Nine years ago, during/after Pedro’s SHiFT conference, we were ‘stuck’ in Portugal due to the Icelandic volcanic ash cloud. Lane Becker was one of the other speakers attending and Elmine told him about our birthday unconference and how we were planning a new edition that spring. Two years later, in the fall of 2012, we met Lane again, this time in Copenhagen. We talked more about our birthday unconferences and he thought he might do one the next year, for his 40th birthday.

By coincidence Facebook put something Lane posted in my timeline yesterday, and I read some more of what he posted recently. Turns out he indeed has been doing a birthday conference, not in 2013, but last year for his 45th. And he is now organising a second one in Austin Texas, coming September!

Furthermore, one of the participants of his conference last year Kevin Bankston, took to the idea, and is doing a small conference as birthday and farewell party in Washington D.C. this month.

Both these ripples I think are totally awesome. We have Beverly and Etiennes week long retreats in both California and Portugal, from when Beverly participated in the original birthday unconference in 2008. Earlier this month Peter organised Crafting {:} a Life on PEI in Canada. And now Lane’s 2 editions, and Kevin’s spin-off from Lane’s event. I think that in itself is pretty good impact from what was basically a mad idea 11 years ago.

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In between ethics of nanotech and higher-ed policy in Yemen, Elmine’s birthday unconference, at University of Twente’s conference center in 2008

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