Tag Archives | Conferences

Coming May 31st: A Conference About Twitter for Business

TWTRCONI’m happy to report that Technologizer is helping Modern Media plan TWTRCON SF 09, a conference on how businesses can join the world of Twitter to make their customers happier, at San Francisco’s Hotel Nikko on May 31st. I’m happy about it because I think it’s a good idea–and I think it’s a good idea because…well, it was my idea.

Among the confirmed TWTRCON speakers are Porter Gale of Virgin America, Seth Greenberg of Intuit, DanceJam founder MC Hammer, Twitterville author Shel Israel, Silicon Valley renaissance man Dave McClure, and PR blogger Steve Rubel. The event is cohosted by Gina Smith and Modern Media’s Tonia Ries. And I’ll be there too, providing the official Twitter feed of the day’s doings.

I’m looking forward to attending the event, sharing ideas, meeting people, and–most of all–learning from it. If you’re going to be there, lemme know. And you can keep tabs on news about the conferencing by following @TWTRCON at Twitter.

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Macworld Expo Moves, Accepts Its Nickname

Macworld LogoHere’s the first hint of how IDG’s Macworld Expo will change in the wake of Apple’s decision to pull out of the show: It’s moving from early January to February 9th-13th (which includes a Saturday–the show has been weekday only). The conference sessions run for the entire duration of the show; the show floor will be open on the 11th, 12th, and 13th. Everything is still at San Francisco’s Moscone Center.

The change sounds like good news. I’m not sure if mid-February is the optimum time to hold the show or not, but I know that early January was a royal pain: It was so soon after the holidays and the new year that anyone who had to do much planning for it (like, ahem, a tech journalist) had to dedicate part of his or her time off to getting ready. It collided with the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas–also known as the “Every Other Electronics Company on the Planet Except Apple Show.” And as so many folks pointed out, the right-after-Christmas timing wasn’t great for product announcements.

[UPDATE: PCMag.com‘s Sascha Segan pointed out to me that Macworld Expo now brushes up against Mobile World Congress, the big European phone show–it officially kicks on February 15th next year. Should still be possible to attend both, though, since you won’t need three full days to take in everything on the Macworld Expo floor.]

The Saturday show-floor day is an acknowledgment of a essential fact about the event: Unlike most tech conferences, Macworld is a consumer event. (Among other things, it’s one of the few where selling stuff on the floor is not only permitted but encouraged.) Consumers, of course, might appreciate the option of attending the show without taking a day off from work.

Did I just call the event Macworld? That’s also a change: Its full name is Macworld Conference and Expo, but the official site calls it “Macworld 2010” in most instances. Most of the folks who care about the event have always called it just plain Macworld, but IDG has tended to tack the “Expo” on to the end, presumably to differentiate it from Macworld the magazine. (So have I when talking about it here on Technologizer–as a former IDG employee, I’d trained my brain to be fastidious on branding issues.)

Show manager Paul Kent told me the switch to “Macworld 2010” is to reflect the name that attendees have long used, as well as the fact that the event is more than just a conference and an exposition. Makes sense to me.


CES Gets Small

ceslogoOver at VentureBeat, Dean Takahashi is reporting that this year’s Consumer Electronics Show drew 110,000 employees, down 22 percent from last year’s event. The official, audited attendance figures won’t arrive for a few months, but unless they’re sharply higher it looks like this may have been the smallest CES in a decade or more. For those of who made the trek to Vegas, smaller is in some ways better–it’s fewer bodies to compete with in taxi lines, and fewer bodies trying to elbow their way by you on the show floor. But it may also be one more piece of evidence that the era of humongous trade shows is coming to a close. We’ll know for sure next year, if the economy is in at least slightly more robust shape and CES 2010 shows a similar decline in attendance.

I’m not predicting the imminent death of the show, and if it goes away I’ll miss it. But in my time in this business I’ve seen the death of Comdex (which was once held twice a year), PC Expo (ditto), and Macworld Boston–and hey, the first CES I attended was the last Summer CES in Chicago, which was held back in 1994. I fully expect to outlive the current CES, too–at least in its current overwhelming and exhausting form.


