I don’t know Danny Sullivan personally aside from comments at his blog and forums, but all reports say he’s a fine guy and easily one of the top search specialists in the world.
When it looked like Danny would be leaving Search Engine Strategies earlier in the year I was optimistic that he might break those of us in the publishing and search marketing fields out of the ‘same old speakers’ and ‘same old pitches’ one tends to hear at the two main search conferences: SES and WebmasterWorld’s “PubCon”. However he’s not leaving yet, so I’m happy for him I guess but disappointed he won’t come up with something new.
I think many would agree that Danny’s the guy who could bring something really new and powerful to the growing, global, search marketing human (and information) network. Something that would capture the spirit of “Web 2.0” which is far more collaborative, information rich, virtual, and unstructured than the internet of the 1990s. Also, there are a HUGE number of case studies now that reflect all the common problems websites have. Simply examining all these in a conference environment would be far more helpful than listening to yet another SEO guy talk about how he gamed Google’s Algo five years ago.
I don’t want to be too critical of SES and WMW because these are good conferences all things considered. However after attending some UNconferences such as MashupCamp I’m convinced that the UNconference format (or things like Yahoo’s Hack Day) are vastly superior to the old standard where speakers, often with less experience than many in the audience, struggle to speak clearly and make with their weak powerpoint presentations relevant.
UNconferences, like Startup Camp in a few weeks, tend to unleash the power of the audience and ironically the lack of structure creates far more cohesive sessions. I think this is because your brain goes into active vs passive mode.
So Danny after you make your deserved big bucks back at SES over the next year, how about shaking things up for 2007?