SorryI'm sorry for not being appropriately available and responsive. Further, I'm sorry for often not always holding the ball as tight as I should have done during the past three years.
Reason - BroadviewThese past three years have been increasingly personally challenging, recently hitting a crescendo and now an inflection point has been reached, which is why I write this.
Ill MotherTo give an idea, my mother was diagnosed with terminal cancer. This weighed increasingly heavily upon me particularly because it was a very rare form of cancer (carcinoid) and as such the palliative care was not very effective at the time. This meant prolonged physical suffering and endless diverse side-effects due to constantly switching drug cocktails, all of which was exceptionally distressing to all close.
Family BreakdownThe weight of this became a factor in discord within my domestic family during 2007 and 2008, which lead to the break up of my relationship with my girlfriend in late 2008. With it I lost the home I'd worked hard to put together and a normal relationship with my young daughter (I became a "father by appointment").
The effect of this was that I was immensely more stressed than normal during the debut 2008 event.
Ill FatherThen in 2009 my father was diagnosed with cancer. I then watched a terribly tragic situation and circumstances unfold as he battled chemotherapy and at the same time, battled to be the twenty-four-seven carer of my mother. They were determined regardless of how weak and sick he was, and however immobile and sick my mother got, that he was not going to stop being her carer. As such they would not let social services get involved (i.e. to remove her from their home to say a hospice).
By the time I called him one night during eComm Europe 2009 he did not even know I had a conference (the chemotherapy drugs were badly affecting him, including memory) and the call seemed to be a straight audio-line into Tartarus; there was much crying, screaming, torment, confusion, and fear being heard. My mother was having mini-strokes and being left on the floor in her own urine for hours until help arrived, as he could not get her back off the floor etc.
By the start of 2010 it had appeared that the chemotherapy was successful. But soon after eComm America 2010, I received a call from my father to say that it was back. He said that another round of chemotherapy was necessary. However it was clear that he was in such a weakened state, that he might not make it.
My father was my best friend and the only person in the family I really "connected with". So that call in April 2010, hit me really hard. I lost interest in communications/technology and shifted focus to aspects of philosophy and psychology instead.
I therefore did not schedule a Europe 2010. I figured that by the time it came around, in that six-month period, that there was a strong likelihood I'd not have any parents and would be witnessing both of their deaths.
But once again following chemotherapy my father was given the all clear. However by the end of last year it seemed to me that he was deteriorating in a number of directions. This caused me great upset and therefore it factored into my reasoning to move America 2011 from March to June.
Father's DeathThen in February when working hard to lay the groundwork for America 2011, I received a call to say that he'd been unexpectedly taken into hospital. I immediately put everything on hold and took next-day flights to Scotland. I spent the next seven-weeks either battling for his care; watching over his death by dehydration; dealing with paperwork and funerals; Will execution; and finally dealing with troubled siblings.
Event ViabilityWhen I arrived back "home" last month my first thought was whether it was right and whether it was possible to still go ahead with eComm America 2011.
Almost two critical months had been lost and only three months were left. So I asked the first sponsors to confirm again, which they kindly did (in order of highest level: Skype; Voxer, Tata Communications, Voxbone, Harqen; Hookflash).
It would seem natural not to go ahead since the event is "only" an unpaid passion of mine. However, the emails I received during my unplanned time-out, made me see quite clearly that there is a strong community of people who share the same vision and values I had, when I first figured our industry badly lacked such a forum.
Help NeededI therefore concluded that it was both right and possible to go ahead. However, a lot of help is needed to achieve this in such a short time.
I need help in the following four areas.
ContentTopics should relate to the conference tagline "What's Next in Telecom, Mobile & Internet Communications". More specifically the topics should fit into one of five categories: Concept & Futurism; Products & Services; Technology & Engineering; Policy & Regulation; or Digital Economics & Business Models.
If you'd like to speak please complete the online form. If you'd like to suggest topics or speakers please edit the online topic discussion document. Speakers are never paid and should only speak owing to their own volition and passion for the future of communications.
SponsorsSponsors should understand it's not a tradeshow or regular conference in that it's independent and as such, they cannot control the content, e.g. buy keynote slots etc. In return they can favorably position their brand; gain significant awareness; attract a developer or community base; and strongly position their company in front of other executives that they should do business with.
Please express interest in sponsorship opportunities by completing the online form.
AttendeesApply for an invitation. If accepted you'll be emailed a registration link later this month. Check travel logistics for June 27-29. Mark the event on the your calendar program (add it automatically).
PromotionSpread the word by emailing five people who may be interested, or let them know thru Facebook, LinkedIn or sites like Quora. In the meantime you may wish to point them at the completed schedule of previous years (2010, 2009, 2009 Europe, 2008). Add a pre-made banner to your website.
If you can help in some other way please email suggestions@eComm.ec
Influence The FutureRight now the website does not have any speakers listed, registration is not open etc. This needs to be turned around vastly in the next two weeks. Then we need very rapid building upon that until the event itself.
I trust and hope that the community of people who understand the value in such a forum can each come forwards in their own way owing to this call. Then we can come together to have a great, meaningful and productive time this June.
In doing so, we can move forwards the mission to have an open exchange of vision and ideas in order to positively influence the future of telecom, mobile & Internet communications.