Thursday, July 10, 2008

a foo camping I go

Somehow I've become the looping cellist of technology conferences.

Last year there was ISTE Educational Technology conference in Atlanta and then Pop!Tech in Maine. Tomorrow I'm playing at O'Reilly's Foo Camp and then in September at the Emerging Technology conference at MIT.

What's funny to me, is that I had this whole tech career before becoming a professional musician, and I never went to a single conference. But now that I'm a MUSICIAN, I'm invited as a special guest. Ironically, none of them have any idea of my past geek life (or do they? can they tell?). Hopefully they are not disappointed when they find out...

I worked at a tiny startup in San Francisco all during the dot com boom. We did "information visualization", and no one could understand what it was good for at the time but we knew it was going to change the freaking world. However, with the exception of the marketing guy, few of us could explain in one sentence what the company did. I could't tell you what I did for that matter although I worked all night at it (ok, I guess that's still true). I started out as the receptionist, then taught myself whatever programming languages were necessary, and graduated to the engineering department as an interface developer. The CEO used to joke, "Zoe was so bad at being a receptionist, that we made her an engineer". After the crash I moved on to stuff I really cared about - art and culture digital archives (RLG Cultural Materials and the Database of Recorded American Music) and of course, making music.

All that time I had a "secret life", going off at night to rehearse and perform with various bands.

So now, I do music all day (ok, technologically extended music) and when I have down time, I like to curl up with my laptop and catch up on the all the tech blogs. I guess my past life is useful... I can fix everyone's Myspace pages, or troubleshoot all the computers on the tour bus, or organize everything in the house by its descriptive metadata. But sometimes I wish I could just CONSUME technology, like some people seem to, rather than always see it for what needs improving (don't get me started on Myspace..ARGH!). I always want to fix stuff, make it better, use it for some new purpose that it wasn't built for.

Ah well...I'm off to get ready for tomorrow.


Blogger Unknown said...


Finally got a chance to listen to some of your stuff.

Enchanting, must have more...


P.S. Do you twitter?

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