Personal Democracy Forum - Sponsored by Google Reviews

Overall Ratings
The Conference Overall: 4.0 stars after 12 ratings
The Sessions: 4.0 stars after 37 ratings
The Content 4.0 stars after 13 ratings
The Networking 4.0 stars after 13 ratings
The Venue 4.0 stars after 13 ratings
The Schwag 2.5 stars after 13 ratings
The Wifi 3.0 stars after 1 rating

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The Reviews

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By: Steve Perez
on Jul 13 2007
at 01:17 PM EDT
5
Still the best conference of the year
A review of the conference overall

The PDF brings together an amazing collection of people. You can stand in the hallway all day, meet and talk to an everchanging cast of practioners, and learn an amazing amount. It really is the best conference of the year.
By: Jeffrey Keefer
on May 31 2007
at 09:48 PM EDT
5
PDF2007 - Great first step
A review of the conference overall

This was my first PDF conference, and I know it opened my eyes to a lot of issues and people in this genre. I enjoyed hearing and meeting some of the guest speakers and panelists, and think the energy they brought helped make this event such a success. There were lot of information and interesting speakers compressed into a short time, and I think this provides more of a value rather than having only a few interesting folks over a longer period. I learned that I need to learn a lot more.
By: Tara Hunt
on May 22 2007
at 08:41 PM EDT
4
Great Content and People, could use more...
A review of the conference overall

Although we didn't take advantage of some of the events (like the networking), I would have liked to enjoy more of what we did see.

More discussion of diversity. More discussion of the fringe subjects like: healthcare, education and community. How do we gather offline? Less about the technology, I guess and more about the people using the technology...

Overall, it was great, though. Awesome speakers. I still don't know what Seth Godin has to do with anything and I saw him give 85% of the same talk 4 years ago. I would have loved less 'big names' headline and more of people actually doing stuff - like Farouk Olu Aregbe's talk and danah boyd's talk.

But I would suppose that Seth is charming enough to entertain people, so bums in seats, right?

Personally, I loved the part of the unconference we were there for and wished it would have started later and went later. ;)
By: Mr. Brett Smiley
on May 22 2007
at 06:23 PM EDT
3
Great lineup but
A review of the conference overall

Unfortunately I found most of the breakouts short on details. The speaker's credentials were impressive, but the content was a little light. The networking was good and the venue was fine.
By: Matthew Briney
on May 22 2007
at 05:00 PM EDT
4
Great event
A review of the conference overall

Overall another great event. The space was a more spread out than last year which made it more difficult to network with everyone. Great speakers, lots of great concepts. Would be nice to offer more case studies and product demonstrations in addition to the conference line-up. Probably could also extend the conference to two days (of regular activities, not the unConference).

Overall great experience, great speakers, excellent information. Looking forward to next year.
By: joe golden
on May 22 2007
at 04:53 PM EDT
4
Joze Review
A review of the conference overall

Good shmoozing and boozing. Food could have been better.

More techies and less guarded politicians (final panel) would have improved things, but I'm technominded ;-)

Great overall. Met lots of interesting folks. Good to check in on the pulse of the technopolitic.

The unConference was great too: more interactive, less talking heads.
By: Michael Woolf
on May 22 2007
at 04:47 PM EDT
3
slow it down
A review of the conference overall

If the first day had been spread out between two days, it would've been a more valuable experience, IMHO. The panels were rushed, and there was little time to engage the speakers. Additionally, a greater breadth of topics should have been incorporated - once again - IMHO.

Lastly, what schwag? Did I miss something? One would think that Mac's laptop division would be interested in getting its products out to techies and decision makers. Ne c'est pas?
By: Tara Hunt
on May 22 2007
at 01:50 PM EDT
2
Seen it B4
A review of the session "Is it Time to Flip the Funnel?"

85% of the content was a repeat and the new stuff wasn't super impactful. Yes, he's brilliant, but there was a presentation the next day at the unconference that gave more 'secrets' to creating really catchy YouTube videos that I found more applicable and new.
By: Rick Bielke
on May 22 2007
at 12:44 PM EDT
4
Great Conferene!
A review of the conference overall

Great conference but the last panel was kind of boring and irrelevant. Probably because presidential campaigns are in full swing and they didn't want to say anything to revealing or too dumb. Oh well.

The rest of the panelists and work shops that I attended were awesome.
By: Arjun Singh
on May 22 2007
at 03:17 AM EDT
5
Very useful in thinking about getting away broadcasting to likely voters...
I think Danah had some very useful insight into how to use internet technology to actually improve the state of our democracy - how to better engage people, how to reach younger people. Simply great.
By: Ruby Sinreich
on May 21 2007
at 02:15 PM EDT
4
Awesome! Next: Conference 2.0
A review of the conference overall

It was an intense, wonderful, and essential two days. The dynamism and interaction of the unConference seemed like a necessary antidote to the first day of sitting still and listening to smart people.

I feel fortunate to have had the opportunity to attend this event with so many great minds in the field of modern online advocacy and campaigning. I got a lot out of the conference, and it seems PDF gets better every year. I hope that in 2008 we can do more to help participants experience the "personal" part of how technology is changing politics.

