When a conference goes horribly wrong…

I’ve been wanting to get out and attend more conferences lately. I’m not usually a big fan of conferences, but I’ve been feeling like I want to meet more/new people and hear different perspectives on things.

So, my coworker Mike and I attended Clickz’s Video Advertising conference today. This is clearly a field that isn’t figured out yet, so I thought it might be one of those “get to hear early insights” kinda days. Boy was I wrong.

I had low expectations for the morning sessions (the interesting sessions were set for the afternoon) but even those expectations were missed. On both morning panels, there was only one clueful guy who actually seemed to be aware of what was going on on the web (there’s this thing called myspace, and another thing called YouTube people). I sat through excruciating demos of million-dollar budget “interactive websites” that looked like they were an artifact of 1999. And what was worse, these people were giving advice to people in the audience. “People want slick, professionally produced, immersive interactive experiences”. (never mind the lack of authenticity, the slow download time, etc). Someone later in the day even demoed a downloadable app that played a custom video. How smart.

Anyway, I stuck it out in the hopes that the Yahoo speaker and the Google speaker would rescue the day. Usually google’s speakers run rings around everyone. Didn’t happen.

Then, my absolute favorite moment of any conference EVER happened. There was a panel of people demoing “new technology” in the space. Nothing was really new, each panelist more boring than the last. Then a presenter said that he wouldn’t be demoing anything. And then, it happened, the conference organizer and moderator sarcastically said:

[I paraphrase:]
Well, this panel couldn’t get less entertaining if it tried.

Wow. I guess she knew this wasn’t going well. I left shortly after that. I hope my next conference is better…