12 Questions About Phil Schiller’s Macworld Expo Keynote: How My Guesses Last Week Jibed With Reality

Phil Schiller Macworld Expo keynote imagesI say that I don’t do Apple predictions anymore, but I’m not above musing about upcoming events and expressing opinions about what could happen. Last week, I did just that for Phil Schiller’s first and last Macworld Expo San Francisco keynote, in the form of a dozen questions and attempts to answer them. Now that it’s come and gone, let’s review the questions I asked, the tentative stabs at answers I provided last week, and what actually happened.

Without any further ado…

1. Will Schiller make reference to the unique nature of his keynote?

What I guessed: Yes. But only to joke briefly at the start and break the tension, which will be oozing through the room when the keynote begins.

What happened: Nothing that I remember other than a very oblique thank-you to the audience at the start. Certainly no wacky schtick or self-effacing humor. And if he mentioned Steve Jobs at all, I’m forgetting it at the moment.

2. Will he get all defensive about Apple’s abandonment of Macworld Expo as of 2010?

What I guessed: Nope. It would be startling if he mentioned it at all.

What happened: No direct reference, but a pretty clear dig when he bragged about the number of customers who enter Apple Stores each week, said “I’m sorry,” and pointed out it was equal to a hundred Macworld Expos.

3. Will he announce anything interesting?

What I guessed: Possibly. Everybody’s assuming that nothing any more pulse-pounding than a refreshed Mac Mini will be unveiled, but I’m not so sure. Steve Jobs might be avoiding the show as much because it’ll be a downer as because there’s nothing of note to talk about. Apple clearly wants to shine more limelight on execs other than Jobs. And hey, it’s not inconceivable that even a new Mac Mini could be cool.

What happened: One Apple fan’s snoozer is another’s blockbuster. News today included the end of iTunes DRM (overdue), the new 17-inch MacBook Pro (presumably once meant to launch with its smaller counterparts and with a sealed battery that will be, ahem, controversial), iWork and iWork.com (which are niche products in the Apple world), and iLife 09 (pretty neat looking). There were more things that people reasonably hoped might be announced–new Mac Minis, new iMacs, a 32GB iPhone, a new Apple TV–than were actually unveiled.

4. Will he announce anything hugely newsworthy–on the level of the Intel transition or the iPhone?

What I guessed: Nah. Surely not. Right?

What happened: He didn’t.

5. Will he follow the Jobs keynote format?

What I guessed: No. I’d think he’d want to mix things up to avoid a point-by-point comparison. So the Jobs outline (impressive stats/minor product introduction/bigger product introduction/One More Thing/Acknowledgment of Apple staffers’ contributions/musical guest) will probably not be Schiller’s template.

What happened: It was more Jobsian than I expected, and came pretty darn close to Jobs outline I reference above.

6. Will he pause to gulp bottled water?

What I guessed: Only for yuks.

What happened: I had my head down so I could furiously liveblog for much of the event, but as far as I know, Phil remained parched. Maybe he had a Sprite backstage during one of his breaks.

8. Will he take questions from the audience?

What I guessed: No. Too dangerous.

What happened: He didn’t (but as far as I recall, Jobs never does at Macworld Expo, either–only at smaller events).

9. Will the keynote attract a Jobsian avalanche of press coverage?

What I guessed: Sort of. For one thing, the lack of Jobs is almost as newsworthy as the presence of Jobs. And expectations for Schiller and for the event in general are so low that it shouldn’t be hard to exceed them. I’m guessing that at least some pundits will decide the event wasn’t as bad as they expected it to be.

What happened: There’s certainly tons of coverage of the keynote today. So far, most of the comment on the product announcements I’ve seen has been anywhere from downbeat to extremely downbeat. I haven’t seen much discussion of Schiller as Jobs substitute, but I thought he was OK. (Actually, it wasn’t unpleasant to have a keynote that was low on reality-distortion–though he did refer to the changes at the iTunes Store as “profound.”)

