Every October the town of Camden, ME. is host to the mind-expanding conference Pop!Tech. It's the perfect time of year for deep thought, it seems; the crisp air keeps you alert (and when you begin to fade, the chill forces you to run for a cup of warm caffeine) and coastal Maine is the perfect backdrop for dreaming/pondering/reflecting, or at least sorting out all the ideas you've tried to cram into your head for three days.
I missed much of the conference this year due to illness and work-related activities, sorry not to have caught such lumineries as Will Wright, Richard Dawkins, Tom Friedman or the Yes Men... but the few presentations I did see were as powerful and thought provoking as ever. Chris Anderson on the economies of scarcity and abundance; Tom Barnett, who always puts the political landscape into sharp perspective for me; hilarious and refreshing Kent Nichols, proving Chris Anderson's point that the world of media distribution has changed forever (as if anyone had any doubt); and Alex Steffan's passion to change the world. Alex, who closed Day One with one of the most powerful presentations I have ever heard simply because everything he said was accessible and clear, and everyone got it ("wows" were heard all around me), has a book that will launch next week called World Changing: A Users Guide for the 21st Century and you can buy it here...
Travel Notes: The Inn at Ocean's Edge, located 5 miles from the center of Camden, is worth the short drive for spectacular ocean views and superior comfort. This year while my mind was on overdrive, my body got to rest at their Ducktrap property, 2 more miles up in Lincolnville Beach and somewhat off the beaten path. Ducktrap is a series of private (modern & luxurious) cabins and a main lodge that feel like a private camp, lacking other hospitality-style buildings or other people, for that matter. I stayed in the lodge, 7 private rooms surrounding a spatial community living area with a huge fireplace. The common area opens up to a large deck set with Adirondack chairs, overlooking the Atlantic ocean in the distance. Breakfast is served at the Inn but you can opt to have your breakfast delivered to your door at either property. Even at the remote-ish Ducktrap all the rooms have free wi-fi, which amazes me; I can't even get that at most hotels in Manhattan. The inn has an infinity pool and full service restaurant that was recently featured in Gourmet, and I was told by the innkeeper that by the time I return for next year's conference, a full spa will be up and running. My room rate for mid-October was $225/night.
Photo found on Flickr PopTech 2006