How the Internet Connects Knowledge

Is It Worth It?

A one-day conference costs me hundreds of hours of my time, and the financial return does not match this investment at my full contract rate. So is it worth it? Absolutely! The HICK Tech initiative has expanded my personal and professional network – and even my client base. More importantly, it has started a huge ripple in my local community. I know of many connections that were made at my conference, and I am proud to have facilitated those discussions.

Technology conferences are typically industry specific and focus on learning discrete units of obscure information and networking between geeks – this is my idea of a good time, too. But my dream is world domination of free and open source software. To realize this dream, we need to turn outward and attract a new market. Community conferences help to engage new users. By the end of the conference, delegates felt inspired to learn more about technology because of the day's human connections and humanized technology. In the closing announcements, I pointed delegates to the bottom of their cloth bags, where they found an Ubuntu CD, of course.


  1. HICK Tech:
  2. "HICK" is short for "How the Internet Connects Knowledge," and is also a derogatory slang term for someone living in a rural area.
  3. TED Conference:

The Author

Emma Jane Hogbin builds and supports online communities using open source software. She is the conference chair for HICK Tech and has spoken about her experiences at lots of other conferences. She lives in rural Canada and chronicles her adventures at

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