Yesterday I moderated the Hubbub ’07 conference in Stockholm, a very energizing experience. The organizers, young college students from Singapore, studying in Sweden in the Nustart programme, impressed me much with their talent and energy. They managed to gather a very interesting mix of speakers, ranging from young startup entrepreneurs with interesting internet services to experienced high-profile serial entrepreneurs like Hjalmar Winblad.
Hjalmar gave a very interesting view of how the telcos worldwide are milking us all for 700 Billion USD for simple stuff like voice and SMS services, and encouraged us to use our consumer power to break their strong-hold by using IP-telephony such as his own Rebtel etc.
We used a very effient communication system during Hubbub that I think should be used at more conferences: on the Hubbub Live site there were backchannels for everybody in the audience and around the world to use during the conference. Jaiku for commenting and asking questions, Flickr group for posting pics etc.
The backstage group of students edited the video feeds and fed me the most interesting qustions coming in via Jaiku to my laptop (through Skype). So I got great questions and feedback up on the stage and did not have to read through the whole Jaiku channel, very efficient!
I found that the questions posted to Jaiku (from both the audience in the room and elsewhere) where often better than the verbal question from the audience. When you have to stand up in front of a crowd and ask a question into a microphone it is not easy to formulate a clear, short question. So this system is smart for both the audience and me as a moderator.