Kaizendo at FSCONS 2010

Free Society Conference and Nordic Summit. Quite the ambitious name for a conference - And for me, nothing illustrates the crowd and the ambitions of FSCONS like the this slide from Smári mcCarthy's talk The End of the World as we Know it: How do you feel?

(CC-BY-NC, photo by Wrote: http://flickr.com/photos/wrote/5157605662/)

I attended the 2009 conference, and there, I left with an impression that FSCONS definitely was a conference for people with the attitude dr. Fuller described. High-energy, interested and attentive people who genuinely want to make a positive impact on the world around them; All having the tiny amount of self-confidence (or madness) that is necessary to think it's possible. And this is where I got to give a presentation about Kaizendo, on the start of the first day.

I had a couple goals with my presentation:

  1. Give a good one, that excited anyone that chose to come
  2. Try to reduce the complexity of my presentation
  3. Create some visibility and perhaps find new volunteers for the project

My goals for the conference was to look for people who might be interested in the concept, and perhaps get in touch with some of the participants that I've talked with on earlier occasions. I wish it went better. I managed to catch a rather uncomfortable cold, and some time trying to manage it. I still got a few very positive experiences there.

The presentation

I asked Jonas Öberg (the main organizer) if I could have an early presentation, and this had a couple important consequences.

  1. 10:00 in the morning is early for a lot of the attendees. I gave a presentation to a room less than half full. I counted about 35-40 people.
  2. I hoped to spend my time at the conference talking with people about textbooks, publishing and free software, and that having an early talk would give me more time to do this. In retrospect, I think it might have been easier to just to chat without the "plan" :)
  3. Giving a talk "early" in the morning while being sick isn't as easy as it sounds. :-P

There were a couple people there who were interested though, and I managed to have a good talk with some of them later that weekend. The presentation was recorded (no video published yet), and the slides are available on slideshare.

Other highlights

http://www.flickr.com/photos/wrote/5151645640/ (CC-BY-NC by Wrote)

  1. The Inanna Project: Arduino + Processing. Women's workshop in Syria, Damascus. Goal: create artwork with Arduino and the Processing programming language. Very interesting talk about using open hardware and simple programming in order to create artwork.
  2. We had a good discussion with Gisle Hannemyr about publishing books in Norway. Battle stories are wonderful, but he wasn’t able to paint a positive picture.
  3. A short but interesting exchange with Swedish textbook author's society representant Bo Olsson (picture). He seemed somewhat interested in our project.


  1. 3D printing was also demonstrated during the conference. Not necessarily related to our project, but still very, very cool.


  1. The conference party was arranged at Berg 211, a bunker that has been turned into a venue for parties and dinners and such.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/mfoetsch/5167057609/ (CC-BY-SA by Michael Fötsch)

  1. The post-conference party was at Gnutiken, where I had the opportunity to talk with Stian Rødven Eide about bylaws for cooperatives.

Final words

FSCONS was a good conference, but sadly made a lot less productive for me by the cold I had while attending it. I managed to stagger through my presentation and have some interesting discussions based on this, but I’m sure I would have had a better time reaching people if I hadn’t been so obviously sick.

On the presentation side, I found that I probably should simplify my message a lot. Talking about project history, motivations and goals is fine, but obviously not enough. A good message carries itself, and if you look at the recording of my presentation it’s pretty obvious that I still have some distance to go before I’m “there”.

But in sum, I have to say I had a good trip, and I would like to thank NUUG foundation for their support.

Salve J. Nilsen