Blogworld And New Media Expo Report

Update #1: As per request at the “Profitable Podcaster” breakfast Meetup we had a Blogworld and New Media Expo, we have launched a Profitable Podcasting Page at Facebook. Link – http://www.facebook.com/profitablepodcasting

Update #2: Just got off phone with Rick, he loved my ideas and I’ll certainly be (a bigger) part of this next year. I recommend you be part of it as well.

I write this at the Las Vegas Airport with really bad coffee but some very good (free wifi). I figured I’d dash out of my thoughts on the event before I get on the plane.

  • I’m coming back next year. Rick Calvert brought a ton of people together that I really need to see, shake hands with, hug, make deals with and more. It may not have been the complete list – but it was a heck of a lot more complete than any other option out there. I’ll be back. In what capacity? Keep reading.
  • “Missing Ontario” is silly. I heard from a few Podcasters that they “missed” the Ontario days. That’s somewhat as smart as missing the days of the 2400 baud modem (ask your parents). We need to continue to grow as an industry and you do that by having your industry expos in towns that host industry expos.
  • The companies who didn’t attend are doing far more damage than their Vegas bill could ever rack up. If we are going to become an “industry” we need to act like an “industry” – that means we show up to our events, buy booths, court new customers, appreciate the old ones, raise expectations and standards, etc. “Not knowing if it is worth it” is a weak response. Lead us with a strong one. Mad props to Leo Laporte committing to bring his entire staff to next year’s event. We will hold you to it. To the companies who hosted parties, we’ll get you the press you deserve to believing in this. I challenge Jim Louderback of Revision3 and even Adam Curry of Mevio to do the same. Wizzard – where were you? Microsoft, Apple, etc., wake up.
  • We need to expand the term “monetization.” I realized in the middle of day 2 that for some the term “monetization” means seeing the first elusive dollar for their efforts while for others it means breaking 7 and 8 digit barriers. When I shared news of a Podcast generating more than a thousand dollars a day (that was actually willing to speak it’s name and show proof), I saw half the room with an excited look in their eyes of what was possible while I saw others staring with a blank look that screamed “so, should I do those Adsense things from the Google?” Maybe next year we have a “Monetization” track and then a “Real Money” track? Thoughts?
  • We’re grownups – and we need to act like it. I want this to be constructive, but the closing keynote was insulting and damaging. The pride where by which the participants spewed constant and consistent profanities and potty level sex jokes made us look like a bunch of silly middle schoolers with a tiny bit of freedom but no understanding of how the real world works. There is more to new media than being able to swear. I have no problem with profanity and abhor censorship but when you go to NC-17 levels of “humor” just because you can, it doesn’t convince anyone to take you seriously. Even Vegas knows how to label adult stuff. Nuff said, and I’m sure I’ll get some “sh*t” for this one.
  • We need focus. This is an extension of the thoughts above but goes in the other direction as well. Like we need to expand the concept of monetization to include “real” versus “beer” money we need to move from the fan and hobbyist club mentality to working together to build this industry. I understand how complicated it is to even hope that thousands of people attending your even will do anything, but I think we can kick it up a notch here. This is a much a comment for the vendors, presenters and attendees as it is a comment for the event as a whole.
  • My offer to Rick. Rick, we have the makings here of something pretty fabulous and special. I’d love to help next year in any way I can. I’ve got a an idea a bit too complex to share in this blog (plus the flight is about to board) that I’d like to run that by you as well. I think I “get” what you’re trying to do here and my concept will (I think at least) further your solid agenda. I hope we can chat once you catch up on your sleep.

I would really appreciate your thoughts on this one. Please leave them below.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • newmediajoe

    The thing to remember here, all, is that all of us involved in The Blogworld Closing Keynote Show were just trying to stage an event that would be informative while, at the same time, entertaining and memorable! I think we accomplished that.

    The show's “guests” were selected because of their success in new media and blogging, and it was our hope that their interactions with Guy, their stories and their humor would offer up a nice insight overall. Again we weren't so much concerned with how “appropriate” they would be, but more with how entertaining and captivating they would be.

