I’m currently running on a empty tank. Left the conference yesterday at 3pm local time (1pm WST) and got home at 2am WST. That’s a serious commute, then was up again at 5am. Suffice to say though it did give me some time to think about the conference as a whole. One note I would make that at least in the consumer stream (I didn’t attend the enterprise sessions, you had the choice of one or the other) the speakers on Day 3 where a whole pile better on average than the two days before, mainly because they spoke about their marketplaces, regulatory issues, conceptual issues in relation to their businesses, as opposed to just trying to sell me stuff…which was a relief.
But general thoughts in dot point:
The standards of corporate management amongst Australian companies and local arms of international firms is all over the place. Sure not everyone is, nor can be a good public speaker, but what I did notice that there were speakers that got the concept of engaging an audience…and then there were those who were just there to plug their own products. What was perhaps surprising is that the type of business, in terms of size, wasn’t a determining factor in relation to the quality of the speaker/ representative of that company. As an observe it appears to be nearly random, although I’m sure if you analysed this further there may have been a statistical reason for this (for example, and only guessing, education, experience, background, even corporate location within Australia).
The same goes for the understanding of concepts relating to Web 2.0, the more people I spoke to or listened to, the more it seemed nearly random. It would be easy to say for example that younger people get Web 2.0 more that those of the baby boomer generation, and yet this didn’t hold true. As I’ve noted previously though, the level of awareness of Web 2.0 and concepts such as engaging and being part of the conversation were foreign to a majority of the participants, and yet I know that a similar cross section of American IT firms and journalists for example would yield a totally different result. The Web 2.0 message isn’t getting through in Australia. I suppose the question then becomes is this the fault of Web 2.0 advocates within Australia (or perhaps more sadly, the lack there of), or is it more the generalised case that Australia is years behind in the IT game?
Australia may not be producing enough quality candidates in Tech related fields to fill available positions. I can only conclude that due to the number of American accents I heard at the conference. Sure, it was primarily from multinational firms, but statistically given there isn’t a massive number of American’s living in Australia, they do seem to be over represented at the higher levels of management
I discovered that there is VC capital in Australia, and a fair bit of it at that, although it probably doesn’t know much about Web 2.0 as yet.
I’ll probably think of some more things as I recharge my batteries in the week ahead. Generally speaking, I think the conference was a major success as a networking event, but I’m probably only half convinced in terms of the various panels and sessions themselves. I don’t tend to get to a lot of conferences, but people I know who do often tell me that most people attend not for the sessions but for the networking, and if this was why most people attended then it gets a bloody great big tick of approval. Would I go again if I was invited? I’d say yes, although I’d get Phil to boost up the Web 2.0 session :-).