June 12, 2007

FOOA: Selling versus schooling, the great presentation debate

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539548504_f3b9ac01a3.jpgAs stated before, new conferences can often be hit or miss until they define themselves and their audience more over time. A debate that kept being raised among numerous FOOA attendees concerned how many of the presenters were selling their services versus educating the audience beyond their portfolios. Carla Hendra presented Ogilvy case studies on 'The most effective online ads – why some make it and others don't', without exploring much beyond the proverbial bubble. Jay Adelson of Digg provided some over-arching context about the realm of advertising in video content and some equally refreshing well-designed PowerPoint slides, but spent a lot of time discussing his involvement in Revision3.

Admittedly, speakers are booked due to the interest people have in what they're currently involved in. At the same time, some of the panels were booked under over-arching titles that could have been drilled down more. Other debates arose, such as if the conference was more about media optimization or truly grasping the social media space. Despite preferences, these debates sparked discussions, which are the true meat to any conference.

Photos from FOOA and the trip to New York can be viewed here.


I went to Event Design this year in NYC and it was probably 50/50... some really good presentations and sessions but also some "here's my portfolio" kind of sessions too. Hillman Curtis and Tronic were the best. I guess it's to be expected with the newer conferences -- I'm still trying to pick out my 3 or 4 for the year. Check out my website for more info on.... kidding!

From the same organisers, the Future of Web Design one-day conference in London suffered a similar fate of service pitches over education.

Big Spaceship (a hotshot advertising/media company from what I care to remember) stood up for 40 minutes and introduced themselves. I was waiting all the way through for the introduction to stop and the content to begin.

There're always some good slots that redeem the day, of course, but it's telling when the two as-advertised sponsor slots (from Microsoft and Adobe) are more informative, interesting and education than some of the paid speakers.

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