(BTW, I don't think shwag should be rated along with other important aspects of the conference. It matters less than anything.)
By: Pascal-Emmanuel Gobry
on May 20 2007
at 06:06 AM EDT
5
Fantastic!
A review of the session "DEMO: Meetup in 2008"

That was an incredible session!

Seriously, it began all normal, and then Scott became really animated, and it was brilliant.

You could tell that he was just really REALLY excited about his product and his company, he began walking away from the pulpit, and he just sort of lost it -- but in a good way.

Best line ever: referring to the TXU takeover by KKR, to which Tom Friedman had refferred earlier that day: "It's like the thing with that merger that got shitcanned! I didn't really understand what that was about, but-"

Really brilliant stuff, I was awestruck. If someone caught it, they should put it up on YouTube, it was a great moment.

And re: the idea that Meetup is the Next Big Thing, no, probably not, but I still love the idea that the internet is not just for doing online stuff online (like YouTube, where you watch videos online, upload them online, link to them online...), but it's also a device for making the offline world better, and THAT's when it becomes this really incredible thing.

Meetup is a part of that, it's a cool company with a cool idea and a cool CEO.
By: Pascal-Emmanuel Gobry
on May 20 2007
at 05:53 AM EDT
2
lacklustre
Apparently I was the only person at PDF who had not heard of Danah Boyd (actually upon seeing her profile I remembered I've read her blog once).

The idea of her presentation was that candidates should post on people's myspaces and facebook walls and whatnot. Great. But outside of the obvious credibility question (is it the candidate himself or staff?), is the bogus argument that, hey, candidates spend tons of time shaking hands and kissing babies, why not spend hours posting comments online?

The simple answer is that those two things are not comparable. Countless studies have shown that people who meet a candidate face to face are MUCH more likely to vote for him after than before. So the question is not about spending time, it's about maximizing time PER VOTE GAINED.

And in that regard, shaking hands and facebooking are just not comparable.
By: Matthew Burton
on May 19 2007
at 06:43 PM EDT
4
Not bad
A review of the session "DEMO: Meetup in 2008"

Scott was a great presenter. Very dynamic speaker, funny, off-the-cuff. I didn't come away convinced that he was right (his argument was that self-formed groups--namely, those formed on MeetUp--are the Next Big Thing), but I did come away enthused and entertained.
By: Matthew Burton
on May 19 2007
at 06:34 PM EDT
2
Jill's right
A review of the session "DEMO: Workers Online Unite!"

This presentation had little substance. I'm still not sure what this is. Is it a Web site? The word "tools" was used a lot. I'm stumped.
By: Matthew Burton
on May 19 2007
at 06:30 PM EDT
3
Yikes
A review of the session "Web 2.0: Cult of the Amateur? A Debate"

Four big personalities on stage. One dominated all the rest.

This session devolved into Scoble making snarky comments about Keen's book, Keen not really defending himself, Shirky trying to douse the flames with some comedy, and Newmark occasionally adding something.

Uncomfortable at times.
By: Matthew Burton
on May 19 2007
at 06:19 PM EDT
2
Disappointing
You seldom get to see two people like this on stage together. That's why it was a letdown.

I thought Friedman obliged Schmidt and avoided the hard questions, and each time they veered close to something controversial, Schmidt dismissed it with the smoothness of a politician. Friedman didn't press.

I thought all this tact and deference to authority was contrary to the theme of the conference.
By: Matthew Burton
on May 19 2007
at 06:13 PM EDT
5
lived up to expectations
A review of the session "Free Culture, Free Politics"

I've always read about Lessig's presentation style and have watched his Free Culture pres a few times, but have never seen him live. He's as good as they say.

Perfect for the first session. Not too dense or analytical. Filled with passion. He knew how to stir every member of the audience, which is hard--I'm a geek, and I was sitting next to a broker. We were equally impressed.
By: Jill Walker
on May 19 2007
at 11:35 AM EDT
2
not really a demo, was it?
A review of the session "DEMO: Workers Online Unite!"

Huh? This was just a video showing people upset at their credit card debts and their lack of health insurance and saying they'd like a website that would help them fix these things. Not a word about HOW the website would do it. This wasn't a demo, it was a vague idea with a video to prove a need.
By: Jill Walker
on May 19 2007
at 11:32 AM EDT
3
Not new, but amusing I guess
The book reading was amusing, but I can't imagine anything he said was new to this audience - it didn't really seem quite worth coming this far for. Dave Winer's points (in his blog) were interesting: http://www.scripting.com/stories/2007/05/18/stiflingWhileListeningToFr.html
By: Pascal-Emmanuel Gobry
on May 19 2007
at 11:27 AM EDT
5
Brilliant, as always
A review of the session "Is it Time to Flip the Funnel?"

Yeah yeah yeah, Seth Godin is awesome, we all love him. He was hilarious, insightful, what have you. I'd seen one of his appearances elsewhere on YouTube so I already knew some of the material, but it was still a heckuva show.
By: Pascal-Emmanuel Gobry
on May 19 2007
at 11:25 AM EDT
3
It was good!
I thought it was good. Yes, it was a book reading, but it was reading from a GOOD book, with very interesting points.

