Friday, June 26, 2009

Conference speakers over 55

I'm still digesting 15 fascinating talks I heard at a conference last week, The Future of the Book. Audience was a mix of book publishers, teachers and lecturers, with a smattering of authors and technical people. So, not an ultra-young audience; definitely older than audiences at the usual conferences I attend, which lean towards the internet. Perhaps not a cross-section of book people, because they all had an interest in electronic books (or the possibly terminal illness of P-books).

I asked a few speakers how old they were: 55, 57, 57, they said. I made my own deductions about the others and got this distribution, counting only those whose presentations I saw and heard:

Young speakers (40 or younger): 8
Medium age speakers (40s and 50s): 6
Over 50 speakers: 9

My point? Plenty of people who are pushing 60 are leaders in the everyday world.

This world of exploding ebooks is a lively one, with exciting new developments every week. You have to keep on your toes to dodge the shrapnel and find a good trail through the smoke. For me, that's a deeply attractive feature. Nothing beats learning new stuff when it comes to keeping a live brain. (Apart from the luck of the genes.)

Oh yes, and they gave us this dessert of mini-pavlovas and fruit. Very nice.

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