September 29, 2007
The Faces of DEMOfall '07
At events, I have always loved capturing industry vets on camera. Sometimes, these are people I have worked with, admired from afar, had interesting conversations with over the years, read books or blogs they have written or countless other possibilities.
Adding new Canon lenses makes this easier and a lot more fun, despite the fact that I have to lug another bag on airplanes.
Below are a handful of fun moments from DEMOfall this year. The batch below is likely to be a little more client and industry pal heavy given that I was too busy to blog about or photograph everyone and anyone at this year's event.
Disney's Scott Sangster (strategic planning and development)
The MetaRADAR team has a sense of humor
Analyst Amy Wohl, who has been going to these events since the beginning
IEEE Spectrum's Tekla Perry and Blognation's Marc Orchant
Ann Revell-Pechar, Renee Blodgett (I'm certain that we shake as many hands as politicians do)
Industry legend John Landry manages to bring a smile to everyone in his path
Microsoft's Dan'l Lewin
Final wrap panel that included Network World's John Gallant, USA Today's Ed Baig, John Jordan, Executive Director, Center for Digital Transformation at Penn State, Disney's Scott Sangster, and the Wall Street Journal's Kara Swisher.
San Diego's TV 10 News shows up
Financial Times' Paul Taylor
The Pudding Demo
Shoutlet's product head Jason Konz
USA Today columnist Ed Baig
Renee Blodgett and John Landry (seeing east coast pals remind me of my roots)
Ann, Steve (Wildstrom) and Renee on the show floor
Mobile Guru Oliver Starr
The Sway Team
More RADAR fun
Fabulous italian Shoes Meet Fabulous Italian Shoe (thanks Ann and Ed)
Penn State's Executive Director John Jordan (Center for Digital Transformation)
DEMOfall 2007 Photo Album Uploaded
September 27, 2007
TechCrunch40 or DEMO? Wrong Question!
Countless people have been asking me which conference is better - DEMO or TechCrunch40 (TC40) for product launches. Is TC40 the new DEMO? Frankly, this isn't a fair question and its not really the 'right question.' It's like asking, "is it better to be in the New York Times or Engadget?
Is a viral marketing campaign better than a major blitz on prime time television? Does a mention in a column in USA Today bring more traffic to your site than a handful of really great blog hits over time?
Great PR is and should be an integrated part of an overall marketing strategy collectively agreed upon by the management team early on.
I have seen blog buzz do wonders for 'some' clients and barely move the needle for others. It depends on your audience, where you are in your launch cycle and product roadmap. The same applies to conferences and events.
Ask a start-up whether spending $35K or more to sponsor Web 2.0 last year really accelerated their brand recognition or brought them customers? OR did the PR buzz around an event like AlwaysOn, Supernova, Web 2.0, TC40 or DEMO put them on the map? Results cannot be measured in a vacuum and one-offs very rarely achieve the kind of results a company needs in the early days.
Yet, the question always comes up? Where do we go? What's the best platform to launch? Sure, these are important decisions.
I thought both conferences attracted a dynamic group of people and showed off new innovation on and off-stage. Jason and Mike did a fabulous job in their first year of bringing some heavy hitters into the mix and there were a few products I actually wanted to use. The hallway chatter and energy was also dynamic. Like every event, there were also some that were mere features waiting to be bought or fade into the ether.
DEMO conferences combine the old with the new and yes you pay to play but there is a long established and trusted brand behind the DEMO name, which has been known over time to select a high callibre of companies. Whether this business model adapts over time as a result of the growing-in-popularity un-conference format is hard to say. Perhaps a hybrid model emerges?
This year's DEMOfall delivered an interesting mish-mash of venture capitalists, companies and products with names you couldn't pronounce (which of course had no correlation to how cool they were), entrepreneurs, and press. There are always old industry illuminaries in the mix of new young talent who are bringing innovative solutions to market.
Cathy Brooks was running around shooting some video coverage of the 'making of DEMO,' while a handful of other camera crews (Canadian TV, San Diego 10 News, an ABC affiliate and others for online coverage (CNET's Rafe Needleman and Larry Magid's CBS radio/blog), ploughed through the hallways interviewing people and shooting gadgets, toys and video solutions.
Enterprise and infrastructure plays always take a back seat at events like this even if they are solving important problems.
