One Week Later – The Podcast And New Media Expo 2007 Report

Man this is a long piece …

It’s hard to believe that a week ago, I was walking around the Ontario Convention Center catching up with old friends and learning about new technologies at PNME 2007. It’s been a crazy week (from one extreme, the Zune Podcasting announcement, and to the other, a house full of flu sufferers) but I’ve got a chance here to give my final report.

We’ll start with the negative and end with the positive.

For those who didn’t participate or hid their involvement because of some petty new-media hubris, I can say without a doubt that you did more damage to your own career (and/or company) than anything else. Podcasting’s future gathered in Ontario last weekend and if you didn’t, you need to ask yourself why and ponder your own future in this space. I would recommend you undo the damage you’ve done. Nuff said about that topic – you know who you are.

For those who counted numbers at PNME 2007 and complained about the move to Vegas next year (and the dropping of the Podcasting name), I’d dare say too that you are seriously missing the point. The shiny objects of Podcasting have already arrived and for those who have no desire in this space past the purchase (or pawing over) of shiny items, a visit to your Apple store is much cheaper in the end. Nuff said on that as well.

And now, the good stuff …

As I said earlier, Tim’s picks for keynotes really set the conversation points for the weekend (minus of course those described in the previous two paragraphs). You simply didn’t hear the phrases “one day” or “wouldn’t it be great if” or “I wish Apple/Microsoft/Google would.” It was a pleasant change.

By the way, Apple/Microsoft/Google were there, people just talked to them, not about them.

Somewhere previous to the show the conversation changed from “should we monetize” to “what our the best practices?” A welcome change indeed.

I was thrilled and honored to be part of the Podcast Academy Event on Thursday. It was a true “pro” event void of the hobbyists of whom I love dearly but tend to distract us from our goal. This has been true of all of their events, but when they offer the pay to download the series option I recommend highly that you do.

I, unfortunately, had to miss the initial ADM Meeting (long story) held at 730am the first morning. Jason Van Orden put up a summary that puts the event into perspective. I’ll be sending them my $150 the second I get a few minutes to spare. Also nice to see that the “anything but ADM crowd” buried the hatchet and decided to play with the team, not against them.

Quote of the weekend came from Tim Street who was nominated for Chairman at the event (more on Tim later):

Thanks for the nomination, but the guy from French Maid TV should not be in charge. This needs to look serious, because it is.

Right out of the gate the Podcast Expo presentations set the tone for our new take on things. Michael Geoghegan (Podcasting’s Jimmy Stewart) called our industry to task in the first round of presentations in the first morning and although he ruffled some feathers (how could he not?), it looks like the parties involved have all made up.

On the floor I met the guys from TubeMogul. What a pleasure to see a product that isn’t just great for us in theory, but in application as well. Other highlights included Noble Transcription, who taught us that the most important thing about transcripts isn’t how many minutes we can get transcribed for a buck. It was also a kick to see my friends from FreeIQ not only show up, but leave realizing that RSS needs to be part of the FreeIQ toolset.

It was no coincidence that Casgle (disclosure – I’m on their board of advisers) was in the booth next to ours. I truly believe that their PodDeus product is not going to change our industry, just introduce us to a whole new audience. We could use many more players like that – and I think they’re coming.

Friday night the smart guys over at Cachefly bought a bunch of us a steak dinner. Never one to turn down a steak, I went along. The ride was way too long each way (I’m sure there are closer steaks in L.A. (but then again, you can never go wrong with Morton’s)) but I was given the gift of sitting next to Jim Louderback on the way in and the Mommycasters on the way back. Not only did Jim convince me that Revision 3 has a very bright future (trust me on the BreakALeg.TV thing, Jim) but the Mommycasters probably had more impact on my coming iPhone purchase than anyone from Apple or anyone at the TWiT network. Wrap your marketing minds around that one.

The rest of the weekend kept pace. I don’t think I talked to a single person who wasn’t in this to win. I can debate strategies all I want but we’re all pointed in the same direction, finally, and that made the weekend for me.

If I didn’t mention you here, it’s not a slam – it’s just that I’ve already written too much so far.

Side note: The first two years, the show gave out a “person of the year” award. They didn’t do that this year (or at least I didn’t hear about it). Let me close this (already too long) piece with a few thoughts on some people (and organizations) to keep your eye on:

  • Tim Street is an amazing connector in this space. The humility in his statement above matched with his talent (that gets a nomination like that), is a rare match indeed. For the three if you who don’t know him already, get to know Tim. He’s much bigger than the French Maids.
  • Lee Gibbons is at a fascinating place as well. The Gigavox acquisition and Lee’s careful positioning and networking has placed Podango in a place to watch. They have a long hard journey ahead of them in integrating it all (correctly) but if they pull it off, watch out.
  • Craig Syverson of Grunt Media is also someone to keep in mind when your ponder who “new media” fits into the bigger picture of “media” in general. If you don’t have an answer to this question, you will fail in this space and I’d dare suggest Craig has the best answer I’ve heard yet.
  • The Ninja Guys sometimes get confused with the comedy they produce. Their model is reproducible, they have proven the power of RSS, they’re still approachable, and they still make me (and each other) laugh. How many people can you think of that can do that in this day and age?
  • Gary Leland of Podcast Pickle has three things that every Podcasting company would kill for: 1) a solid database of Podcasts that haven’t faded, 2) the rockstar like admiration of Podcasters world-wide and, 3) a constant flow of UGC (user generated content) in his new reviews section. What does he know that tens of millions in v.c. money still haven’t been able to figure out yet?
  • Tim Bourquin is the ONLY person in Podcasting and/or New Media that got us all in the same place for the same weekend. Yes, he’s doing this to pay the bills but without weekends like the one I had last, I’d be much further away from paying mine.

The Flash countdown timer at New Media Expo tells me there are 313 days until the next Expo. I wonder how many words I’ll add to this blog when that one is done.

What a weekend. Thank you everyone for making it my best Expo yet.

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