The Digital Media Festival Singapore happened on 31st October 2008. The theme was Television 2.0 (I thought 2.0s were out!)- or broadly-Internet/web driven audio visual content. I am posting about it a day later- like to spend some time on my posts. I slog on my blog (Bad one!)
Since the event was topical to my blog, and from their website it looked like a professional and cool event, I sent them an email asking for an invite (frankly never actually expecting a reply). Guess what? Wonder of wonders- I did get an invite. Thanks to William Claxton (from Itr8 I think) and the PR agency Text 100 (Thanks Su Min for the arrangements) . A bit late though, because by the time I got the confirmation. I had fixed another engagement. But since they took that effort, and the event was of interest, I did visit and attend for most part except morning sessions.
Overall the event was well organized (a little difficulty finding the location but eventually turned out a good place). The itinerary included conference, exhibitions (mobile content and game showcase) and fringe programmes- though the conference was the big draw for me. Missed the film festival though- but noticed they put up some previews online here. These are made for internet movies/documentaries.
Here are some candid moments from the event (taken from my Fuji Finepix). Please wait for a while to load (it’ll be worth it!) For the impatient- click here
There were promotional stalls in the corridor (with not- so-very enthusiastic reps)- blackberry, zapcode (I blogged about this service in Jan 2007), IBM, siemens, ST electronics… et al are some that I remember. The babe at the Epsilon stall *sarcastically* enquired whether I blogged on technology. I had a good mind explaining- but then better sense prevailed- if it did not matter to her to explain the company’s offerings or demonstrate the product to a prospective customer- it does not matter to me either.
Yes dear- I am a blogging enthusiast and in my day jobs, have dealt with multi million dollar media budgets for some Fortune 500 companies. I also look for and blog on technology solutions that aid marketing. But sorry I don’t know what are Epsilon’s USPs and might settle for some other solution if the need comes. My bad luck.
Anyways back to the Digital Media Festival- and some things I liked and some that I felt could have been better.
Top things I liked about the event:
1.‘Different’ content- though some discussion topics were hinging on being dangerously hackneyed, most of the content was not very repetitive (as compared to some other events I’ve been to).One also got a perspective of producers/content creators, marketers and PR practitioners combined- which is different from the advertising centric conversations that end up happening at some of these gigs.
2.Networking: Met very different kind of professionals and domain experts. *Never* get that in most media/advertising conferences, I always get to meet pretty much the same people. Everyone is bloody trying to sell something- and in your face.
3.Mark Laudi- the host for the entire event- usually there are different ‘moderators’ for different panel discussions, but this event had the same host for the entire event- and I am not complaining- informed, witty, spontaneous, voice, stage presence- he had it all. (Mark is an award winning journalist and CEO of Hong Bao media) Actually just did a search for him and got this. No surprise then right? He is a professional.Either which ways.
4. Food! Holy jumping bananas. I got *fugging* veg bee hoon. And vegetables! (there was more though). I finally get to *eat* at a conference. I usually end up munching bread and butter, being a vegetarian (or embarrassingly request for some veggie food beforehand). Evening cocktail was nice as well. (hic!)
5. The last panel discussion (I am uploading an almost full version- almost 1 gig of data)- Web 2.0 and building Online communities. The individual presentations were also great, though the video does not feature them. Again taken from my Fuji FinePix. Notice there is minimal shaking though I was holding the camera in my hand the entire time.(just placement disorientation sometimes)
6. I met so bloody many of fellow bloggers and internet influencers from Singapore. I have many of them in my social network buddy lists, and follow blogs/tweets of many, but the opportunity to meet them and see them in action was awesome. Some of them are prolific bloggers and really take their stuff seriously.Some mentions:
- Claudia was furiously blogging/reporting real time- super stuff.
- Hu Shunjie: Flex developers group leader (right?) and was a panel member as well. He did some backstage interviews at the event which can be seen if you follow the link to his blog.
- Preetam Rai: Preetam what you do is my dream job. Travel, eat, attend conferences (read parties), make friends, make merry- and teach. What the fug!
- Jonathan Wong: He did not attend the event as a blogger, but he does blog, and going through it, he might as well have. He was a panelist and had the best babes in his presentation (anyone who followed the content please send me- though I doubt there will be many). As his introduction went- he was probably the only guy working with Microsoft who did not have a revenue target. Jonathan- you also do what Preetam does- but you probably get paid shitloads. I think my dream job just changed in one paragraph!
- Derrick Kwa: Derrick you are one of the few spirited youths I have met. Lots to learn from you. Good work and keep it up.
- Walter Lim: Walter- great to meet you in person. Missed your speech in podcamp though.
- Pat: Loved your writing style and great to meet you. Very creative business card. BTW Your site says it is down now- and will be up again when you are feeling *fugged* (with the right spellings) again. Whew!
- DK: Did not get to know you much. Should catch up sometime.
Many came armed- cool gears- not only digital (Macs, iphones galore- and mics, webcams abound) but analogue- really cool business cards. They have some really cool business cards and just *loved* Pat’s – which was quite original.Spent a lot of time with Shunjie and Preetam and rest of the gang. Derryl is an 18 year old blogger blogging about being remarkable- at his age, that’s exactly what makes him remarkable.
7. The Influencer engagement and use of social media: The organizers had live tweets tweetcasting stuff and of course had a facebook account et al. Bloggers were engaged and platforms provided for live blogging at the best positions. Though there was more scope of what I call GermFeed.
I also noticed PR agencies abound in this conference- and that was a change- maybe because most festivals/events that I am a part of, are either too big to notice all professionals (like Effies) or they are primarily advertising focused (umm Lions… Effies…Hall of fame…Media awards, you get the idea). You get basically *one* view of marketing communications, and since the era of Integrated communications/marketing is knocking hard on our work-desks, this was a good insight into the Public relations professionals.
Things I felt could be improved:
- The format- the panel discussions had 4-5 members each- and before the discussions they had a 5 minute slot to speak. That took like 25-30 minutes- including introduction. Now that left- like 2-3 discussion topics for the members- by the time the discussion heated up, it was time to wrap up. Would’ve preferred a more intro on-the-go followed by a hard-core debate. The guys were passionate about their companies or their vocation- either give them time to present or give them ample time to discuss.
- More participation from the audience. The usual speakers concern. Singaporeans are not a very vocal lot- and no not even the marketing folks it seems. Why- not even us bloggers (including myself)- we are not journalists to merely cover the event- we needed to participate virtually as well as on the ground. But then maybe again- because too little time to get into the heat of the debate.
- In the first case, the foreplay was too long- by the time the actual stuff happened, the mood was gone. In the latter case, the foreplay ended even before the warming up.
I did not have a business card so did not get to win an Iphone or a blackberry (damn- can someone give me the details of a creative business card designer?) but it was a day well spent- meeting good people, having good food- both for the palate and for the thought.