I enjoyed it and learned from it, that's what matters to me.
By: Pascal-Emmanuel Gobry
on May 19 2007
at 04:30 AM EDT
5
Vote
Great session, full of interesting and insightful tidbits on overseas lessons, especially the areas in which overseas LEADS the US and not the other way around.

My only complaint was that it was too short.

Oh, and sitting in the front row, I had read the magic word, so I could've won the 2 yr TypePad subscription, but that would've been cheating, wouldn't it?
By: Pascal-Emmanuel Gobry
on May 19 2007
at 02:01 AM EDT
4
Brilliant
A review of the session "Free Culture, Free Politics"

Larry Lessing is very smart and very articulate, it was definitely a pleasure to hear him speak. He made his point (casting both anti-copyright people and major corporations as extremists and casting himself in the middle ground) very well, and his answers to the question were excellent.

Two very slight complaints:
1. I didn't feel his powerpoint added to what he was saying, in fact it was distracting at times. He could've done without it.

2. As a law student and law nerd, I would've loved if he'd gone down and dirty in describing copyright law, what it is, what should be done about it. I understand he wasn't talking to a lawyer-friendly crowd, but it still would've been great to hear about the actual details of what the situation is.
By: Ruby Sinreich
on May 18 2007
at 10:10 PM EDT
3
Good info, poor presentation
I couldn't follow the speaker or read the screen, but I think the information would have been interesting. Thanks for posting a link to the PDF file!
By: Ruby Sinreich
on May 18 2007
at 10:08 PM EDT
5
Brilliant
A review of the session "Free Culture, Free Politics"

Insightful, entertaining, and concise!
By: Ruby Sinreich
on May 18 2007
at 10:05 PM EDT
3
Technology sucks
Ben should have gotten some more time to actually show his site. I hope people will visit http://change.org and check it out.
By: Ruby Sinreich
on May 18 2007
at 09:58 PM EDT
5
Space!
It shouldn't have been hard to predict that this would be a popular panel, it should have been in a bigger room. It will take weeks for my back to recover from this panel.

It would have been nice to have more practical examples, demos, or how-to's to complement the intellectual, big picture stuff.
By: Ruby Sinreich
on May 18 2007
at 09:56 PM EDT
4
Very good
I really enjoyed this session, especially Dr. Bogost's talk about games for social change (which went by too fast!).
By: Ruby Sinreich
on May 18 2007
at 09:55 PM EDT
3
Unoriginal
PDF merits a unique presentation, not a book reading.
By: Mike Slattery
on May 18 2007
at 08:17 PM EDT
5
forceful
Connecting the loss of mallspace to big box stores to the higher priority of online space rings true for me.
By: Peter Feddo
on May 18 2007
at 07:36 PM EDT
5
Super!
Very insightful session!
By: Jill Walker
on May 18 2007
at 06:07 PM EDT
3
stuffed
OK, so I just left this one halfway through - the room was packed, about thirty people were standing. The speakers were all seated but the room wasn't sloped so it was impossible for people seated towards at the back to see the speakers, and it was kind of hard to breathe. A relief to get out into the cool, oxygen-filled lunch room.

Sorry the review's not really about the speakers' abilities...
By: Chris Tuttle
on May 18 2007
at 05:55 PM EDT
5
Awesome presentation!
A review of the session "Is it Time to Flip the Funnel?"

great presentation, speaker and messages. very informative.
By: Tom Russomano
on May 18 2007
at 05:37 PM EDT
5
Good one...
A review of the session "Is it Time to Flip the Funnel?"

Asking myself why I haven't read any of Seth's books.
By: Jill Walker
on May 18 2007
at 04:03 PM EDT
5
Excellent
Yes, danah was good as always. The perfect ten minute speech, really: no slides but with such a clear focus.
By: Chris Tuttle
on May 18 2007
at 03:56 PM EDT
4
Terrific speaker!
Would love to hear more from Danah!
By: Jill Walker
on May 18 2007
at 01:11 PM EDT
5
Very engaging, great points
A review of the session "Free Culture, Free Politics"

I really enjoyed this - live blogged it at http://jilltxt.net/?p=1999
By: Chris Tuttle
on May 18 2007
at 12:59 PM EDT
4
Great
A review of the session "Free Culture, Free Politics"

great presentation & speaker
By: Brian Keeler aka. NYBri
on May 18 2007
at 12:44 PM EDT
3
Perfect Opening
A review of the session "Free Culture, Free Politics"

Larry frames the debate...
By: Jill Walker
on May 18 2007
at 09:04 AM EDT
4
Very useful overview of demographics, engaging speaker
.
By: Chris Tuttle
on May 18 2007
at 07:25 AM EDT
3
Good
Not bad. Great questions, good and sometimes great answers. A little difficult to hear Eric at times.

Audience questions the best.
By: Zachary Sims
on May 18 2007
at 06:53 AM EDT
5
Perfect Introduction
A review of the session "Free Culture, Free Politics"

Lessig, one of the foremost experts on copyrights, provided the perfect context for the remainder of the conference. A terrific way to begin.

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