    In hindsight, perhaps we should have “prepped” the guests, and Guy, a bit more, by conducting “pre-interviews” with them so we could offer up more material for Guy to run with. But we chose, rather, to put together this event, in some degree, like other “new media” content, and just put it out there and let it fly as it did.

    I think I am speaking for everyone involved in saying that we were pleased, that the audience liked the show, and that this format was a “breath of fresh air” in a world of keynote addresses that tend to be just a tad TOO serious!

    If we offended a few in the process, that's just the way it goes. But then, once again, isn't THAT what new media is all about?

    It was just a closing keynote, people, not a presidential State Of The Union address! This event was not intended to change the world, but, rather, to just leave the attendees feeling good about their three days at Blogworld!

  • newmediajoe

    Nathan I hear what you are saying about the parties. Being a “Hollywood Producer” for decades I most definitely have attended more than my share of wild parties. Frankly, Nathan, I have never been a “party animal” myself and didn't enjoy all of the madness as much as many of my peers did back in “the day.”

    But, let's face it and be real here. As I commented before, parties are simply a staple for industries involved in media of all kinds, and an established tradition for trade shows, especially those staged in Sin City! Even the fairly “straight-laced” Todd Cochrane has become known for his parties, dating back to the very first Portable Media Expo in 2005!

    BTW, I attended one of those “private dinners” you mentioned on Friday night and must admit I enjoyed it far more than the wild parties at the different hotel clubs, for what it's worth.

    Still, the parties I did attend were jammed full of people that seemed to be having a great time (and, for that matter, a better time than I was having). In fact, one of the comments I overheard about the big bash at The Bank on Thursday night was that it was like “being at a hot Vegas club with everyone you like!”

    I think we can all agree that it's all about balance. Too much partying….not such a good thing. Too much business and not enough fun…..not very cool either!

    The simple truth is……If you have a trade show or conference in Las Vegas, there's gonna' be a whole lotta' partying going on! I can't remember a single industry event that I've attended in Vegas in the last 30 years that didn't include a serious amount of revelry!

    Finally, about the Blogworld Closing Keynote Show, I stand by my earlier comments that the concept of staging a light-hearted and entertaining event to close the conference was right on the money! (The CES even had a “Jeopardy” show with Alex Trebeck!) Changing it up and adding variety is always a good thing.

    I hope we do it again next year, and do it even better! And if there are less parties and more intimate soirees, that would suit me just fine also. But don't count on it!

  • http://www.facebook.com/kirsten.erlenbruch Kirsten Erlenbruch

    Hi Paul,

    I have attended BlogWorld Expo for the very first time this year and I am absolutely thrilled. I've attended your workshop as well and have enjoyed it tremendously – a lot of fun and so much really useful information all in one hour – awesome. Thanks a lot.
    I agree to most of your points whereas as a European (from Germany) I wasn't that offended by the closing keynote. I found it amusing and even if it wasn't that informative it was a fun way to end a great convention. A little fun doesn't do any harm in my eyes and does not make the whole event unprofessional.
    I have seen workshops though of which I had expected more (information and professionality). Anyhow, if I can make it I will be there again.
    Cheers
    Kirsten

    P.S. Just started reading you Podcasting book – very interesting and a good read.

  • http://twitter.com/colligan Paul Colligan

    Bingo Nathan!

    And when your audience walks out wondering “what just happened?” and “did they mean it to go that way?” you lose the impact that a show like Blogworld deserves.

    It looked like a bunch of kids who just learned how to swear.

  • http://twitter.com/colligan Paul Colligan

    No, actually, new media isn't about offending people in the process. It's much bigger than that.

  • http://twitter.com/colligan Paul Colligan

    Rob,

    Good point. And I'll be pondering this for awhile but, what I was going for here was more of a “don't wait for someone else to make it perfect” kinda angle here.

    I feel like the attitude of some of the industry types weren't participating because things weren't perfect, or had the chance of not being perfect. As we can see by Rick and his team, the industry needs to “step up” to make it perfect – and I'm hoping we do just that.

