Did people really think I’d end up brawling with Jason Calacanis at CeBIT last week? Sure, I called him a prick and wrote about the evil cult of the Internet start-up. But he does actually have good points.
I met Mr Calacanis when I found myself recording the 2 Web Crew podcast on my borrowed video camera. Since I was concentrating on getting good audio, the vision’s a bit shaky, but at least you’ll see what it was like during those hectic 16 minutes.
I may disagree with Calacanis’ priorities in life, but that’s hardly unique to him. He does do business transparently, however. He makes sense and calls a spade a spade. And he’s certainly been a successful entrepreneur.
He’s also a tireless promoter — of himself. Now that’s not a bad thing when you’re trying to build hype around a new business. But it’s a character trait that Australians reckon is bad — which is perhaps why we so often fail to market our own innovations.
I was also amused to see the swarm of Calacanis fan-boys and girls buzzing around him “like flies to a dead sheep”, as I said on Twitter. Guys, a little less cult of personality and a little more independent thought will work wonders in your lives. Success is not achieved through frottage with the successful. Unless you’re a hooker.
So, Jason, here is the promised blog post saying that you’re not as much of a prick as I thought you were.
[Note: This is a slightly edited version of an article I wrote for Crikey this morning. The main difference is a bit more linkage. There’s more CeBIT / Transaction 2.0 material to come.]
In 1980 futurist Alvin Toffler wrote The Third Wave. Following the Agricultural and Industrial Revolutions, he said, we’re now experiencing the Third Wave, or what might be called post-industrial society. Australia’s surfing prowess means nothing here, though. We’re still pissing in the shallows, barely held up by leaking floaties.
Why is tech-literate, well-educated Australia so bad at marketing and profiting from its own innovation, from the fisheye lens to gene shears? We do innovate, you know.
“Australians expect the government to do everything for them — but the government’s clueless,â€ explained journalist and evangelist Duncan Riley at yesterday’s Transaction 2.0 conference. “The Australia 2020 Summit is a classic example. The Internet was seen as an ’emerging’ industry. Emerging? We’ve had it for 20 years! In the US alone it employs 7 million people.”
Continue reading “Crikey: Australia’s web 2.0 wipeout on the wave of the future”
Next week is packed! How can I get the best value out of CeBIT Sydney and the associated Transaction 2.0 conference, as well as Microsoft’s ReMIX 08? What should I record or broadcast? What should I write about?
CeBIT was always on my agenda. Despite being disappointing last year and despite annoying me with a flood of email, it’s still the biggest IT trade show in Australia. It’s worth going just to see who’s confidently spending money on promotion, if nothing else.
I’ll be touring the trade show floor on Wednesday 21 May. If you want to meet up, let me know. Maybe I should even do a Stilgherrian Live Alpha from the bloggers media room? Whaddyathink?
If you still haven’t organised your free pass, you can register online using my promotion code: stilcs08.
On Thursday 22 May I’ll be at Transaction 2.0, with an interesting set of speakers. Again, it’s a matter of choosing the priorities. Who should I talk to? Should I pick a fight with Jason Calacanis?
But I kick off the Geek Week on Tuesday 20 May with ReMIX 08, where Microsoft says I’ll “experience all that is new in Silverlight 2, Expression 2, IE8, Live and a host of other great web technologies… You will also see how local Australian innovators are creating the next generation of engaging websites and unprecedented user experiences for the web.”
Provided they build it with Microsoft’s tools, of course. 😉
That’s unfair. Microsoft is changing. It’ll be interesting to hear what they’re up to.
Now my only challenge is working out how all this fits into one week, while still leaving room to do some billable hours for clients.
The irony about the CeBIT email flood is that it makes them look desperate — yet their PR person told me yesterday that at this point, three weeks out from the start, they’ve already got more registrations than they did on opening day last year. So why do the emails keep coming? My guess is that at some point weeks ago, some executive somewhere signed off on a marketing plan, and now everyone’s dutifully following it. How… old-fashioned.
Hannover Fairs, the organisers of the CeBIT Australia IT trade show, must be shitting themselves about poor ticket sales or something. They certainly seem desperate.
These guys are spammy at the best of times, sending at least one email a week every week. But this year I’ve received three “Exclusive Limited Offer: Free Exhibition Entry” emails this month alone, plus today another one via the Australian Computer Society — yeah, that’s fuckin’ exclusive, eh? They’ve emailed a “Dear Bloggers” media release and phoned. Gawd!
I was underwhelmed last year and annoyed with the marketing wank-words.
Do these shows actually achieve anything any more? I mean, if you’ve got a new IT product you just tell TechCrunch and the geek world’s blogosphere of feral goldfish do the rest, right? Why herd everyone into a room, except to fuel an industry of hangers-on who make t-shirts and lame promotional giveaways?
[P.S. I am actually going. If nothing else I can collect some high-grade sarcasm for my podcast. But enough with the spam already, Hannover!]