10. Will there be any surprises?

What I guessed: Maybe. It’s not really in Apple’s interest for its final Macworld Expo keynote to be a completely boring downer of an event. If the company can do anything unexpected and upbeat, it might.

What happened: Schiller did treat the iTunes announcements as a “one more thing,” although he didn’t really engage in the kabuki of a real Steve Jobs one-more-thing announcement. (It was more like “Aw, you know we saved one more thing.”) But I’d say the biggest surprise was the appearance of Tony Bennett at the end. He got the kind of response from the audience they usually give Jobs, and was wonderful. (Schiller was received politely. Very, very politely.)

11. Will Apple hold its own independent “keynote” event?

What I guessed: Yes, as soon as whatever wasn’t ready for Macworld Expo is ready to go, and with Steve Jobs. As soon as in the next couple of weeks, and likely by the end of February.

What may happene: I still think this is a likely scenario, although I don’t know how Jobs’s statement that he’s going to spend the next few months reversing his weight loss plays into this.

12. Who will keynote 2010’s Macworld Expo?

What I guessed: It’s gotta be David Pogue. Definitely David Pogue. And you know, he could be great.

What may happen: I dunno. But I’m doing a post-show interview with Macworld Expo show manager Paul Kent later this week–maybe I’ll ask him.

I maintain that what I was doing last week wasn’t making predictions, so I’m not going to give myself a grade. But I will be back with further thoughts about the event…and would love to hear yours. (Thanks, by the way, to the hundreds of people who attended our live coverage today–I had fun, even if this wasn’t the keynote was a little less than historic.)

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Dueling Keynotes: Phil Schiller at Macworld Expo vs. Steve Ballmer at CES

(if you came here looking for our live coverage of the Macworld Expo 2009 keynote, head over here.)

Macworld Expo 2009 Phil Schiller Keynote

Next week will see two tech trade show presentations by guys who are following very tough acts: Phil Schiller’s first (and last) Macworld Expo San Francisco keynote and Steve Ballmer’s first (and probably not last) Consumer Electronics Show one. Maybe I have a soft spot for underdogs–albeit extremely wealthy ones–but I’m actually looking forward to attending and covering both gentlemen’s speeches. (Trivia: I never went to any of the many, many keynotes by Bill Gates at Comdex and CES conferences that I covered.) I’ve already written a bit about the two keynotes; after the jump, a more formal comparison in the form of a T-Grid.

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Next Week: Two Big Keynotes, Twice the Live Coverage

As usual, this year will kick off with two of the biggest tech shows of the year, Macworld Expo and CES, scheduled so tightly that they overlap. But for the first time, Macworld Expo’s keynoter will be Apple marketing head Phil Schiller and CES’s will be Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer. If nothing else, it marks a major changing of the respective guards (Steve Jobs and Bill Gates, respectively). And I’ll be at both speeches, covering them in real time. Save yourself all that running around between San Francisco and Vegas and join me–whatever the news is, I’ll let you know just as soon as I did.

Pages for the two live events are now live–and if you click on one (or both) of the promos below, you can even sign up to be reminded by e-mail before they start.

Macworld Expo 2009 Phil Schiller Keynote

CES 2009 Steve Ballmer Keynote

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12 Questions (and Attempts at Answers) About Next Week’s Macworld Expo Non-Stevenote

Phil Schiller Macworld Expo Keynote ComposographWe’re now just over a week before Macworld Expo–a timeframe that would normally be bulging at the seams with speculation about what the Steve Jobs keynote would reveal. This time, of course, there will be no Jobs keynote–Apple marketing head Phil Schiller will fill in at the final Apple keynote at the show. And there’s little chatter on the Web about the Philnote–and virtually no expectation that it’ll be anything but a ho-hum presentation of ho-hum products.

Me, I’ll be at the keynote as usual, covering it live for this site. It’s in my self-interest to hope that it won’t be a non-event. So I’m already asking myself questions about it, and trying to come up with answers. Such as the twelve after the jump.

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