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December 13, 2013
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CONVENE -- Tech Guru David Pogue: ‘It’s Just So Much So Fast’




By Katie Kervin, Convene

David Pogue left his post as technology columnist at The New York Times to join Yahoo, where he'll “lead a major expansion of consumer-tech coverage ...,” CEO Marissa Mayer wrote on Yahoo's tumblr site, “and will publish columns, blog posts, and video stories that demystify the gadgets, apps, and technology that powers our users’ daily lives.”

Pogue also hosts PBS's “NOVA science NOW” program, writes a column for Scientific American magazine, and makes frequent appearances at conferences — including PCMA Convening Leaders 2014, where he'll present a Masters Series program on “Disruptive Tech: What’ s New, What’ s Coming, and How It Will Change Everything.”

“It's just so much, so fast,” Pogue told Convene in a recent interview. He sees his role as helping “separate the wheat from the chaff to tell you which things are important and which things you can forget.”

There are so many new products and so many technologies that meeting planners find it difficult to know which direction to go — both from a cost perspective and in terms of learning new things. How might people wade through all this and decide which products to use?

First of all, that's true even for me. It's my job to keep on top of it. It's all I do is read about it and test it and go to conferences. And it's still overwhelming. It's just so much, so fast. Obviously, the one thing you can do is just read the material written by people whose job that is to crawl through this stuff.... And, you always benefit by not being the first. [Tech reviewers are] not buying [version] 1.0 of anything — that always applies. And other than that, check in before you buy anything to see what the latest news is.

Do you think that disruptive technologies have changed the way people meet face-to-face?

On the small scale, videoconferencing is finally becoming standard. My meetings with PR people who want to pitch me on some new product used to involve them flying across the country and then spending two hours in the car to come visit me in person. And more and more we're doing that over video chat — Skype or FaceTime. I think they're delighted and I'm delighted, because it's just so much less time out of everybody's day and so much more efficient and less expensive and better for the environment.

But, you know, that's on a small scale. In terms of larger meetings, aside from the obvious things like efficiency gained by apps and the ability to rebook or reschedule or post the conference agenda online in real time, I'm not sure. There's something still fantastic and un-replicable about a live person on stage presenting in two-way real time with value.

You’ve written that you admire Marissa Mayer's “try-stuff” attitude. Do you have any advice for a planner considering implementing something brand-new?

I guess the answer is, the reason a place like Yahoo experiments and takes these risks is because they want the climb. They want to do better. They want to attract a larger and better audience. I would think it's the same for a meeting planner, because the idea is to attract an audience to the event. One way to do that might be incorporating and advertising some of these helpful new technologies that would make it more interesting for people to go. Like, somebody who hadn't been for three years, when they find out that there will be a cool new two-way system on your phone to interact with the speaker, they might be pushed over the edge to attend. 

Read more at convn.org/pogue-convene.


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About the Author: Convene Magazine



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