There seemed to be more 'traditional' media at DEMOfall than there were at TC40, which was packed with bloggers, uploading text, podcasts and video to various sites, as well as some international press eager to hear about things early (I sat next to The Guardian's new media reporter Jemima Kiss for example).
If you had a strong social media play and are after early adopters, TC40 was most certainly a good venue and the discussion thread around these new ideas and what they could mean for bigger picture trends was insightful.
If you have a slightly later stage product and are trying to reach broader more mainstream consumers, DEMO conferences really cater to that. (Glam was back on the DEMO stage for the third time this year)
Both are great launchpads depending on what you are trying to achieve and who you want to listen. And remember, like a group of high profile founders said on the TC40 stage this month, we're in the products business. Like Steve Jobs so often reminds us, delivering great products that make life easier and more fun on a consistent basis, win.
At the end of the day, whether you achieved buzz through TC40 (Mint did well here) or DEMOfall (where the virtual, gamers, gadgets and a slot machine thrived), the real long term success from all of these companies will be whether they in fact have an audience and choose the right one. Then, and only then, can they effectively deliver a great service and experience time and time again?
Check out ValleyWag's recap via TechDirt suggesting when you have to pay, you TRY much harder and take the opportunity much more seriously. You also may have some cash in the bank, whether its angel or otherwise -- perhaps there's a stronger possibility that you're providing a real value-add rather than a feature waiting to be sold?
Weaver & Rankine Show Off Amazing UIs
Yes, more client plugs and play. What do you expect on the heals of DEMOfall when both companies were on-stage unveiling their latest and greatest?
Just Hit My 3,000th Blog Post
HITTING 3,000!! A few blog posts ago, while in 'manage' mode, I noticed that I was pretty close to hitting my 3,000th blog post. Today, I hit the magic number, so thought it was worth celebrating. Yahoooo!!! Long live the written word.
Will the Wrong Stephen Baker Please Stand Up?
Another DEMOfall has passed. It was a busy couple of days with on-stage presentations, business and press meetings, dinners and numerous TV camera crews dancing about. BusinessWeek's Stephen Baker stopped by one of my client's booths, or at least that's what his badge said.
I happened to see his press badge before I saw his face, so went to shake his hand and say, "long time no chat" (since I KNOW the Stephen Baker from BusinessWeek who lives in New York). Until I looked up. I did in fact shake his hand but with a confused look on my face. "Hmmmm, you don't look like the Stephen Baker I know," I said.
His reply? "There are two of us at BusinessWeek," and even went so far to say that he knew the other Stephen Baker. Later, I ran over to him at another booth and asked for his business card but to no avail. He said he didn't have any or carry them with him. Not an unusual journalist response to a newly introduced marketing or PR flack.
Yet, something continued to bug me about this and since I didn't see Steve Wildstrom in close vicinity at the time, I emailed the other Stephen Baker to let him know that I ran his "buddy," a buddy Baker confirmed he didn't know. The 'real' Stephen Baker did a blog post about it, with another update more recently.
I heard that the imposter was thrown out of the conference. But the real question is: who is this person and why go to so much trouble and risk for a conference badge?
September 26, 2007
Sway's Partnerships Extend Social Media Marketing Reach
Today, client Sway announced strategic alliances with Odeo, CozmoTV, Pheedo and TubeMogul to signficantly extend global marketers reach using social media and Web 2.0 tools like podcasts, RSS, SMS, widgets, video syndication and email.
Instead of sending people to numerous places, vendors and tools and expect them to know how and where to use these Web 2.0 technologies to get the kind of marketing and branding impact they need, people can now go to Sway's new marketing tool Shoutlet (announced this week at DEMOfall), to handle everything under one roof.
It's powerful. Shoutlet not only creates an online social media marketing campaign, but handles the distribution and tracking as well.
With CozmoTV’s alliance with Shoutlet, users will be able to combine their Shoutlet video files with video clips on external sites to create their own video channels and distribute them as widgets to embed in social networks, blogs or Web sites. Shoutlet then tracks the impact of these channel widgets.
