First Mac, then #cloudcomputing so perhaps #opensource #abatechshow

OK. So I’ve been on a bit of a post-#abatechshow high. Small Firm Innovation launched, softly, to a warm reception. And I apologize to those of you who stopped by the Clio booth last Monday only to find me huddled on the floor, “wired in,” as they say. I’m known to acquire “tunnel vision” from time to time, and that was one of those times. Needless to say, I’m rather pleased with the initial result.

And then there was the #opensource session with Dennis Kennedy and Rodney Dowell. Outstanding.

Truth be told, despite my incessant tweets (ask Ben Schorr) and blogging, I thought it’d be surprising if five, maybe seven, people attended. I mean, really. It was slotted at the same time as 60 iPhone/iPad Apps in 60 minutes. Did you see all the iPads and iPhones at #abatechshow?! How can you compete with that? Not to mention the rumors of the BlackBerry tablet, the PlayBook. The session was already at a disadvantage, and despite the fact that people seem to think my Twitter feed moves mountains, I wasn’t convinced more than seven people would show up. And that was OK. That’s seven more people who might not have known about open source applications in a law office setting. After all, how can one resist the allure, if not the cosmic pull, of iPads and iPhones?

So imagine my shear delight when more than seven people showed up to the open source session! There more like 12-15 people, I think. Maybe a few more. A good mix of IT folks and solo/small firm lawyers. And Dennis and Rodney did not disappoint. They made a point of covering some basics, like what “open source” means in a literal, and figurative sense, before delving into actual law office uses. I especially liked the example of recycling an old computer or laptop by setting it up as an Internet station in a waiting room or lobby. They made good use of the 10 tips framework, starting small and gave some actionable tips to the attendees.

As if the presentation wasn’t enough, there were audience questions! How to find answers (search forums), stay informed on updates, security issues, etc (email list signup). The audience was not only paying attention, but actively engaged! They really wanted to know what to look for so they could start. It was fantastic.

It got me thinking: there was a Mac session or two, then a whole track and then a Taste of TechShow dinner. There was a cloud computing session or two, then a track and then a Taste of TechShow dinner. Now there’s been an open source session. Perhaps a track, and a Taste of TechShow dinner are soon to follow.

A big thanks to Paul Unger, TechShow 2011 chair, Ben Schorr and the whole planning board and everyone who had a hand in making the 25th Anniversary so awesome. Without their help, and that of Dennis Kennedy and Rodney Dowell, open source would remain off the law firm radar.

2 Responses to First Mac, then #cloudcomputing so perhaps #opensource #abatechshow

  1. Gwynne,

    Thanks for the kind words. When Rodney’s computer started showing your live tweets during the session, it ramped the pressure up a bit. 😉

    As I mentioned in the session, Bob Young of Red Hat gave a keynote talk at TECHSHOW 2000 that got me interested in Open Source and inspired my first article on the Open Source licenses. I believe it really was 11 years before the next Open Source session.

    As you mentioned, there was a lot of competition at the timeslot and we were pleasantly surprised by the turnout (my count was roughly 25) and the audience interest you described.

    I enjoyed getting the chance to do the presentation and Rodney is such a pro and so easy to work with as a speaker, with lots of great comments and insights. As we mentioned in the presentation, we wanted to start a conversation and community about Open Source in law offices and have launched a LinkedIn group (Open Source Tools For Law Practice) to help with that.

    Also, we appreciated your help in answering an audience question.

    Thanks for the great feedback – we’ll see if this session carries forward for next year.


  2. Gwynne Monahan says:

    Hey Dennis,

    Thanks for the comment. And you’re welcome! You handled the increased pressure just fine. 😉

    25 attendees?! Excellent.

    You and Rodney make an excellent presentation team. And I’m always happy to help out any way I can.

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