For the last four years, I've received an email from the organizers at O'Reilly inviting me to submit a proposal to speak at their Where 2.0 conference. I've responded the last three years, and each time they've written to inform me my proposed topic was not accepted, but yet they still of course encouraged me to consider sponsoring the event, and of course attend by all means. Last Friday I received the same invitation, but this time told them I'm sick of receiving their disingenuous offer, and that I'll pass on suggesting a topic I assume they won't accept.
I've attended this event all years this thing has run [with the exception of 2005]. I've listened to mobile LBS talks from start-ups with limited historical industry knowledge, I heard people rant about Carriers not giving developers Location [sometimes without fully understanding why], I've heard talks about the Geoweb, talks about Privacy, and user generated content, and blah blah blah. And I've equally been invited by a previous Where 2.0 keynote speaker to participate in an edgecraft session at his office [which I enjoyed!].
This time however, the latest invitation helped me realize O'Reilly show organizers don't want me there to speak, they want me there to listen. To listen to the privileged; the same lot who also attend invitation-only closed-door Where camps at the Googleplex. Those are the folks that speak at Where 2.0, and O'Reilly cronies sponsor it. It's corporate marketing welfare at its best, camouflaged as a geospatial open source hacker event.