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7x20x21 Wrapup

Ben Greenman on Charts

I’m still processing BEA after four days of panels, meetings, gladhanding, high-fiving, and whiskey-drinking, but I can say: 7x20x21 was a success! All because of our amazing presenters.

(What’s that you say? You couldn’t make it? You would like to see video? We’re working on it. Stay tuned.)

  • Ben Greenman perfected the art of charts, then destroyed the art of charts, then perfected it again. A few examples.
  • Rachel Rosenfelt talked about The New Inquiry, and how VIDA’s report on women in criticism is a lot less important than people think. Rachel’s TNI crew is an impressive bunch; I recommend Ryan Ruby’s recent piece on the suicide note as literature.
  • Aaron Shapiro spoke on “Users Not Customers,” which was hard for me to pay attention to because I kept taking notes about how his presentation was blowing my mind. I will be reading his book ASAP. (Also, because he’s the CEO of HUGE, his slides looked amazing.)
  • Misha Glouberman somehow fit four different presentations into his seven minutes. He even ran a speed round of Q&A. (Carolyn Kellogg summarized it nicely in the Los Angeles Times.)

One of Misha Glouberman's slides

  • Rita Meade talked about the reality of being a librarian, which ended quite optimistically. Even if some of her younger patrons prefer robot librarians.
  • Kevin Smokler was his usual brilliant self: he talked about rethinking books according to reader’s tastes and experimenting with length and… truth be told, I nodded a ton and wished that I could have taken more notes.
  • And rounding out the presentation, Colson Whitehead debuted LitMod 100, clearly the silver bullet solution for writers. It was embarrassing when a bunch of venture capitalists stormed the stage, throwing money to fund his startup. TechCrunch said it’ll go IPO by August.
Oh, and I don’t think anyone noticed, but a pigeon flew over the stage right near the end of Colson’s talk. That wasn’t an accident. It was supposed to be two dozen pigeons, erupting from the podium at the final minute. I apologize for the lack of spectacle and will talk to my ornithologist.

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7x20x21 Returns to BEA

I admit, if you don’t work in publishing that subject line is nonsense. For the rest of you: 7x20x21 is back! After last year‘s resounding success, Ami and I were hard pressed to think of how we could top it. Then we drank some whiskey and came up with the following panel. This is going to be The Last Boy Scout of BEA panels. (It’s good, I swear.)

  • Colson Whitehead (Sag Harbor, Zone One) will debut a new, life-changing technology that will make all writing instantly better. He may also talk about the apocalypse. (Are you following him on Twitter yet? Of course you are.)
  • Rita Meade, a.k.a. the amazing ScrewyDecimal, will share what kids think the future of libraries will be.
  • Kevin Smokler, the newly-minted VP of Marketing at Byliner, will discuss discoverability. Make sure to high-five him about his new gig.
  • Misha Glouberman (The Chairs Are Where the People Go) will present possibly more in seven minutes than your brain can handle. This is a good thing.
  • Aaron Shapiro, CEO of Huge, will talk design and his book¬†Users Not Customers.
  • Rachel Rosenfelt,¬†founder and editor-in-chief of The New Inquiry, will discuss the current reviewing landscape for women.
  • And Ben Greenman, polymath New Yorker editor and novelist, will present charts. Incredible, blindingly brilliant charts.
What is 7x20x21, you ask? Well, let me tell you. It’s a loose interpretation of the pecha kucha format: each speaker gets 7 minutes, a maximum of 20 slides, with each slide advancing automatically every 21 seconds.
Tuesday May 24th
Javits Center – Midtown Insight Stage


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