Where Will You Be May 9th?

February 15, 2008 – 3:01 pm

Well I know where both Chris Rue and I will be. 

How about you?  It’s not too late to register for one of the best SMB community focused, non-infomercial events of the year.  See you there!

  1. 3 Responses to “Where Will You Be May 9th?”

  2. Does Redmond know about your hostility toward sponsors?

    they do now…whoa!

    By Harry Brelsford on Feb 17, 2008

  3. Gosh Harry,
    Since you commented publicly I guess I should answer the same. For clarification I was not digging any paticular events with the infomercial comment, but comparing it to the likes of CMP, Gartner and Comptia’s events. While those events are great to attend if you are in the “channel”, you know you are being envited to 1-3 days of sales pitches. I continue to believe that the NOLA event is one of the top 3 community events (SMB Summit and SMB Nation both tie with NOLA depending on where you are in your business). Does that clarify? Sorry for any confusion. ;-)

    By Mark on Feb 18, 2008

  4. I am quite happy that this is being discussed in public, it’s refreshing that you’ve chosen to address it in front of people that may have the wrong notion (driven by misleading advertising) of the infomercials and hostility towards sponsors.

    So, let’s consider some widely known facts and compare them with the nuances of the English language. I am not an author so I will defer to the two gentlemen to correct me if I am misinterpreting the meaning here.

    First, I don’t see how Mark’s inference on the “infomercial” nature of some SMB conferences translates into him being “hostile towards sponsors”; I am also curious what the threat of Redmond finding out your misinterpretation of the above holds - should we be fearful that there is an organization in Redmond that might take action against small business owners and how they choose to spend their money? Threats tend to be two way swords though (but more on that in a minute).

    I don’t see anything threatening in Mark’s preference for an open community conference which is indeed sponsored, but focused on content, not those sponsors. Now if I were a conference organizer, and I’m not, I probably would be more concerned with the wishes of my apparent audience and its leaders, not running to threaten them at showing preference for someone that has apparently satisfied them more.

    Now, the infomercials.

    Interesting beasts, aren’t they? Shows put together for the sole purpose of selling you something. Shameless promotional pieces that are paid for by the manufacturer to overstate the product benefits, captivate the audience and convert their consumerist impulse into making a purchase.

    Nothing wrong with that. God bless America. God bless the opportunity, the commerce and the ability to make money from people that are interested but just unaware of all the benefits.

    But funny thing, infomercials tend to have severe warnings leading in and exiting the infomercial spot, such as, “THE FOLLOWING/PRECEEDING ARE NOT THE OPINIONS OF THE STATION. RESULTS MAY VARY, RESULTS NOT TYPICAL. THE SHOW IS PRODUCED BY XYZ CORPORATION FOR THE PURPOSE OF SELLING YOU ABC PRODUCT.”

    Now, let me go through my marketing junk from last years famous conference…

    It claims to be a community conference, yet every year less and less MVPs are presenting content while the audiences are hearded into the slots sold to Microsoft, sold to the vendors that sponsor the magazine, or lead by people who magically become authors / distribute books through the conference organizers publishing company.

    It claims to be peer oriented. Funny how it doesn’t mention that half the conference is outright sold to a Microsoft sales team. It also doesn’t appear to say anything about how the vendors paid five figure sums to present to the audience under the auspice of it being real content and not infomercial. Misleading in spirit, title and intent.

    It claims to be about turning small business opportunities into profits. I am trying to find the section that talks about people being left at the hotel because the bus lines were cut off hard to entice the paid attendees to come in and spend more time with the vendors. It also doesn’t seem to cover the people eating in parking lots, wet soccer fields, hallways while the vendors get free reign over anything not monopolized by another vendor.

    Now Mark is certainly wrong. Infomercials are free, they warn the viewer that what they are seeing is not reality, not typical, and not very likely. I don’t see the prominent conference doing any of that, and while its legitimacy may be in shambles, it may be interesting to consider the legality of such conferences or perhaps the “community” of the people that were clearly taken advantage of into making some sort of a claim for the attendance refunds.

    I wonder if Redmond is aware of that, I wonder if there are any vocal people willing to give it a shot.

    Maybe we won’t find out, the threats do seem to sound so nasty……


    By Vlad Mazek on Feb 18, 2008

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