I just finished my first day of the Internet Summit 2010 in Raleigh, NC and despite it starting a bit later than most conferences (2:30 in the afternoon, perfect for people like me who are a few degrees less than functional first thing in the morning), I've already been impressed by the quality of content, both speakers and vendors represented. While I spent most of my time in the lectures today, I'm definitely looking forward to checking out everything else the Summit has to offer, especially the innovative groups doing demos in the Expo room.
Since The Internet Summit has exceeded my expectations for the second year in a row, I thought I'd drop onto the blog to quickly post about some of this year's highlights.
- In less than 4 hours, I've been able to pick the brains, so to speak, of some of the top minds tackling the bleeding edge opportunities and hottest topics of the Internet today. Not only did we get a thorough and varied look at the best ways to enable mobile users to transact business on the fly from IBM's VP of Emerging Internet Technologies Rod Smith, but we also found out about Red Hat founder and Lulu.com founder and CEO Bob Young's (perhaps foolhardy?) involvement with the Canadian Football League.
- Some of us were treated to an extremely insightful chat hosted by Jim Tobin of Ignite Media with Microsoft's head of Emergent Media, Marty Taylor Collins on how she chooses where to spend Microsoft's time and money on social engagement, and more importantly, how she's trained her team to focus on ROI from social media, a challenge that it seems every business is facing today. I'm positive that I'll be employing her strategies myself and for clients to help connect social media campaigns to the marketing bottom line.
- Hearing Discover Channel's Director of Business Development Kurt Merriweather's take on the impact that "cutting the cord" (the increasingly popular tactic of canceling your cable or satellite subscription in favor of streaming all your content online) is having on traditional television content creators was great to hear, especially in contrast to the "party line" that we're used to hearing from the telecoms. As it turns out, television consumption is actually increasing year over year, just not necessarily through the television itself. Thanks to guys like Merriweather, content providers like Discovery Channel are plugging into the viewer trends, and giving them quality content whether they're watching cable, on facebook, their smartphone, or surfing the web. It's great to see that television's content creators are taking steps to stay relevant, even as more and more people choose to consume their shows on their own terms.
- The Internet Summit supports local beer! I was pleasantly surprised to find the whole spread of Raleigh's very own Big Boss Brewing Company's bottled beers (oh hai alliteration!). As a long time supporter of Big Boss, I can't think of a better way to close out the first day of 2010's Internet Summit than with a cold Hells' Belle Belgian Blonde.
I'm really looking forward to learning more at tomorrow's sessions. I'll be sure to update the blog tomorrow with more from the Internet Summit! If you're here too, I'd love to hear your thoughts on today's sessions and some of your biggest insights.