Best conference of 2007 by far. Perfect mix of talks and networking.
I headed over to Amsterdam on Thursday for TheNextWeb and kicked it off with a short stint at the first International OCC. There was a large group of attendees of multiple nationalities and the banter flowed. We had a quiet night of the Irish Mafia that night with Nooked, PollDaddy, PutPlace and LouderVoice in attendance.
The event was held in a wonderful building called The Tuschinski Theatre - a gem of a theatre with beautiful decoration everywhere. My first pleasant surprise was that this was not going to be a huge mob conference like Le Web 3 so the chances of finding who I wanted to talk to were much higher. The three guys were decked out in white so you could spot them from 100 metres away!
Throughout the whole day everyone was eager to network and I had wonderful conversations with people ranging from the Ziki guys to the Widsets guy.
Scott Rafer was a total pro as the MC and had a great lightness of touch when the odd thing went screwy. The first speaker of the day was Saul Klein and his topic of “Why Europe needs to seed the growth of its new stars” is one very dear to my heart. A storming start to the conference!
The two old farts Canter and Clavier really added to the whole day with their Statler & Waldorf routine. Apart from the humour, they made some good incisive comments on the startups who did showcases on stage. On a side-note, why were these not announced a week before as promised?
Jeff gave a great talk but I missed Deborah Schutlz which I’m annoyed about. I saw bit of Tapan Bhat’s talk but to be honest it sounded like the usual corp-schtick and washed over me without me noticing.
Tariq Krim had flight problems and looked wrecked but I thought his presentation on the widgetization of everything was a killer and it really got me going. Particularly considering my earlier conversations with Widsets and PollDaddy.
The Speed Pitching session was in danger of collapsing in disorganisation due to tons of no-shows but the guys pulled it together and it ended up being the highlight of my day. Four minutes to each of three VCs really focused the mind. My only tiny criticism was that they were not critical enough. I was hoping to be scorched but all the feedback was encouraging!
Dick Hardt gave the classic Dick Hardt presentation. I was very surprised to see that many of those sitting near me had clearly never seen him in action. I had thought everyone had watched those videos online. Unfortunately, whilst I love the style, I came away from that unsatisfied. It was less Identity 2.0 and more Identity 101. He needs to add depth and I don’t know how you do that in such a rapid-fire style.
The only showcase which really stuck in my head was Respectance. Initially I thought it was one of the worst ideas of all time. I was expecting it to be monetized via ads for coffins. But the more I think about it, the more I think they may have a winner. I want to write about my late Grandaunt and whilst I’ll probably do it on my blog, I may give Respectance a go too. The CEO needs to learn how to use his laptop tho!
Felix Petersen was a no show but I didn’t notice as I cannot shut up talking about LouderVoice. I returned to the main room for Rod Beckstrom. This looked like it was going to be some slick sales pitch but was a wonderful eclectic race through a bunch of ideas, stories and biography. I’ll be buying The Starfish and The Spider this week as a result. There was a hard deadline on ending the event which was a terrible pity as I could have listened to Rod for another hour.
Very little downside on the day. A few things - where the hell was Arrington? His name is still on the site and he is bitching about the Plazes guy being a no-show? And the demo booth idea didn’t really work for me. I had been disappointed not to get a slot for LouderVoice (particularly when 4 were given to sponsors) but seeing it in action cleared that up for me - too tight and cluttered.
I headed home right after the gig so I missed the meal and the party. All reports are that it was a wild night. Damn!
Well done Boris, Patrick and Arjen. I’ll definitely be back next year.
Given 4/5 on Jun 04 2007 by Argolon Solutions Team
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