This last Thursday and Friday I attended and participated in the Euroblog 2008 event in Brussels organized by Euprera – the European PR Education and Research Association. The symposium was very much an academic event with a lot of academic speakers and attendees, and less practioners (at least that’s how I experienced it).
That wasn’t a surprise though, as the event was clearly set up to try and have the academia embrace the need to change. Still, sometimes, I felt like I didn’t belong there. Now I don’t mean anything bad with this, there’s just a very clear gap between the way we all approach things. It made me think of trying/testing out the water in a swimming tool. If you’re a practioner like myself you will get ready for the pool, put your toe in to get an idea of the temperature, probably feel like it’s colder than you would have wanted it to be but you’ll get in the water anyway and start swimming. You’ll talk to other people in the pool, maybe about the water, or maybe about that new glide which you then try out as well. This is the way me (and other people) started their blog, signed up for Twitter, Friendfeed, etc etc. After the presentations from the academia, it became clear that they approach ‘the pool’ in a different way. They talk to people outside and next to the pool about the temperature of the water, use a whole bunch of metric equipment to test the water conditions, relate all that info to ideal human body conditions, etc etc (this still fully dressed of course) to work out a project trajectory to get into the water at some point in time.
And I know this analogy is a bit black&white, but I think you get my point. On Friday I sat on a panel myself that was a mixture between academia and practitioners and there the difference was less visible (on the panel itself). The discussion itself with the panel and audience was pretty interesting to me as well. It highlighted once more some of the fears but also strengthened the idea that there aren’t enough case studies to go by. At one point I feel this is just another ‘reason’ to keep away of change as long as one can. But as you (might) know from an earlier post I do feel we have to reach out more to get more people embrace the need to change so maybe we should just see what we can do about it – there really is more than just Kryptonite you know ;)
Don’t get me wrong, I did like the event. Some discussions where pretty interesting, some presentations like the one’s of David Jennings and Martin Oetting where very enjoyable and it was very good meeting up with the Edelman Digital crew: Steve Rubel, Marshall Manson, Rick Murray, … but also David Weinberger or Neville Hobson, the latter whom I met in person for the first time after being in several online conversations before.
The key session of day 2 at MIX was without a doubt the Q&A between Guy Kawasaki and Steve Ballmer. You’ll have to watch it and see for yourself what you think of this, but I found it a quite unique experience (and I think many did with me). Can you think of any other CEO of a company such as Microsoft to do a keynote this way?
During the rest of the day, before and after the keynote, I focused mainly on sessions that talked about web2.0, social networking and mobile. Here are some videos worth watching of these sessions:
Sessions I missed but are worth checking out as well on video are:
There are a ton of sessions I still have to go through, all of them are up on http://sessions.visitmix.com/ for your viewing as well (requires Silverlight plugin).
That evening we joined the European MIX08 guests at the European party in Club 40/40 together with David Armano and his wife. The party was good fun and some magic but no pictures to share from this one… what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas I guess ;)
There’s always one difficult part about going to conferences and blogging and that is that you hear so many interesting things you want to talk about, but no time to do so because you’re paying attention. I do have some time right now though before going to the official MIX party at TAO in about an hour or so I thought I’d share some first thoughts on the conference.
Together with most of the European invites of Microsoft to MIX, we arrived in Vegas on Monday night as we had a pre-conference scheduled in on Tuesday, the day before the official start of MIX. The pre-conference is a unique opportunity to get up close with some people that will present at MIX later as well but given we’re with about 200 people it makes it more accessible to get into a conversation. In the afternoon we had the choice between some activities, for which we chose to go for the “High Rollers” – a training basically on gambling, to get you started ;) This training took place in the Stratosphere Tower, a nice enough opportunity to take some pictures and stitch them all together in this panorama.
Today MIX officially started. We had the keynote in the morning with Ray Ozzie and Scott Guthrie which got covered pretty good live by Duncan Riley at Techrunch. I’d say check out their post to get an idea of the keynote, or watch the video. There’s one thing that struck me the most and that was the Hard Rock Memorabilia demo, using the Seadragon technology within Silverlight. You can see it right here, make sure you check it out. Really cool, trust me.
After the keynote (and the following lunch) I went out to see Lou Carbone again. I saw him at MIX07 already and found it a fascinating speech, reason enough to go see him again. Unfortunately, his MIX08 speech was the same as last year. Still very good, but been there done that. Too late to go anywhere else so and my next session was in the same room anyway. Next up, David Armano with the Fuzzy Tail. David and I have been in touch occasionally through the AoC and on Twitter but here in Vegas we finally met in person which was good. The Fuzzy Tail wasn’t new to me as I followed the development of the presentation on his blog a couple of months ago, still good to see it presented by the man himself.
Other than that we saw some cool stuff related to the new IE8, we had again some demo on the Surface – always fascinating – and finally we joined the other MIX attendees for the official MIX party in TAO.
More images from MIX can be found on my Flickr account, and for more news and videos you should check out the MIX website.
The last video for LeWeb3 have been uploaded and so they’re now all available for your viewing. I’ve already written up a little report of my experience at LeWeb3, here are my highlights in video:
I’m pretty sure Janus Friis, Joi Ito and June Cohen’s talks were interesting as well but I missed them at the conference so I’ll have to catch up on those myself first. These videos and others are obviously also available here.