As Iceland positions itself as a technological hub with cheap power and talented individuals, it need opportunities to show-off and bring influential movers-and-shakers from abroad. Over the last five years, Iceland has played host three times to the IceWeb conference, an international web technology conference. In good times and in bad, SVEF (The Icelandic Web Industry Association - www.svef.is) has been bringing high calibre speakers to come and talk on a wide range of web related topics, from marketing and branding to new technologies and exciting developments.
Einar Þór Gústafsson, current chairman of SVEF, planned the first IceWeb conference in 2006 as part of a school group project in a project management course at the continuing education program at the University of Iceland. Having some experience organising events while living in New York City, he wanted to bring in experts to an international conference focusing on web design and development.
Since Iceland sits nicely between North America and Europe, it’s easy to entice some of the world’s best technologists to visit. “Over the years, we have managed to invite speakers such as Kathy Sierra. The largest draw for her, and many of the other speakers, is the opportunity to visit an exotic place, see the nature, ride some Icelandic horses and enjoy the nightlife.” says Einar.
October is a busy time in Reykjavík as it shows itself off to the world. The IceWeb takes place the 7th-8th of October sandwiched between the “You are in Control” conference and Iceland Airwaves.
If Iceland wants to be part of the 21st Century technological revolution, then it needs to step-up and learn about new advances, then innovate. “Going overseas for a conference is very expensive and it’s difficult to convince your boss to spend a few hundred thousand krónur on tickets, flights, hotels, per diem etc.” Einar explains.
This year Julien Smith will grace us with his presence. He’s a dot com maven working hard to advance the community. His recent book, Trust Agents, was lucky #13 on the New York Times bestseller list. It focuses on how to use your social networks to build your brand's influence, reputation and profits.
After the collapse, Iceland needs to rebuild its social capital with the rest of the world. It burned more than a few bridges with both IceSave and then Eyjafjallajökull. Whether it’s in your home life or international relations, influence counts. Iceland needs to rebuild its trust and Julien is coming to help us learn more.
But there is much more to the Web than just LIKE buttons! As we troll Facebook for last weekend’s pictures, we forget about all the time and effort that has gone into all the tiny snippets of text. Do you get more clicks if you say “Click Here for More Info” or “To see more info, click here”? There are people who specialise in the tedious world of micro-copy. Really. Relly Annett-Baker is one such person. I have been assured that everything I think I know about smart, short, witty copy is wrong, but that’s OK, she’s come to set me straight. Now if we could only get her to sit down with some of Iceland’s politicians, then we might seem quite so confusing to the foreign press!
If there is anything that you know for certain, it’s that you never know enough. Having opportunities to educate, advance and innovate are paramount in this fast-paced changing world. Everyone should take advantage of these opportunities and learn what the next wave, trend and innovation will be and be sure to make Iceland its home.
The good people behind the IceWeb 2010 conference called us up the other day and asked us to write something about it in our paper so you, our readers, might take an interest in participating. While we really like the internet, we couldn’t seem to find time to make the article. So we invited one of IceWeb’s organisers, Brian Suda, to write us a short article explaining why he thinks everybody should go. This is what he came up with: