Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Enterprise 2.0 Conference Musings

My company, eTouch SamePage, opted out of exhibiting this year at Enterprise 2.0 Conference San Francisco. I did, however, take to the Moscone Center and check out the event. After a day there attending only the keynotes and walking around the expo hall -- no, I didn't spring for a full conference pass, so I missed the smaller, more targeted discussions -- I can honestly say that I don't regret not exhibiting this year.

That's not to say the event was bad. It wasn't. Good things will always come out of getting industry thought leaders in one place at one time. There were interesting discussions scheduled as breakout sessions and some of the keynotes and panels, particularly the Andrew McAfee-led Booz Allen Hamilton case study, was in-depth for a general panel and offered good insight into corporate thinking.

But in walking the expo floor and milling about in the hall, I didn't feel any great energy or excitement. The expo floor, even combined with VoiceCon, was small without any tremendous standouts. Clearly, that's dictated primarily by the current economic climate - vendors just don't have the extra cash these days to exhibit. Or, if they do exhibit, it's pretty barebones. What I'm talking about is just excitement, a buzz in the air that you often feel at events like this. It comes from entrepreneurs with great ideas and potential clients itching to learn more with journalists and analysts trying to get as many details as possible. Walking around the conference, I didn't feel it.

I've been reading tons of post-even wrap-ups by journalists, bloggers, etc. I'm not the only one with this opinion; although some say there's a rationale for it. Tony Byrne of CMS Watch writes:
"My first observation is that the conference vibe was much more practical, and much less like a religious revival meeting than previous Enterprise 2.0 events. Some gurus complained about a lack of passion and energy, but I think Andrew McAfee set a great tone in his keynote when he exhorted the audience to replace liberation theology with more realistic goals."

Oliver Marks wrote about his post-conference thoughts and posted a video of a discussion between him and McAfee.

I know there's a lot more coverage out there, and I look forward to reading more. Perhaps that's where the excitement will come....after everyone's thoughts have had a chance to simmer, and conversation follow-up moves into high gear as new relationships flourish. There was a lot of brainpower and entrepreneurship in the Moscone Center for those few days, obviously. And I am very excited to see what happens as the discussions continue.

What did you think of Enterprise 2.0 San Francisco?

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