    I'm sorry, but I don't understand your final comment in the 2nd paragraph. Are you saying some will be “telling their bosses” that their in Vegas for the event but will just be enjoying a Vegas vacation? Or something else.

    This event will only get better if we as an industry make it better. Rick and the team are doing their part, we need to do our as well.

    Paul

  • http://twitter.com/colligan Paul Colligan

    Kirsten,

    Thanks for the kind words on my session. Had a great time doing it.

    Again, I wasn't offended by the closing. I simply didn't think it made anyone “look good” in the end. I want this show at 10x the size in the next couple of years and think a little more thought and labeling in how we send everyone home would be a really good idea.

    Paul

  • http://robblatt.com Rob Blatt

    I'm talking about individuals and producers who felt that it wasn't necessary to attend the show but will still be coming to Vegas to do business. These were mostly independents, but I heard it from many people.

  • http://twitter.com/colligan Paul Colligan

    Gotcha, so we're talking the “they're gonna be there anyway, so I'll fly out” crowd? Makes sense. Bad strategic move I think, but it makes sense. Tell me (and Rick) this, what do you think it would take (change wise) in the event for them to buy a ticket and start attending again?

    Paul

  • http://www.blogworldexpo.com/ dave_blogworldexpo

    **Copied over from an email exchange between me and Paul today; he invited me to share this online to add to the discussion.**

    Very thoughtful post, Paul, thank you for your great efforts this year and looking forward to the next.

    Quick aside, Wizzard may not've had a physical presence, which I hope they do next year, but Rob Walch was instrumental in the planning of the audio/video/podcasting tracks this year.

    The idea behind the closing keynote talk show was definitely to present a more entertainment-oriented format. A departure from the educational sessions, more creative, and giving online content creators (who aren’t first-to-mind in the inner circle of the new media regulars) an opportunity to share their experiences and expression. All types of online content are welcome at this event, and entertainment media individuals are very important to welcome to the table.

    (Dirty language aside, but this was an extreme case. there isn’t another Jenny just as there wasn’t another Richard Pryor—brilliant, biting, definitely pushing the edge but funny beyond compare if you can look through syntax and see the actual innovative storytelling.)

    I think sometimes it’s easy to get caught up in the process of creating, distributing and monetizing content—and possibly lose touch with the uniquely creative, entertaining and colorful aspects of the content itself. The talk show was our experiment in such a creative, entertaining approach; it didn’t necessarily go exactly as we’d planned BUT it did open the door to a creative format, which we plan to perpetuate. It was a risk, and we take a lot of them. We have to experiment every year.

    I have no doubt that some people who had no previous exposure to Jenny were taken aback. We assumed that those who heard she’d be appearing knew what to expect (we even had video clips of her on our video widget on the home page)—but we weren’t anticipating that we’d need to forewarn attendees of her comedic style. In retrospect, it would’ve been a good idea. Nonetheless, I’d stand behind anyone who is creative, successful, brave and willing to share with others at this event. Next time we feature someone who has a tendency toward adult content, we’ll definitely post a message sharing that so there are less surprises.

    Some people may’ve walked away from that show thinking “wow, that wasn’t what I was expecting”, and to a certain extent, that’s a great thing too. We don’t want to emulate other events. It’s not shocking content for the sake of it at all, more that we’d like to give exposure between personalities and the event attendees which is uncommon and breaks new ground—that’s how different microcosms come together and help the industry grow together after all…and that’s what we all need to facilitate.

    It was very interesting to see, for example, Guy and the Chad Vader guys meet each other. Both were completely unfamiliar with each other, and their audiences in large part had no previous exposure to the other. Now a bridge has been provided to a new audience for both, and additional knowledge exchange about how the different approaches to content creation, monetization, new media business is addressed. This is also a great thing.

    Anyhow, I hadn’t been in contact with you since our phonecall months ago, and wanted to reach out personally to share thoughts.

