This has been an interesting day so far. There were a lot of interesting topics, and the speakers were very knowledgeable (and all have very cool jobs). Unfortunately, I have been spoiled by the Open Spaces conferences that I have attended. While many of the speakers provided ample time for questions, there’s still the sense that there is a speaker and an audience. There’s a stage, and powerpoint. There’s a presentation. This is NOT a conversation such as I am used to in Open Spaces. I’m not just picking nits here. I’ve been spoiled by the idea that it’s a democratic conversation where opinions are freely exchanged rather than topics are handed down. There’s clearly a leader directing questions. And I’m pretty sure that the speaker isn’t getting much out of the conversation either. If the goal here is to get opinions from the non-believers in the group (and I think that’s part of it), then this isn’t going to serve Microsoft as well as having an open conversation with the participants in discussions where the participants set the agenda and we all sit around in a circle and talk. I had many interesting conversations last night at the evening reception and some today at breakfast too. Looking forward to the breaks and lunch and while I’m actually learning things in the session, I’m not actively engaged. I’m sitting here, taking notes. And reading email.