Eco-friendly Conference Attendance

There’s probably several dozen major tech conferences, or pseudo tech-conferences, that happen every year. Social media hounds and bloggers head off to conferences like SXSW, Gnomedex or even SES.

What are some of the things that people can do to be a little more environmentally conscience while attending these things.


Instead of taking a cab, if you can swing it… walk! In most cases, people try to book hotel reservations in close proximity to a conference venue. You might be tempted to get a hotel close to the airport because it’s cheaper on a per night basis, but think about the gas or cab fees (and possibly tolls, depending on the locations!) you end up spending for the cheaper per night accommodations.

Consider staying close and eliminating cabs and rental cars from the mix. Save the gas and cab fares and maybe save a little extra money in the long run.

Hotel Room: Climate Control

Most of the time, hotel rooms are there solely for the purpose of crashing at night. You probably aren’t spending a lot of time in it during the day, so what’s the point in keeping the room climate at 68°F(20°C)? Bump it up to 75° when you’re not around and then reduce the temp to 71° or 72° when you get back in at night. The sun will have gone down and the afternoon heat will have dissipated.

Hotel Room: Linens and Towels

Most hotels these days have a little sign in the room encouraging you to reuse your towels and sheets. I encourage this as well. If you’re in a room for, say, 5 days… you probably only need to have your sheets changed twice. You can reuse that towel as well by hanging it up and letting it dry out. You’re not going to stink by using an already used towel. Believe me, if you’re like me, your towel is not getting changed out every day at home, is it?


Many conferences stream some or all of their sessions. Consider not going to the conference and, instead, watching it at home on your computer. Participate in the back-channel in whatever form it might me. Sure, you won’t get the personal interaction you might get in networking with other attendees, but you’ll have saved a few hundred on airfare, a few hundred more on hotel, and all those fuel surcharges.

For a more exhaustive list of good eco-friendly conferenct tips, check out Zack Greant’s post “20000 km, $7000, 7 Days and 4 tons of CO2 (or, ‘Making Event Attendance Count’)“.

When a Brand Fades

 Today is the New, New Internet Conference, the biggest web 2.0 conference on the Eastern Seaboard this fall. More than 800 attendees are expected. The roster of speakers is impressive. The conference will focus on the larger business aspects of the new Internet economy.

Though I am one of the speakers, I will be in the lobby working during the opening keynote (as well as the first session).  Why?

aol_logo1) I need to get some work done. And 2) the opening keynote is AOL’s Vice Chair Ted Leonsis. And I just don’t think he or the AOL brand is that relevant anymore.  In short, this was one of the sessions I could most afford to miss.

Look, AOL does have some great things going on. My fellow panelist Frank Gruber for one. And no one can deny how powerful TMZ is in the gossip side of things.

But at the same time AOL the brand has faded, it’s lost its luster. And that’s because it’s not really dominating much, and its leadership — like Leonsis — seem to be following, not creating earth shaking vision.

For many, including me, AOL just means dial-up.  And that’s because the brand promise was safe, easy dial up access for so long it’s permanently etched into my brain. This is in spite of the many things AOL is doing in 2.0. And is it any coincidence that one of its most successful efforts is branded TMZ and not AOL?

Perhaps it is me, but wouldn’t all of AOL’s current social media efforts benefit from a re-brand.  I just think the dial-up legacy kills it. As a result the company seems to be fading. What do you think about AOL’s efforts?

PME Day 2: Keynote with Jim Louderback

Jim Louderback, formerly of ZDNet, recently joined Revision3 that is essentially TechTV version 3.0.

I had a drink with him last night and we discussed their recent $8 million in new funding and how they would be using it.

He talked about the new studio and the vision to be the Discovery/TLC of the Internet Generation.

It is clear that they are in the Digital Media business and not the podcasting business. That has been the theme this year and I can’t agree more.

He has a great quote “we are in the first inning of a very long game”. So true.

Jim is a very dynamic speaker and interviewee and a hell of a nice guy. I can’t wish him well enough and Kevin Rose was smart to hire him.

What is working for them is the in-show sponsorship pitch and discussing the experience with the brand. The ones that are more adventurous see more return from the brand awareness.

Great speech. Next up is Susan Bratton of Personal Life Media on Selling Advertising and Sponsorships for Audio and Video Content

The 7 Secrets of Media Monetization

Sitting in the PME afternoon sessions I had the opportunity to watch Paul Colligan of PodcastSecrets talk about the “7 Secrets of Monetization that Big Media Hopes You Don’t Figure Out”.

As a summary, here we go:

– You are the media
– Big Media is Big Business
– Always Improve/Never Invent
– It Changes when you stop thinking like a podcaster and start thinking like BIG MEDIA

The 7 Secrets

  1. Content Rental
  2. Content Sales
  3. Merchandising
  4. Product Placement
  5. The Paying Built-in Audience
  6. Ad Inserts
  7. Production Companies

Content Rental
Nutshell: Some people will buy what they can get for free

Content Sales
Nutshell: Some people will for premium content

Nutshell: Free content with profitable schwag

Product Placement
Nutshell: Someone will pay for access to your audience

The Paying Built-In Audience
Nutshell: Starting Over Is Silly, Use you existing audience

Ad Inserts
Nutshell: Boring, But Profitable – Use Podango and Gigavox

Production Companies
Nutshell: Other People’s Money isn’t yours

Awesome stuff…

Podcasting is really New Media

Michael Geoghegan started his presentation with “podcasting is dead”. He said that if you are doing this you really are in the digital media business if you are engaging and producing podcasts and new media.