TubeMogul, an online video analytics and distribution company, makes it possible to upload video to multiple leading video-sharing sites simultaneously. By integrating its technology into Shoutlet, users can submit all videos housed in Shoutlet instantly to Google Video, Metacafe, MySpace, Revver, Yahoo!, AOL Uncut Video and YouTube, as well as track views, pass-along data and other information across all of these sites. Sway's agreement with leading podcast website and directory Odeo, allows users to register podcasts created in Shoutlet to www.odeo.com, increasing each podcast’s exposure in the online space instantly and effortlessly.
Pheedo, the premier RSS advertising and content distribution company, has also signed on to integrate its RSS feed ad serving engine with Shoutlet. This partnership will allow users to select criteria related to their (age, demographics, geographic locations, etc.) and distribute RSS feed advertisements through the Pheedo network. This is another simple, yet effective method of creating brand engagement online.
Sway’s network of niche social communities, which include a variety of subject areas such as auto racing, fitness and travel, help marketers using Shoutlet more efficiently develop global campaigns to advertise and promote their products and services online.
Enterprise 2.0 Mashups
Check out Enterprise 2.0 Mashups if in Silicon Valley this week. Open Enterprise 2.0 Mashups expanding customer value networks is a one day event, this Friday, September 28, 2007.
Shoutlet Marketing Web 2.0 Tool for Advertisers, Marketers & PR Gurus
Client Sway, Inc. will present on the DEMOfall stage in San Diego this afternoon. Their new Shoutlet platform is essentially an innovative Web 2.0 tool for advertising, marketing and PR professionals.
Shoutlet combines popular technologies such as Web 2.0 email, podcasts, RSS, SMS into one place where professionals can organize all of their marketing initiatives.
In a world without Shoutlet, marketers need to use multiple programs and online services to execute complex campaigns that include strategies such as video distribution, online advertising, electronic newsletters and text messaging. Shoutlet can centralize all of these functions, handle distribution and provide detailed tracking with real-time reporting.
September 25, 2007
Facebook Apps: How many is too many?
Ah yes, listening to young innovators and hearing their ideas. On the DEMOfall stage, Chris Shipley is joined by 24 year old Michael Callahan, 22 year old Emile Petrone, and 25 year old Arash Sabet. I had to chuckle after listening to one of them beg the audience NOT to overdo it on third-party Facebook apps.
Hmmm, are they not the original Facebook users? The bulk of the Facebook audience? The early adopters (all my geek friends) disagree but do consumers? His point: When there are so many apps scattered all over the screen, it makes it harder to find people's primary information.
So that begs the question, what do people primaily use Facebook for today and how do people want to use it in the future? A page or series of pages cluttered with virtual toys to play with?
I have two clients who have recently build their own Facebook apps, both of which are being added by users. (Spock and Retrevo, interestingly enough both vertical market search engines) And do these widgets and apps drive traffic back to their sites? You betcha. If its interesting, people want to learn more.
BUT, how far will people take Facebook apps? At what point, will there be too much to choose from? At what point does is it less of a social network and more of virtual Web 2.0 trade show full of add-ons that take us deeper and deeper into an online only world?
I'm sure my Facebook profile page is more cluttered than most, yet I'm careful about what I add, meaning I ask myself - will I refer to it often? will I use it? So I decided to check to see just how much I've added in my less than two month trial with Facebook to-date.
The horoscope add-on one isn't particularly useful, nor do I check it regularly. The 'places I've been in the world' map was incredibly addictive when I first added it, yet I don't check that one often either.
I do wonder which travel or services company will be able to zap that data and start selling me something inside my now advertising-free Facebook world, at which it no longer becomes a quiet online haven. Yet, I got sucked into both of them.
What's interesting about my Facebook horoscope read today is that Money is through the roof, at 99% and innovation and creativity is at an all time low. (normally my highest percentage). Are they saying that the less innovative and creative I am, the more money will flow into my life and vice versa?
|Sagittarius Horoscope for September 25 2007|
| It's a day full of luck and charm and you are likely to be lax or extravagant with your money. Material benefits probable at this time, but beware of being overly generous. Emotional well-being and contentment characterize this time period. You feel quite relaxed and carefree. |
Power Numbers: 9, 16, 21, 26, 42, 13
Born Today: William Faulkner, Red Smith, Robert Bresson, Shel Silverstein, Barbara Walters, Cheryl Tiegs, Christopher Reeve, Heather Locklear, Will Smith, Catherine Zeta Jones