Today I attended BookCamp Vancouver at SFU. It’s was a well-run, well-organized event that frequently featured an engaging exchange of ideas. It probably could have used a few more of the unconference features that make BarCamp so special. I expect some industries are more comfortable than others with this kind of open, egalitarian model, so better baby steps than none at all.
Throughout the day, I recommended a number of articles to various writers, editors and publishers. I figured I might as well gather them here in case they’re of interest. Long time readers have probably seen me recommend one or more of these articles before:
- The Economy of Ideas by John Perry Barlow – From 1994, but still pretty relevant today. Extremely prescient for the time. “Even the physical/digital bottles to which we’ve become accustomed – floppy disks, CD-ROMs, and other discrete, shrink-wrappable bit-packages – will disappear as all computers jack-in to the global Net. While the Internet may never include every CPU on the planet, it is more than doubling every year and can be expected to become the principal medium of information conveyance, and perhaps eventually, the only one. “
- The Next Economy of Ideas by John Perry Barlow – Six years later, and even more insightful. I’ve been saying this next sentence ever since I read this piece: “Art is a service, not a product. Created beauty is a relationship, and a relationship with the Holy at that. Reducing such work to “content” is like praying in swear words.”
- 1000 True Fans by Kevin Kelly – I recommend this to every artist I meet, regardless of medium. It’s an extremely elegant way of thinking about fostering community and building an audience. For some reason it reminds me of the central metaphor in Anne Lamott’s “Bird by Bird”. “A creator, such as an artist, musician, photographer, craftsperson, performer, animator, designer, videomaker, or author – in other words, anyone producing works of art – needs to acquire only 1,000 True Fans to make a living.”
I wanted to offset those first three from the next two because the former are truly remarkable, visionary pieces. The next two are smart thinking and worth reading, but might pale a bit by comparison.
- Spammers, Evildoers, and Opportunists by Derek Powazek – A great essay debunking the search engine optimization industry. The best advice comes at the end: “Make something great. Tell people about it. Do it again.”
- The 10 Principles of Lean Publishing by Peter Armstrong – Some very useful thinking about what publishing can learn from software development. Includes concepts like “fail fast” and “a book is a lean startup”. Now, Peter, go write a great, simple manifesto, instead of a waffly top-ten list.