A Tale of Two Cities (a.k.a Conference Updates) – Part 1

Do to some unfortunate timing our two big tradeshow/conferences for the Spring ended up on back to back on opposite ends of the continent – thus the lack of posting here over the past two weeks.

First we were at the Gilbane Conference in San Francisco then, after a quick weekend at home, we were off to Boston for the AIIM conference. Two very different shows and very different crowds. I’ll break this across two posts, otherwise it’ll be a huge long post. First up? Gilbane.

Gilbane Conference – San Francisco, CA

The Show: For those who don’t know, the Gilbane Group is a Content Management industry analyst organization who have expanded into running conferences each year centered on the space. As part of the conference they also run a small exhibit hall for vendors in the space.

Earlier this year Gilbane and LISA (The Localization Industry Standards Association) came together and decided to offer a localization/globalization track as part of the conference. This was exactly the kind of development we were watching (hoping) for in the market as it is a great signal that the ECM world is finally waking up and noticing that Localization/Translation is becoming more and more of a necessity in the market today.

An interesting thing we’ve come to enjoy is that, given our positioning as a “connector” company these types of shows the room is full of prospects (both partners & clients). As a result did we manage to not only have great conversations with potential customers but we also got to get out and have conversations with a lot of the technology vendors we’d been hoping to get in front of for a while now. As much as technology helps everyone connect regardless of location, nothing beats a firm handshake and looking a person in the eye.

All in all it was a good show for us – but then again when the keynote starts out by identifying one of your company’s value propositions (integration of systems) as one of the big issues facing the market, hw can you go wrong?

DSC07696The City: Of the two, San Francisco was the city I was most looking forward to getting out to. Not just for the city itself, but also for the people. It never ceases to amaze me the cool things that are going down in that neck of the woods (not that Toronto doesn’t have it’s own scene). Wanting to make the most of my time down there I set aside my first night in town to try and get together with some of the folks I wanted to meet.

Tara Hunt & Chris Messina of Citizen Agency/Citizen Space both made some space in their calendars to come out for drinks along with Mick & Marty from Tangler.com and Raines Cohen (I didn’t get a link :/ – he’s into some cool co-living community stuff). We had some good beer and even better conversation. During the course of the night Tara also mentioned there was a NetSquared event going on at Citizen Space the next evening which I attended and will blog about in a separate post.

As a city I love San Francisco – unfortunately I really only had the opportunity to skim some of the highlights of the city on a big walk the first day we were there but it was enough to know it was a place I wanted to spend more time in down the road (as a visitor). In hindsight a 7km walk the day before working a tradeshow floor wasn’t the brightest idea, but it was well worth it.

One thing I loved is it seemed like there was some by-law that you couldn’t just plain pave anything. At minimum you needed two-tone concrete but clearly bonus marks (tax credits?) were handed out for patterns, additional colours and other design features. In general the architecture of the city was consistently interesting and I had to remind myself to look down once in a while to stop from running into things.

My favourite moment was easily walking back to the hotel from the Net2 event, it was getting late and the streets were quiet, the only noise that stood out was this sound of a haunting solo saxophone drifting down the street. As I walked up the road it grew louder until I came to an intersection where there was a lone guy, just rockin’ out to himself on his sax. It seemed like he’d managed to find the acoustic center of the city as you could just hear the sound rippling out through the downtown core. Very cool.

Tommorrow: AIIM Conference & Exhibition in Boston, MA.