SMART Letter #92
Not Your Usual SMART Letter
January 12, 2004

SMART Letter #92 -- January 12, 2004
Some Rights Reserved by Creative Commons License - "all about finding a way to do it" -- -- 1-888-isen-com
********* at *********

> WTF!?! A Gathering of SMART People?
> Bogus Contest -- What does WTF mean? (No, not THAT)
> Conferences on my Calendar
> Creative Commons License Notice, Administrivia


This is not your usual SMART Letter.
*I* am asking *you* . . . (and we're going to have to
hustle to make the idea, which you are about to co-create,

Let's take seriously the assumption that Intelligence is at
the Edge. That is, let's *really* suppose that we're
SMARTer than the people "at the top" and "in the center".
Let's act on the maxim, "Nobody knows as much as all of

Here's the idea -- an instant, bottom-up meeting. WTF.
Let's get together face to face. Let's talk about the end
of telephony and the beginning of communication, about the
end-to-end principle and its enemies, about smart people
and dumb companies, intellectual property and creative
commons, digital democracy and info-surveillance, e-
commerce and the war against customers, and whatever else
is on our minds. Let's get to know each other, learn from
each other, exchange ideas, frustrations, tools, toys and
hacks. And let's see what happens from there. WTF --
it'll be lots more exciting than talking corporate heads
behind podiums.

Q1: Does this sound like a good idea to you?

I propose that we spend the better part of three days
together (e.g., arrive on the afternoon of Day One and stay
until late PM on Day Three). I propose that we do it in
early April sometime. I've talked to a couple of
conference centers in the Northeast U.S. that might host
such a gathering, and they can do it -- meals, lodging,
meeting room, A-V, etc. -- for about US$500 double
occupancy or $700 single occ. (Note: At these prices I'll
cover costs but won't make money -- this will be your

Q2: Would you come?

Here's one scenario: The Edith Macy Conference Center seats 196 in its Peter F Drucker
Auditorium. It's in Westchester County about 30 miles
north of New York City, close to three major airports with
convenient inexpensive flights from everywhere. This venue
only has one window; Friday April 2 through Sunday April 4.
But that's OK, I am not doing anything else that weekend.
Are you?

Here's another scenario: The ACE Conference Center is about 15 miles north
of Philadelphia. It has an excellent meeting room, a cozy,
semicircular amphitheatre with 54 seats. Schedule-wise
they're more open. They could host us, e.g., Tues-Thurs,
Wed-Fri or Fri-Sun in either of the first two weeks of
April. It'll cost a few bucks more to fly into Philly, and
air schedules might not be as convenient. (It is 2+ hours
drive from NYC airports without traffic.) And if we max out
at 54 people we'll need to stop accepting attendees.

Q3: Which date(s) would you prefer?
Q4: Which venue sounds better to you?


Myself, I am not worried. I am looking forward to meeting
my heroes -- you! I've been emailing with some of you for
six years and more. If we get 60 people, and each of us
takes three minutes to introduce ourselves, that's three
hours right there. We can have panels and debates. We can
have Birds-of-a-Feather groups organized on-the-fly (pun
intended, sorta) using Open Space methods. We can wi-fi
each other. We can do show-and-tell, using the big screen
to show what's on our own screens lately. We can get
seriously creative. If you have something you'd like to
show us, or explain, or debate, let's do it! Write it up.
Send it in.

Q5: What would YOU like to do at WTF?

I'm amazed by the SMART minds among us. We might want to
hear from some folks at length. For example:
+ If Clay Christensen or his co-workers show up, I want
to learn the new taxonomy of disruptive technology.
+ If George Gilder or his compadres arrive, I'd like to
get the skinny on ILEC fiber and Chinese capitalism.
+ If Porter Stansberry comes, I won't let him escape
without hearing why the U.S. is following telecom into
+ If Halley Suitt comes, I hope she's with
her blogsisters.
+ If recent SMART List joiner Gerry Butters shows up, I'll
hope for insight into Lucent's murky future.
+ If Clay Shirky shows, I'll want to hear about the Art of
War according to the RIAA.
+ If Cory Doctorow arrives, I hope somebody will challenge
him on how musicians make a living when copying is
+ If Bob Lucky shows up, I'd be tempted to give him a
fireplace, a comfortable chair, a glass of brandy and
as much time as he wants.
All of these people are on The SMART List, and lots more
folks you will want to hear from. Who will show? We shall
know. Give us a few weeks.

Q6: Who would you like to hear from?

My own, personal bottom line: I don't think we'll have any
trouble filling up three days.

Who else is invited? I'm starting by inviting everybody on
the SMART List. But I think it should be open to anybody
who's willing to show up and be civil. Go ahead and blog
it. How many of us? When and where? These answers need
to develop THIS WEEK.


If I don't hear from at least 30 people this week who say,
"I'm definitely coming," I suppose we'd better put the idea
on hole. It won't be the first crackpot thing I've tried.

But if there's "critical mass" out there, that is, if 30 or
more of you are definitely in with both feet, then I'll
sign a contract with one of these venues and pay the
deposit. And I'll work hard to get a registration scheme,
a way to pay, a website and a proposed agenda together
within the next couple of weeks.

Please let me know via email.

Also, there's a mailing list -- --
for the discussion of what we want WTF to be, and how we'd
like to see it evolve. To join, send email to WTF2004- or visit


I batted the WTF idea around with Dr. "self-at-evident"
Weinberger last week, and he proposed one of his famous
Bogus Contests.

Bogus Contest: What does WTF mean? No, not THAT.
How about
+ Welcome the Future
+ Women's Technology Forum
+ Who're These Freaks?
+ What the FCC?
+ What the EFF?
+ Where's the Food?
et cetera.

Your ideas? Write them down. Send them in.

If WTF actually happens, will award all worthy
submissions appropriately. Decision of the judge will be
unfairly arbitrary and terminally final.

Q7: OK what am I missing? Any big hairy gotchas lurking
in the shadows? Any sweet young ideas tied to the railroad
tracks waiting to be rescued in the nick of time? Any
lonely initiatives that need a phone call or a home cooked

We're going to need to give one of these venues a
commitment ASAP, or sooner. Check your calendars. Let me

More soon!
David I



January 27-28, 2004, Bedfont Lakes, Middlesex, UK. Access
to Broadband Campaign: Revolution at the Edge. Second
annual meeting. I'll be the first keynote speaker. My
friends and colleagues Peter Cochrane and Dewayne Hendricks
will participate too.

March 12-16, 2004, Austin TX. Wireless Futures (A
conference within the South by SouthWest multi-palooza).
Don't know much about this yet, but from the list of
invitees, it's going to be good.

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Copyright 2004 by David S. Isenberg -- -- 1-888-isen-com

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David S. Isenberg,LLC -- 888-isen-com 203-661-4798
-- The brains behind the Stupid Network --