I think ConvergeSouth has a future.
The strength of the conference lies in its founding motto: Creativity on the web for all people.
Creativity means the hands-on, how-to sessions that dominated Saturday afternoon -- people who know how to do stuff leading conversations in rooms where everyone from expert to complete noob has a say. More like these, please.
And creativity means the film festival curated by Andy Coon -- demonstrations of some end products of the things we talked about in the afternoon.
I'm less interested in the big-think panels, perhaps because I've seen and done so many of them over the last several years. There's a place for that stuff, but I don't think it's the heart of the matter for us.
"All people": the diversity of attendees is notable by any number of measures, including ethnicity, age, gender, experience, interests. CS brings in big-name talent and has established a strong regional following. I've been to a fair number of tech and media and web conferences across the country, but none that look and feel like this one.
After three years, ConvergeSouth is at an interesting point. We could quit now, satisfied that something real has been accomplished. Sue Polinsky and her merry band of volunteers can't do this thing forever.
But there is a lot of room for growth. In fact, we've barely scratched the surface. The conference needs to reach out, early and often, to its constituents around the region in search of ideas and talent and publicity and volunteers. We need to take this thing to the students and faculties of colleges from Asheville to Wilmington and Charleston and Richmond and get their buy-in. We need people like Sean Coon to keep pushing the downtown music scene.
I'd love to see members of the ConvergeSouth community step up to the challenge of moving it forward. It would be nice if the Greensboro establishment noticed that the conference exists, but I'm not sure that is going to happen.