In remaking DBW, Metrock broadened its scope, changing the focus from trade publishing to, Metrock said, “the wide world of publishing.” Acknowledging that he had first sought to buy O’Reilly’s Tools of Change conference before acquiring DBW, Metrock said he would like DBW to combine the best of TOC and DBW.
To that end, the DBW program features a wide variety of panelists, starting with keynote speaker Lisa Lucas, executive director of the National Book Foundation. “I want to bring together a group of interesting people who can give attendees some different points of view,” Metrock explained. “You never know where your next key insight will come from.” The closing keynote, for example, will be from a representative from the U.S. Army.
Other panelists from outside the ranks of traditional publishing include Jon Myers, CEO of Earplay, and Tellables CEO Amy Stapleton, who will discuss how to produce stories in “the voice-first era.” The panel will be moderated by Metrock, an expert in voice technology who spoke at this year’s London Book Fair about opportunities for publishers in voice-activated search. Given his background, the new DBW features a heavy voice component, with representatives from Amazon Alexa and Audible also set to appear on panels.
Metrock said he envisions the revamped DBW providing publishers with a short-term guide to how they can best use technology. With technology being such a big part of publishing now, Metrock is confident that there is still a need for a conference that brings publishers and technology companies together.