« »
June 29, 2006 » 4:14 pm

BlogHer: Not Just a Conference

Elisa Camahort, Lisa Stone, and Jory Des Jardins, the founders of BlogHer, spoke at last Monday’s Collaboration SIG meeting, and they absolutely blew me away. I’ve got many great female colleagues, and I’d heard great things about BlogHer last year, so I figured it was a good thing. What I didn’t know was how thoughtful these three women were about collaboration and how active a role BlogHer was playing in facilitating this network of women bloggers.    (KRT)

They won me over right from the start when I approached them about format, and they said they preferred to do it Donahue-style. I asked them whether they needed a moderator, and they said the three of them would just play off of each other and go from there. I asked what they thought about shifting the room into a circle, and they said they preferred it.    (KRU)

http://static.flickr.com/70/176131867_6e142892ca_m.jpg    (KS2)

The talk was entitled, “From Hierarchy to Community,” and they spoke both about their relationship with the community-at-large (which they played a big role in bringing together) and with each other, as equal partners of an LLC. Much of what they said about collaboration resonated strongly with me, and I found myself nodding a lot. For example:    (KRV)

  • Lisa said, “Collaboration is not consensus.” Being collaborative does not mean getting everyone to agree on everything.    (KRW)
  • Elisa talked about the transition between conversation and action, and noted that setting boundaries played a big role in making sure that action happened.    (KRX)
  • Jory talked about the importance of attribution — Spotlight On Others. She also called collaboration “laborious” a number of times. There’s overhead when you collaborate, and it can be a frustrating process, but there’s a huge payoff as well. The big ones are Shared Language and trust. Charles Welsh, one of our co-chairs, noted afterwards that the three mentioned “trust” 14 times throughout the evening. (Thanks for counting, Charles!)    (KRY)

There are a lot of organizations right now who are trying to figure out how to facilitate networks sustainably. I think BlogHer is onto something good — their values are on-target, and they’ve got three very smart and competent leaders — although whether or not their model is sustainable is still an open question. I wouldn’t bet against them, though. They’re doing some interesting things with their advertising network, for example.    (KRZ)

There’s also a lot they can learn about even more powerful models of collaboration and transparency. For example, I liked their approach to the BlogHer conference, but I couldn’t help thinking about how they were going through the exact same process that Harrison Owen went through 20 years ago before he invented Open Space. It’s not an indictment of them, but a constant reminder that those of us who are passionate about collaboration are still not close to knowing what everyone else knows, and it’s further reinforcement that Blue Oxen Associates‘ mission is an important one.    (KS0)

In any case, I’m looking forward to following BlogHer‘s progress. Check out the podcast from the meeting, and also Elisa’s comments afterwards. The next conference is July 28-29 at the Hyatt San Jose in San Jose, California, and there are still spots open for the second day, so check it out.    (KS1)

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

« »

Leave a Reply