I’ve enjoyed Pubcon Las Vegas and I’m looking forward to the big bash today to wrap it all up. Still, for the first time I’m leaving with a feeling of the growing disconnect between the really neat developments in Silicon Valley I’ve been seeing at Dave and Doug’s Mashup and Startup Camps and what the mostly SEO focused and new business folks are up to here.
(Notable exception was Lawrence’s RateitAll.com presentation which was excellent and addressed several key points like the coming Gadget/Widget revolution and user content challenges and opportunities). He’s in SF so I think he “gets it” more than a lot of the folks here who seem stuck in what have become “old school” concepts of highly manipulative SEO work, link networking, arbitrage and often risky SEO tricks.
I think the big story in computing right now at many levels are the issues that surround content ownership, content use, mashups, and gadgets. Not much discussion of those here and I think that lack of awareness may come back to haunt those who don’t pay attention to the “new” internet, aka “what happened yesterday?”.
But hey, I’m in the cheap hotel so what do I know?
In Las Vegas you always have to re-orient yourself to being in a major center of the entertainment world. This week Caesar’s Palace is hosting the HBO Comedy Festival with a lot of household name comics, though major headliner Dave Chappelle has dropped out. After the HBO Comedy Festival event is “Comic Relief”, with proceeds going to Katrina victims. That’s at Caesar’s Palace on Saturday with Robin Williams, Whoopi Goldberg, and Billy Crystal.
I wandered into the promotional tent/event tonight where they are in the process of giving away cash, cars, T-shirts and cigars. AOL had a bunch of PCs with *superbly* fast internet and an espresso cart serving up whatever you liked. There were a couple of venues with “open mikes” for anybody who wanted to be a comic, but that was not going over very well. In fact I was really struck (as usual) by how events here tend to be so awash with cash that does not create a direct return on the investment. The sponsors would say these “branding” events have large indirect value but I think when we can better measure such things we’ll see how much is wasted by these approaches, especially when compared to online advertising methods.
One thing that really strikes me about Las Vegas, especially at the fanciest places, is the very high quality of customer service. Even if you are underdressed and obviously just looking around, the shopkeepers, security guards, and staff of places like Caesar’s Palace or the Bellagio are attentive and polite and even appear to be sincere. This is obviously the right way to turn a profit but ironically you’ll find inferior customer service at many mom and pop tourism joints around the USA even though they’d likely reap rewards for this as well.