    Thank you again, and best to you and yours for a nice holiday season. :)

    Dave

    _______

    Paul replied:

    “Like I said on my Blog, I have no problem with “dirty words” and have a big problem with censorship. It wasn't the the Bloggess (and she is hillarious) was blue, it was that the general public walking in off the street to the closing event at an important expo might think four letter words was the norm and the best we have to offer.

    I believe neither is true. I believe we have a lot more to offer than that. Your show proved that.

    Had the event been labeled as “R-Rated” (actually, I think this would have been NC-17 had it been a concert film but I digress) or “Vegas Style” or anything like that, I'd been thrilled. But when you subject Mommybloggers to fisting jokes without a warning, I have to question the market to message match. Without you putting a wrapper around it, it looks like a bunch of middle schoolers who just discovered George Carlin and think the swearwords are what make him great. Put a wrapper around it and it begins to make a little sense.

    And market to message mismatches are as dangerous to the “creatives” as they are to the evil “monetizers.”

    The simply statement of the 'we meant to do this' doesn't change the impact – it just changes the source of the problem. It still came off as bad match. Fix the wrapper and we're all better for it.”

    _______

    Paul, that's a fair position to take. This was a new approach to a keynote, and if there is any expectation for adult content in the future, we'll label the session accordingly to avoid mismatch of expectations.

    This is what happens when one breaks new ground, watches, listens and measures…you carry forward some important items learned to the next instance, with the objective of growth and improvement a constant. I think we're all on the same paragraph of the same page.

    Best,
    D

  • http://twitter.com/colligan Paul Colligan

    Awesome. Thanks for posting this Dave.

    And again, this Blog post and responses come from the simple fact that I loved the event and want to play a part in making it even better next year. Nothing but hats off to you and the team for making this happen.

    Paul

  • http://www.blogworldexpo.com/ dave_blogworldexpo

    Thank you Paul and everyone sharing your thoughts.

    All this input is great brain candy, and we're already thinking about next year. :)

  • newmediajoe

    Bravo Dave. Brain candy it is!

    Let's just all keep an open mind about the Closing Keynote Show and use the experience of this year to make next year's event bigger and better! I think the concept was great and bears repeating!

    I agree with Paul about the packaging or “wrapping” of the event. Actually, as early as Chris Brogan's keynote (where I was the “announcer” introducing Chris) I mentioned to those attending that we are planning something very special and unique for the closing keynote. I also tweeted about it in advance as well.

    We discussed the topic of how to “promote” the Closing Keynote Show in the days leading up to it, but, because we were breaking ground here and really even weren't sure ourselves about the show would play out, we thought it best to not do a big hype. In hindsight, maybe we should have, so that people attending had a better idea of what to expect.

    I also agree that some sort of warning about “adult” or “explicit” content would have been appropriate. But, once again here, we really didn't have a firm idea of what kind of “content: the guests would be offering up. As written in a prior comment, a bit more preparation and “pre-interviews” with the guests could have helped in this regard. The decision to turn the closing keynote into The Closing Keynote Show was made just a couple weeks before Blogworld and I think that the show really turned out to be something unexpected and refreshing.

    The best thing is that the Closing Keynote Show DID have an impact and DID precipitate interest and productive dialogue. Yes, maybe some walked out “scratching their heads” but, from what I saw, few, if any, walked out until the show was over!

    I hope Rick and Dave decide to stick with this format the finale of next year's event, as we can take the lessons learned from this year and use what we learned to put together a totally kick-ass finale for the 2010 BWE! Until then, BLOG ON!

  • newmediajoe

    Wow, Paul, talk about taking a comment “out of context!” Are you sure you don't moonlight for FOX news??

    Of course I didn't mean to say that new media is all about offending people. You have to take that one sentence and interpret it in context with the previous two paragraphs. New media is VERY much about just putting out content and then “letting if fly” without anywhere near as much pre-production planning and prepping as traditional media employs.

    So, when a content creator more or less “throws stuff out there” into cyperspace, the Twitterverse, Facebookville or wherever, there's going to be that chance that a few will be offended in the process.

