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Share with us your ideas on how to make BIL even better


You're encouraged to add your notes. If you dislike an idea, say so, and why. If you love an idea, make note of it!




  • Give shirts to BIL attendees early so they can wear them at TED (getting TED speakers wearing BIL shirts would be even better!)
  • A new logo (BIL logos) -Reichart
  • A brand identity created pro bono by a pro or pro firm who supports BIL, with feedback from BILders;  color scheme could focus on blue to TED's red. BIL could become an awesome brand.
  • A BIL of Rights -- Our version of the TED Commandments. A "BIL of Rights" because they're your rights as a BILder -- they're not commandments from on-high. For example, one is your Right to Get Stuff Done.
  • Spiffy theme music that we can play before our webcast videos (Mike Shapiro is aboard and will make a quick (10 second) music intro that says "listen up", and a shorter outtro that says "that was important".)
  • We really truly need a gong! [I can get a good gong. - Paul]
  • Have a better box out for donations than a scary vulnerable-looking cardboard box! (Can provide - Kaichang) (I like the cardboard box... it is just like BIL... unpretentious) (I loved the cardboard box, but can understand how this might make someone hesitant to drop in a lot of cash, so yeah we should improve for next year -Tyler)




  • Build database of sponsor prospects + contact person at a company + who knows that person / who can make the contact
  • BarCamp sponsors are a good reference for potential BIL sponsors - http://barcamp.org/




  • We should have toys and various things to play with at BIL (restraint yourself pervs), e.g. lightsabers, nerf blasters (nerf wars: still a-w-e-s-o-m-e), rubber footballs, walkie talkies, etc. [Hey what are you implying? I would just bring my slinky... -Jenn Ramsey]
  • We *gotta* have some robots roaming around!


Social connection – nametags, directory, etc


  • Maybe we can get some next-generation nametags for folks who register? We ran out of name-stick tags, and lots of people didn't receive them.
  • Not sure how feasible this is - but I loved TED's photo-ID passes (pictures of the attendees on the hall-pass everyone wore around their necks, with their name in bold colors. A digital camera with a fast photo printer was on site to print passes for attendees who didn't send in pictures beforehand). I think a nice conversation starter would be to have on everyone's badges "Ask me about __________" and have everyone complete that as part of their registration. [Even if we just did photo tags for pre-registered peeps it would be a big help. I'd be up for doing this low-budget (contact paper and some color print outs) or it's not much for insta-badge kits -Jenn Ramsey]
  • include interests/contact information in registration to be made available to attendees online or in directory format, and/or on name tags (as above) –D ++Jenn Ramsey
  • Official afterparty rager?
  • Who/What/Where guide: Map of the area labeled with bars, food, hotels, and stores of interest. Schedule of events. If there's a sponsor for it, a photo directory of anyone who pre-registers with contact info. Info on TED and where we might bump into them in the night. If no sponsor, just a single page info sheet/map. [I'll cat-herd this. Anyone interested in helping or that wants to throw in or find a sponsor for print costs contact me. -Jenn Ramsey]
  • More organized and better variety food/drink. [I'll do this too unless someone else wants it. -Jenn Ramsey]


Talk organization – timing, rooms, etc


  • Give out good speaking blocks (i.e. more time and in bigger space) based on votes by attendees. All presentations were excellent, but some were more excellent than others. It would be great if the best got 30 mins (or more) instead of 15, and if the ones with lesser attendee interest were done in the smaller space. (++ Rick - I love this idea.  This lets the unconference keep some of the "creative chaos" that makes things so interesting, while at the same time, giving more time to presenters who really need it, and based on what attendees are most interested in hearing about and taking part in.  Best of both worlds, IMO.  Also lessens the need for the gong someone suggested.)[seconded! -D]
  • Continuing on the theme above - have speakers -*apply* for prime speaking spots beforehand; ask aspiring speakers upload a 1-minute preview on to YouTube or something similar as a 'movie trailer' to their talk, and allow registered guests to vote on what they'd like to see. [seconded! in addition to pre-org'd speaking blocks, there could be an hour or two block during the day of impromptu or side sessions. prime sessions could have a 'submit outline or summary by' deadline in advance. -D]
  • Doing the above would also help to avoid cross-programming, because if the big room is (usually) planned for the presentations that attendees have showed the most interest in (pre-event), there's less likelihood of needing to clone yourself to be in two places at once.
  • We need at least a 5 minute buffer between presentations - preferable to "hard" starts and inevitable overtimes. - OR we need to do what was the plan this year but fell through which is have the next speaker use a DIFFERENT projector and get ready while the first speaker is talking - along with someone on stage each hour introducing speakers and sessions. (++ Rick)
  • More breakout rooms to enable more parallel sessions (-Chris Peterson's good suggestion) 
  • 4-6 smaller rooms for the speakers to continue their conversations and answer questions.
  • Clock in back of hall visible to speakers that counts down that says "Please wrap up" when it hits 00:00
  • An easier to read sign-up board for the talks... either a big chart with spaces for people to fill in their name, talk, and contact info, or if possible a laptop with a few connected monitors or projector so that many poeple can see the schedule at once. [I'm in to help with this or do it if I don't do food. -Jenn Ramsey]


