Some impressions from "Internet World"... I attended the exhibition only,
but did have some meetings with folks, both planned and unplanned.
Size. A big expo, but a large percentage of the floor space was taken up
by major vendors on steroids. I heard from many, many folks before going
that IW would be vast, but there wasn't an enormous amount of "there"
there. I'll admit to being a bit physically disoriented in the larger,
upper exhibition area... one ends up using the upper reaches of the
multi-story exhibitors as reference points... "there, see, between Mount
PSI and the Towers of HP."
Target Audience. Far too much marketing oriented at people who must not
have heard of this Internet thingie before walking in off the street. All
of the ISPs (and there were a lot of them) were, to hear them talking
"YOUR ONLY CLEAR CHOICE! YOUR PREMIUM INTERNET PROVIDER!" Are there any
providers who *aren't* "premium?" Bland bland bland marketing
presentations. The singular exception I saw was for Live Picture
(http://www.livepicture.com), which included a walk-through demonstration
of creating navigable scenes from stills, including animation,
transitions, etc. The guy who gave the demo seemed to be one of those
rare beasts, an engineer with people skills.
Chotchkies. T-shirts, t-shirts, t-shirts! Lots of companies giving out
t-shirts in exchange for capturing your identity. One of the companies
had a Mick Jagger look-alike; they had the longest lines for Rolling
Stones shirts. Second longest line was for Dilbert squeeze toys. Free
Netscape Navigator 4.0, and lots of other CD-ROMs. The usual collection
of pens, globes, yo-yos, and such. Minimal food... FireFly had coffee,
Rockwell had cinnamon-roasted cashews, somebody was serving margaritas IFF
you sat through their presentation, so I took a pass.
Connectivity. IBM had set up a couple of dozen X terminals for Net
access, only half of which seemed to be working right at any one time.
But since anyone who had a terminal set up for Net access (Novell had
dozens) also seemed to have enabled the Telnet client, access to my E-mail
Weirdness. Topping my own list was the Compaq "Riverdance" kickline...
7-8 black-clad clogging dancers. A close second was the singing quartet
touting the merits of Lotus Domino. A number of the companies had
costumed characters... the QualComm "Mr. Eudora" evoked memories from
childhood (those scary ones about ghastly things under the bed), and
another company had Cat in the Hat hats on everyone. A guy from IBM was
giving any vendor who'd accept one an IBM ad in the form of a Beanie Baby
Penguin with a little placard, and a lot of the exhibits had one.
Sound. Loud, loud, loud! Some of the exhibitors had apparently
registered complaints against others; I had to retreat to the far side of
a booth with one of the market people to hear his pitch.
Content. A lot more tool and general connectivity vendors than content &
service providers, e.g., several ad management tool vendors, but none of
the major advertising brokers. Most of the major ISPs.
Fun stuff. I spent some time talking with Brewster Kahle, who created
WAIS (and sold it to AOL), and who was showing off Alexa, his new service
that does some fascinating stuff in compiling associations across the Web
(http://www.alexa.com). Alexa bears checking out, just to stretch the
mind as to how one might generate and manage metadata atop the Web, and
what people do on it. Those with ad brokering services (or dreams of)
might look into it... Brewster says they're running some ads on it
now--the thing is intended to derive its revenue from advertising, but
Brewster is wealthy enough from his last company not to worry too much
just yet--but he said they weren't working with a provider.
Niche for Entrepreneurs. Xerography! If you'd zapped off a couple
hundred copies of the get-in-free pass that was in the NYT and on the Web,
you could have made $10-15 apiece off a surprising number of clueless
I'd be interested in hearing from folks who attended conference sessions.
A few friends I ran into on the exhibit floor had attended conference
sessions, but none seemed to have been bowled over.
Ross Stapleton-Gray TeleDiplomacy, Inc.
firstname.lastname@example.org 2503 Columbia Pike, Suite 118
Director, Electronic Embassy Program Arlington VA 22204
http://www.embassy.org +1 703 685-5197 / 5257 fax