Today I'm on my way home from Banff. The conference goes until Saturday, but with IIW starting Monday of next week and Sunday being Mother's Day, I didn't feel like I could hold out until the end. My feelings on WWW2007 are mixed.
This is one of the few conferences I'm aware of in this space that mixes academic and commercial interest. I think that's a worthy goal. What's more, I attended many good presentations that led me to new lines of thought. That's the ultimate measure of a presentation or conference, I think.
And yet, I was also disappointed. Somehow the WWW conference series seems to be able to take something as exciting as the Web and wring all the life out of it. The conference, at least to me, has none of the excitement that you find in the best of other venues that bring practitioners together to show their latest innovations. The innovations are here as well, to be sure, but they're couched in clinical terms and shown in harsh light so as to make them seem more like dead specimens under a jar than the hopeful blood, sweat, and tears of real, passionate people.
Still, I'll continue to come to these, I think. On balance the experience is worthwhile. Besides, next year it will be in Beijing and I've been looking for an excuse to get to China for 20 years.