Tech/media support & communication


  • Would be great to have a live video feed out of BIL, and possibly communications inbound as well (say text questions for speakers). The effective audience could be dramatically increased and that can further BIL's stability as an ongoing presence.
  • Give the speakers better microphones that they don't have to hold! Encourage them to really "explore the studio space".
  • Have a video feed so people can watch outside. [Or web-broadcast it. ++Jenn Ramsey]
  • Have central computer to update scheduled speakers/leave notes for other attendees (a la Playa Info)
  • Maybe encourage no cellphones / no checking email in main hall during presentations since it can be distracting to presenters and other attendees. [Talking is distracting*; checking email isn't -Paul]
  • Better lighting (good venue will get us this -Tyler)
  • Brighter projection (that was a powerful projector, the next level is $5K+, we need to find somoene with one) [I'll talk w/ friend at Reactrix, but definitely if anyone else can help here, much appreciated; -Tyler] [I'll check on this locally -Jenn Ramsey]
  • BIL Board - a page on the Wiki to allow all to "report the news" as it happens at BIL. - Reichart
  • Printer/Copier on site will be handy.
  • Robust, Stable Internet/WiFi.
  • Mute the doors so they don't slam.
  • White boards on the doors - label each room with the current and upcoming speakers.  (++ Rick) [++Jenn Ramsey, write speakers, talk title, and corelating contact info/URLs.]
  • Photobooth and/or video confessional for reactions. Great B roll for after conference videos. [These guys were at Burning Man with a digital photobooth that emailed the results. Maybe that would be available? Or would be pretty easy to make one. -Jenn Ramsey]
  • An email discussion group for BILites, for more conversational topics like tech tips, advice sharing, job postings, etc. [Is there already one? I couldn't find it. -Jenn Ramsey]


Talk content


  • Language from BIL at the G-to-PG-rated level to make it accessible to everyone - kaichang) [Disagree, how cool to have Regina Lynn talk on sex-tech? Just ask presenters to warn of adult content. Mark on schedule as such. - Ian] [Strongly Disagree, The MPAA rating system is an out-of-date out-of-touch culturally backwards tool of thought police.  It endorses the status quo.  If you're not prepared to expose your children to radical ideas, don't bring them to BIL. -- Stephen] [++to Stephen's idea of labeling the talks with ratings, cuz I'm ready this year! -Jenn Ramsey]
  • Presentation resources for speakers, made readily available on website
  • Build understanding among BILders of how to create and give excellent presentations (Meng has blogged Five Talks to Give At BIL (and Three To Avoid) [GREAT ADVICE! -D]
  • BILy the KID - A track just for kids.  What should this track be?  Let's ask the kids...  (BILding Minds?)  - Reichart
  • Puzzles/games/brain-teasers etc side section for kids and adults? -D
  • 1 hour of Lighting Talks - Meng volunteers to organize.  Will need Gong.


Blog Posts w/ Ideas, Feedback, etc.


  • Here's someone with their opinions on the good of BIL, the bad of BIL, and future recommendations for BIL
  • Some of us don't want to wait a year to gather again. We might like a sort of mini-BIL perhaps in August, just to keep the momentum. [Please gud not August, many of us will be in Burning Man prep hell... July? -Jenn Ramsey]


* Talking between neighbors during sessions is encouraged.  However, this must be done by turning towards the ear of the person you are talking to and whispering.  You should not be audible more than a short distance away if you do not engage your vocal chords.  If you do not know how to whisper, please practice outside of the talks.  Of course, if you see a gaping hole in the presenter's logic or think something is a brilliant insight (and maybe your neigbor feels likewise) then by all means, SPEAK UP.

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