Couldn’t agree with him more.

Now, off to find lunch and people to network with….

Blogging from PME – Keynote with Howard Lindzon

This morning the keynote with Howard Lindzon he talked about his sale to CBS for a reported $5 million dollars.

Here are some of his opinions about the show:

motivation to build the show – everything out there sucked.

what his end goal was – to sell the show

about interviewing over 600 people to eventually find Lindsey – very boring until she came along

approaching advertisers – most are just testing the waters and he was making stuff up as he went along. Eventually, there were numbers to have a discussion about but he was still throwing numbers out there for advertising costs.

on the sale – throwing the numbers out there and the negotiation was the best part for him.

do you think people can make a living doing this? No, unless you really niche and target and understand who would benefit from it.

it is all about the editing – you can go out and shoot wacky content but if it is not cut right, it will suck.

and finally, product placement and creative stuff integrated into the show has better impact that stupid 30 second spots.

Writing for B5 Media – Come on over to Startup Spark

Hello all, just wanted to let you know that I have been offered an opportunity to write for a great blog on the B5 Media Network.

The blog is called Startup Spark and is similar to Venture Files but is a broader version on all types of entrepreneurship.

I invite you to check it out and subscribe. This blog will continue but in the coming months I will be focusing this blog more on innovation topics and will be unveiling a new design.

So keep reading Venture Files and add Startup Spark to your feed reader and your daily viewing.

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FOWA Presentation on Venture Capital

I saw this presentation that Ben Holmes of Index Ventures gave at the FOWA Conference in London “Everything you need to know about Venture Capital“…
He put his slides on slideshare so take a look. (BTW, Slideshare rocks)

Here is an entrepreneur’s take on the slideshow:

Think of this as liner notes if an entrepreneur was giving this….

Slide 5 – “How the VC makes money” – This is great. It gives an entrepreneur an understanding on two levels. First, the VC has people they answer to, the Limited Partners, and must make money for them. Second, should an entrepreneur think that their investment should be part of the portfolio, know that they are more likely to be a part of the failure list and that they need to have a big play to help the VC make their numbers based on the failure rate.

Slide 6 – “Stages of Investment” – Many entrepreneur’s ask about what type of investment is right. This is usually when they are going out for the first time and looking at angel vs. series A.

Slide 7 – “What a good VC will add” – This is what so many claim yet so few deliver. This should be a list of requirements and a test against any VC firm. He actually included case studies so they put their money where their mouth is – literally.

Slide 10 – “Typical Deal Terms” – Every entrepreneur that is looking for VC should make no mistake that they are in this to make money. They may like you but they like how much money the company could make even better. This means putting certain terms in place to ensure their investment.

Slide 13 – “When NOT to raise VC” – If you take one slide away this is the one. Everyone looks at VC as the way to get to the finish line but most of the time a company is not a candidate. If you are any of these three or close to it, rethink your plan or find other ways to finance.

Slide 18 – “Sharing relevant information” – You can see from this slide that it is important to have documents but not the 100 page business plan in the beginning. In the end it will be about them checking on you, those interested in buying from you and the who and how of execution.

In the end this presentation has a bottom line – This is a partnership and there must be alignment on all sides in order to make it work. It is about relationships, communication and execution. If any one of those three are missing you will fail.

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Welcome to Thunderdome: Bill Gates and Steve Jobs on stage at the D Conference

When I read that Bill Gates and Steve Jobs were going to be on stage together doing joint appearance at D:All Things Digital, the Mad Max movie came to mind.

My mind kept echoing….”Two men enter. One man leaves. Two men enter. One man leaves.”

Unrehearsed and unscripted? This is rare and should be a memorable event.

This is going to be the ultimate in geek spectator sports and for the entrepreneur’s out there an interesting study in communications styles and how to handle yourself in a tough crowd.

God I hope they stream this for those of us who can’t make it up there.

Bill and Steve’s Excellent Adventure

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Analyzing the Keynotes: Bill Gates and Steve Jobs

This is fascinating. I was thinking of doing an analysis of Steve Jobs and Bill Gates keynotes. I watched them both and their styles are so different.

Steve Jobs is the modern day PT Barnum. His charm is high and his enthusiasm is contagious.

Bill’s Keynote was tired and a bit boring with skit like demonstrations. The Windows Server was cool, but the iPhone that Steve Jobs presented was light years beyond.

This analysis is great and includes Michael Dell.

Bill Gates and Steve Jobs: Keynote text analysis

What really strikes me is the “Average Words per Sentence” number.

SJ is at 10.5
BG is 21.6
Michael Dell is 16.5

The bottom line for a communications guy like me is that shorter sentences that are not dense with fancy words works the best. It is nice to have this proved for the hard numbers people out there.

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