The best conferences offer tactical information you can use right now, insights that can help you shape your work over the long term, exhibitors showing lots of toys, and diverse networking. For me, the New Media Expo in Las Vegas last week delivered in all three areas.
I was delighted to meet Karin Hogh, Paolo Tosolini, Rob Walch, John C. Havens and many others, and to see friends Shel Holtz, CC Chapman and Leesa Barnes again. And the NME was the kind of place where I could chat over coffee with Mark Montgomery, technical editor at Videomaker magazine, and pick his brains about cameras.
Session highlights for me:
- The opening keynote presentation by Gary Vaynerchuk, who has more energy and passion than 99.9% of mere mortal men. After hearing Gary enthuse about how he has grown WineLibrary.tv into a media juggernaut, I was even more fired up about some of my own – and my clients’ – multimedia projects. As I noted on Twitter, one of Gary’s most quotable quotes was “Content is king and marketing is queen; and the queen rules the household.”
- A very polished and interesting talk by Shel Holtz and John C. Havens, co-authors of the upcoming book Tactical Transparency. I know Shel and have seen him present several times. As he and John shared examples of the successful use of social media in business – from JetBlue to Bigelow Tea – I formed a mental list of my clients who MUST READ their book as soon as it is published in November 2008. Any corporate honcho who thinks he can avoid the conversation online by not having a presence there is dreaming, because the conversation is happening anyway.
- Robert Scoble’s session on videopodcasting. Although it turned into more of a Scoble LoveFest/Q&A, I still liked it. After all, when it comes to making media and building reputation and community online, Scoble is a master, even though he induced nausea by using his cell phone to broadcast a live blurry video on Qik.
- An entertaining and well-crafted presentation by “Eric and CAT” from the Let’s Knit2gether video podcast. I know zero about knitting, crocheting, sewing and other such arts, but I can appreciate the effort this pair puts into their production, and the way they’ve created a successful show and built a thriving community.
- Robin Maiden’s talk on corporate podcasting. I enjoyed it so much that I did an interview with him on the last day of the conference. I’ll post it soon.
And what about the goodies in the exhibit hall? Here are a few:
- A USB microphone with excellent sound at a fabulous price from Marshall Electronics. Check out their units from $99 and up. Until now, I have not strongly recommended USB mics for podcasters, but this one sounds like a winner.
- LibsynPRO, which takes the Libsyn we all know and love for podcast hosting, and notches it up for the enterprise.
- RawVoice, the folks behind Blubrry (which allows me to network with other podcasters and offer a nice player on my podcast page), are now offering an enterprise solution too. I’m so glad to see this.
- ProfCast, which helps you easily record presentations and create enhanced podcasts; Mac only.
- WireTap Studio, which allows you to record the audio output of any program on your Mac, edit it and export it.
- Mogulus, which my friend Wayne MacPhail has raved about, gives you everything you need to launch your own live 24/7 TV station on the Web. Imagine creating your own private channel online.
- mDialog, which makes it easy to produce high-resolution video for the Web, AppleTV and the iPhone. Magical.
- Ustream, which seems to be the darling of my video friends, offers an amazingly easy way to do live video streaming. I can’t wait to start using it for my own productions and for client work.
- Tubemogul, which could let you expand the audience for your video by posting it to multiple sites; it also offers analytics.
- Veotag, one of the few products at the show that I hadn’t heard of before, lets you add menus and links to a video presentation, transforming it into something much more interactive. Looks pretty cool.
- AllVoices, a citizen media company based in San Francisco. Want to be a reporter? Check them out.
- FLVHosting, which offers video streaming and Web site hosting on “super fast” servers.
- Noble Transcription Service, which promises reasonable rates and reliable quality when you need a transcript of your podcast or other multimedia file.
One other thing that was very apparent at the show: there’s a wide gulf between those who think “anything goes/don’t bother editing” and those who almost lovingly create content with care and attention, and then invest hours in polishing their audio or video files. Much depends on the audience you’re trying to appeal to, the market you’re in, the time (and money) you have to spend, and the image you want to cultivate. Food for thought.
Over the next few weeks, I plan to write more posts based on my experiences at NME. For now, client work beckons.
Oh, and I just had to share this image: the iPod vending unit that I spotted at the Hilton and at the airport. I don't know about you, but I don't think I'd buy electronics from the same kind of machine that sells potato chips.