YearlyKos Day 1

I woke up about 6 local time (4 my time) so I could get registered and scope out the convention center and the room for my first panel, titled Connecting Major Donors to the Netroots. Right away it’s clear that this pace is vast. YealryKos is in a new convention center attached to a Hyatt hotel, part of the McCormick covention center complex. (The cab driver told me that driving around the perimeter of the whole complex is seven miles. Is this true?)
The registration was set up, but my first panel was upstairs somewhere, and no one I talked to knew how to get there. Eventually I found it, and it really was about a quarter mile from registration. The air condition was not on yet, and it was HOT, even at 7am. But the projector was set up and the room was laid out.
Having a panel at 8am on the first day of a conference is not a recipe for high attendance, so I had located and raised money to hire a camera and operator so we can get this onto the web later. He showed up at 7:30, and got set up, but we could not locate a way to plug into the sound system and the AV person we called never showed up The operator had to use the camera’s microphone so the sound probably won’t be great when you hear it.
The panel started relatively on time and went very well. I will put my opening remarks in a separate post. I found out last night that Joe Trippi could not make it to my second panel, Creating a Culture of Grassroots Giving, and asked Patrick O’Heffernan, Commonweal Institute Senior Fellow, to fill in. He did a great job. Colin Bishop, a fundraiser, also joined at the last minute and did well. That panel went really well.
Walking around YearlyKos this year is very different from last year. Last year it was a mass of faces that few recognized – I described it as the largest gathering of people who knew each other but had never seen each other. This year is was lots and lots of familiar faces. Lots of people saying hi.
Today was really “workshop” day. The real opening of YearlyKos was tonite, with Howard Dean gicing the opening keynote. He was, of course, great. He announced a new voting iitiative by the Democratic Party, working with every single county in America, down the the precinct level, to identify voting problems NOW, for the 2008 election, and starting to solve them now. Right down to which precincts do not get enough voting machines.