Sunday, August 17, 2008

Post New Media Expo thoughts

I've just returned from the 4th annual "Podcast Expo", though it's official title is the New Media Expo. It's changed names each and every year including this one. But to many of us, it's still and always will be the Podcast Expo. It's not so much that we're traditionalists, it's that we're easily confused.

This was the fourth year I was an attendee, but the first time I wasn't speaking at the event. It was also the first time the show was in Vegas. The running question "So... what do you think of the Expo this year?" Guess at least some of you value my opinion. ;)

Let me start by saying that I am not the target audience for an NME attendee. Now you may think that sounds strange, but it's true. Tim and Emil have made it quite clear that their conference is geared towards the business side of podcasting. They've said that for years now, but it seemed really true at this event. And that's OK. It's not like they pulled any sort of bait-and-switch here. It was all above board.

So for the record: I had a great time at the Expo. Saw lots of old friends, met plenty of new ones, generally got to hang with my peeps and freak out Jonathan Coulton (see image). So for that, the sole reason I went there, I'd call the show a success.

But things were different. First of all, there were some noticeable high-profile folks missing from the show. Off the top of my head, here's who didn't show:


There's lots of speculation as to why those (and others) were missing. The economy, location and the focus on "business" were all cited. I bet it's a combo of those and others, and likely not one thing. But what I do know is that the vibe was different, most of all in the community-feel. Don't get me wrong, I was able to connect with my community with relative ease. But still, it wasn't as strong as in years past.

The thing I missed the most? The parties. Neither Libsyn or Blubrry had parties this year. I heard a rumor that the cost was nearing $10K for a party, so I can't blame either if that was the case. But the after-hours and non-sanctioned events were always great places to bond, see people and be seen. We didn't have that this time. Sure there were a few things scheduled, but by all reports they just weren't the same.

So will I go back? Probably. As I said before, I had a great time. And hopefully more folks (vendors and attendees) will show up next year to make it even better. In the meantime, I look forward to connecting more with folks at Dragon*Con in less than 2 weeks, and Podcamp AZ in November. For those that can't make either, I highly suggest finding a Podcamp in your area. Don't have one? Make one. That seems to be the place where the community can flourish.

Here's some "live" fun from the Expo floor:


Images from Elsie & Sheila Dee

6 comments:

  1. I agree. I am not the target attendee anymore. Since we retired the FIT show In The Trenches it is hard to feel the old burn. A good community atmosphere and if the talks included sessions on the craft itself I would be tempted to show up. But know it's all business is a turn off. Add what I saw on twitter seemed more communal vacation than expo. So why invest? My money would be better spent next year seeing my podcasting friends like you and Sigler at Dragoncon next year. This year I committed my spare money on the big nerd ranch osx cocoa programming bootcamp. Something new I can learn. The expo hasn't had anything to teach me in technical production in over two years.

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  2. Cost, business focus, too many distractions in Vegas, a general dislike of Vegas were all factors for me. I think the only thing I remember regretting over the week is missing the Dr. Floyd show, but I can see htem live locally, so it was only a small loss.

    Also, I realized as I moved forward with podcasting, the folks who would attend expo don't need me and my skills. It is the local folks who may have heard of podcasting, YouTube, etc, but have no idea how to use it, that really need me. I am focusing on that group both locally, nationally and internationally with New Media Interchange.

    Another focus for me are the smaller PodCamps and such where I feel I can have a dramatic impact with people and "open the door" to new media.

    Douglas

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  3. I'm a traditionalist AND I get easily confused!

    Glad you had fun experiencing the Expo differently than the past, and thanks for writing your thoughts. No big travel plans next year, so I am all ready making plans for next years Expo! I missed everyone this weekend.

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  4. 2010 will be the year I get a divorce because in 2009 I am going to every fraking conference and convention I want to. So pissed I didn't go to this one.

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  5. Well I was really glad to go and meet up with friends like you Evo. I saw many others from previous years but I did not see many that I wanted to see as well. I felt the venue diluted the experience and that like you, I'm clearly not the intended audience anymore.

    It felt like having a Bible study at the Taj Mahal. I was very glad that I was there on vacation with my wife first and as an Expo attendee second. I also felt the first day speaker was weak and I felt like I was being pitched a timeshare. Yes I did give this feedback to him directly.

    Overall I guess I would say I had a "good time" not a great time.

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