Well, it turned out that my insecurities about being a fish out of water at the VON bloggers panel didn’t get a chance to act themselves out. I managed to get stuck in a horrendous traffic jam in Oakland on the way down Interstate 880 (the Nimitz, to locals) and got to the panel … five minutes late. So — no horrible gaffes or brilliant bon mots. I just sat in the audience and took it all in and saw a couple of old friends (including one from the 1980 Daily Cal staff).
I wrote all about the session, though, on the IP Inferno site: VON Panel, the Sequel.
I’ll be headed down to San Jose in a little while to attend VON, a big trade show on VoIP — Voice over Internet Protocol. For the last few months, I’ve been contributing to my friend Ted’s IP Inferno blog, which led to an invitation from a fellow named Andy Abramson to join a panel of VoIP bloggers today to discuss the industry and maybe to talk about the experience of blogging on it, too. I confess to some trepidation: I think I’m a little bit of a fish out of water on this panel. Andy himself does a blog called VoIP Watch that’s a pretty good (and widely read) daily journal of significant happenings in the industry, and the other five or six people in the group are likewise what I’d call experts (for instance, Jeff Pulver, who probably deserves the title “father of VoIP” here in the States). In contrast, I’m someone who 1) doesn’t have much experience in this field (I’ve done some reporting on it, but that’s it) and 2) differs from the rest of the group in that I don’t start from a position that the telecom industry or VoIP startups are, in themselves, wonderful things that ought to be celebrated for all they’re doing for humanity. In fact, I’ve come to feel that the goal of the telecommunications companies is to serve investors first and give the consumers, the source of all the revenue, the crumbs (while telling them they’re enjoying a seven-course meal). That’s partly just my cynicism after watching the way so many of the people behind big capital behave; but I think it’s also reflected in the widespread decline of customer service, on one hand, and the treatment of workers, on the other.
I’ll write about the session later.