Monday, October 18, 2010

The Information Scientists

After a dreadful flight, I arrived in New York's JFK in the cold, grey dawn. I took a taxi to the Plaza (actually, the Crowne Plaza) and threw myself upon the mercy of the check-in receptionist, who managed to snag me a room extra early. Thank God for small favors and low occupancy rates.

Seth and I agreed to meet at four at the conference center, so I managed to regain the sleep I'd lost and catch up on some introductions I needed to make between conference attendees. A little boy about my son's age had been ill on the flight, and I had that 'uh oh' feeling in my stomach, which meant it was possibly contagious. Still, I managed to eat lunch and pull myself together before meeting my colleague.

I greeted Seth, who seemed his usual chipper self, and I was glad to see he was so calm. He had the tough part - worrying about no-show speakers or missing presentation files. My job was to make sure the logistics of check-in and who needed to be where, and also to make sure our sponsors had everything they needed to ensure the event met their visibility and business opportunity needs. I met videographer 'don't call me Charline' Charlie, and I liked her instantly for her warm demeanor and quirky personality.

After we surveyed the center and determined everything was in order, we met the conference attendees for drinks. I met Dr. David Geddes, who I'd interviewed for the Smart Blog, and greeted my friends and colleagues, Marshall Sponder, who's now writing a book, as well as Michelle Manafy from Information Today, and Guillaume Mazieres from Temis, a company I once pitched business to while I was at SentiMetrix. Guillaume always made time for me and was always charming. Michelle and I got to know each other in Scottsdale at her eContent conference, and she quipped to Seth that because that they had 'competing' conferences, they were now 'Frienemies'.

I love this crowd. When you bring together brilliant people who are passionate about what they do, you get excitement, new ideas, and ways to make the workplace better. I see a gap between what has to happen on the consumer side and the side of the inventors. I've worked for a company in which technology was designed, and then I marketed it. Technology in search of a problem is always challenging. Market Development (like this conference) and Business Development have to occur hand-in-hand.

Our real challenge, collectively, is going to be to consider the viewpoints of the different constituencies represented here at the conference. From IT to Business Development to content creators to curators, we need to listen to each other and try to speak the same language.

More to come...

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