    Still, thanks for the crash course in new media.

  • http://twitter.com/DaveJackson David Jackson

    I am so bummed I missed this (I had NUMEROUS emergencies pop up). Thanks to Tim for filling my spot. For me I attend the expos (I made the first two) to learn and network. If these parties were as loud as it sounds (this blog post is all I have in terms of “facts”) then that would've been a pain. Not surprised that Todd through the best party. As for the Howard Stern remark. You pay for Howard, and know what you're getting when you sign up. Thumbs up to Paul for asking for a higher standard. If it were me I would appreciate a “Go out and get em” kind of wrap up with attendance numbers, possibly a “best in show” award(s) etc to wrap the whole thing up in a pretty bow, and announce when next years Expo will be.

  • newmediajoe

    Thanks for the comment Dave. I was at Todd's party, and it was very nice. It was just a different kind of party, in a much smaller venue than the other “big time” sponsored parties were. Nothing wrong with a more intimate party, to be sure.

    BTW, I have attended nearly all of Todd's parties over the last few years and a few of them have been VERY WILD indeed, and even featured their fair share of “adult activities” going on!

    I think that all of the parties that I attended at Blogworld this year were quite appropriate, and as expected, not unlike any other trade shows or conferences I've attended in Vegas over the last couple of decades.

    That being said, I do find the comments about the parties being too loud and not business-like enough to be a bit bewildering. There was a smattering of smaller, more intimate, events (I attended one with Paul himself) and, even at these, those attending were happy to “cut loose” and enjoy themselves!

    If there are those out there that feel the parties were too loud, or inappropriate, then I think the beefs should be directed at the companies that went to a great deal of expense to sponsor them. Let them know to tone their parties down. But, as I commented before, from what I saw, everyone was having a great time at ALL the parties.

    People attending Blogworld had all day each day to learn, earn and network and I stick to my opinion that there is absolutely nothing wrong with “cutting the rug” after a long day of serious business to just unwind, particularly in Las Vegas!

    Finally, (and hopefully this will be the last comment I post on the Closing Keynote Show), I raised the Howard Stern analogy just to make the point that there is, and has been for so many years, an ever-growing plethora of “adult” material out there. Personally, I am not all that enamored myself with X-rated material, but I must admit that I find it quite entertaining at times.

    It's hard for me to fathom that the bulk of those involved in new media, blogging, podcasting, viral and renegade video production (all of which champion free and uncensored content) would be so prudish as to be so offended by the “adult content” in the show. Again, love her or hate her, Jenny The Bloggess is a very quick-witted woman, to be sure. That being said, I do agree, in hindsight, that a warning about explicit material would have been very appropriate here. (Although, in all fairness, I did tease Jenny's appearance using the adjective “provocative” in front of her moniker!)

    I still feel that the whole concept for the Closing Keynote Show was a valid one. As far as announcing when and where next year's Expo will be (something that I asked about just to make some sort of announcement at the end of the show during the closing credits), there was a valid reason for omitting that information…..the date and venue for next year's Blogworld is yet to be decided!

    Until next year, BLOG ON, you all!

  • http://www.facebook.com/jayvalento Jay Valento

    Paul, I really enjoyed your session at Blog World…it was one of the best ones I attended at the show. And thank you for taking time on a break to answer a few of my questions about video software…I really appreciate it.

    As for vendors, I noticed that the expo was much smaller this year than last year. And, some the of the vendors who appeared as sponsors on the signage were not even present in the exhbit hall. I'm sure eBay and paypal can afford to show up…

  • http://www.facebook.com/jayvalento Jay Valento

    Paul, I really enjoyed your session at Blog World…it was one of the best ones I attended at the show. And thank you for taking time on a break to answer a few of my questions about video software…I really appreciate it.

    As for vendors, I noticed that the expo was much smaller this year than last year. And, some the of the vendors who appeared as sponsors on the signage were not even present in the exhbit hall. I'm sure eBay and paypal can afford to show up…

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