us a bit of wriggle room that allows us to treat our speakers and participants with the respect they deserve.

Media: It’s all about social. What I find remarkable is the role that media outreach has played for us: virtually none. Almost all of our outreach, publicity, ticket sales, even speaker recruitment has been done via our blogs, on Twitter and Facebook, or by good old email. The other day I considered putting together a press kit in the last minute, but the response was unambiguous: “Never mind the press kit, it’s all about the schwag bags!” So, no press kits. (Alas, also no schwag bags.) We have some banners (like the one in this post), but that’s about it. I’m not sure if the lack of importance of traditional media coverage is just an aspect of the topics we touch on at CoCities, or the core audience there, or simply our personal networks, but it seems to be working. (See what Twitter has to say about Cognitive Cities Conference.)

CoCities is international. Another aspect that makes me very happy is that – according to our ticketing service Amiando – less than 60% of participants are from Germany. This means that we’ve certainly succeeded in bringing the discussion about the future of cities to Berlin, on a global level. (Last time I checked tickets had been bought from 15 or 16 countries.)

Now all we have to do (ahem!) is to keep polishing until the event weekend.

If you haven’t yet, register now for Cognitive Cities Conference.

I’m looking forward to seeing you in Berlin!

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