Last month, in London, 200 people turned out for Boring 2010, the first conference devoted to under-stimulation. The Wall Street Journal has a story about the conference—which included readings of paint color catalogs and lectures with titles like “The Intangible Beauty of Car Park Roofs”. The interesting thing, though, is that this conference really didn’t seem to be about boredom at all. Instead, the topics leaned more towards “Things that are stereotypically considered boring, but which some people are very interested in.”
This post, like the previous two, highlights the fact that there are plenty of opportunities to create meaningful conferences, that is meaningful to the right audience. It’s just a matter of understanding what is relevant to whom and make it happen with an honest desire of connecting people.
Some passages from the Wall Street Journal article that I found interesting:
Boring 2010 is the handiwork of James Ward, 29 years old, who works for a DVD distribution and production company. In his other life, as the envoy of ennui, Mr. Ward edits a blog called “I Like Boring Things.” He is also co-founder of the Stationery Club, whose 45 members meet occasionally to discuss pens, paper clips and Post-it Notes.
Boring 2010 sprang to life when Mr. Ward heard that an event called the Interesting Conference had been canceled, and he sent out a joke tweet about the need to have a Boring Conference instead. He was taken aback when dozens of people responded enthusiastically.
One eagerly awaited talk was about writer Peter Fletcher’s meticulous three-year—and still running—sneeze count. With the help of graphs and charts, Mr. Fletcher disclosed that he had sneezed 2,267 times in the past 1,249 days, thus gaining “a profound understanding of the passing of time.”
“I’ve even sneezed when recording a sneeze,” he said.
To get to the conference, Jo Lee took an hour’s train ride from the seaside town of Brighton. She said it was worth it because her own idea of fun is to take photographs of random marks left on walls and of chewing gum stuck under desks.
“We’re all overstimulated,” said Ms. Lee. “I think it’s important to stop all that for a while and see what several hours of being bored really feels like.”