Product idea: The ConferenceCaster

This one is worth a million bucks, but I’m giving it to you for free.

I was at a conference last week, and I noticed how commonplace it has become for people in the audience to use their digital cameras to take pictures of all the slides. Digital pictures are essentially free, so why not? At the same time, I noticed other people were holding up little digital audio recorders. Why not, it occurred to clever me, combine these two things into one convenient device? I’m picturing a small camera with a built-in microphone. Start the audio recorder going, then snap pictures as needed. At the end, you get to mix and match the desired results: a bunch of pictures, a high-quality audio recording, or a complete synchronized audio/image podcast of the talk ready to upload to an offshore server.

I have learned from listening to podcasts that: A) I really enjoy hearing talks from interesting conferences on technical topics and B) the slides mostly don’t matter, but occasionally you really want to see the one where everyone laughed for no discernible reason. Video of a distant talking head is pointless, but slides synchronized with the audio, that’s worth real money.

Okay, maybe it’s not worth a million bucks. But it’s better, as JMike has been known to say, than a poke in the eye with a sharp stick. And if a quick Google search reveals that five versions are already on the market, I’d rather live in the ignorant bliss of the optimistic faux inventor.