The third Webstock conference kicks off today in Wellington. Event director Natasha Hall says there was a two-year gap between the first two conferences, but Webstock is now an annual event.
“From here on we have got a yearly date locked in for February, but previously the timing of Webstock was driven mostly by our capacity to run the event.
“Up until a few months ago it was something we did on a voluntary basis, outside of our regular jobs,” says Hall.
She is expecting around 550 people to attend the event, which consists of three days of workshops, followed by the two-day conference on Thursday and Friday.
Some of the highlights with this year’s speakers are Tom Coates from Yahoo Brickhouse; online performance artist and composer Ze Frank; science fiction author, design essayist and internet critic Bruce Sterling and game designer Jane McGonigal, says Hall. Coates presented at the last conference as well.
“I’ve been a long-time fan of the ever forward thinking Tom Coates, so am thrilled he’s coming back. His talk last year — [on] the web of data — I’m still processing,” says Hall.
She also mentions journalist and programmer Adrian Holovaty, and David Recordon, open platforms tech lead for blogging company Six Apart, among the top speakers, adding that their approach to transparency and openness is something she is interested in.
The economic squeeze hasn’t affected Webstock in terms of attendee numbers, says Hall, but on the other hand, she says she knows of people and companies who aren’t able to attend this year due to finances.
Webstock is sponsored by Google, Clicksuite, Experience, GOVIS, DigitalNZ, Idealog, Mukuna and Intergen.