Portable Media Expo 2006 Thoughts

You may remember that I had some concerns about attending Tim and Emille’s Portable Media Expo 2006. After last year, I just wasn’t sure if there would be enough business payback to make it worthwhile. Well, through a combination of canny money saving tricks (such as realising that it was stupidly cheaper to pay for a handful of air miles to get the flight tickets for under $100 return from Scotland to California) and following some of my basic business rules (make sure you are seen and are remembered at industry events, don’t burn bridges, and always always be watching and listening for business/intel) I made the decision to go.

Looking at my list of accomplishments (some of which will become public over the next month or so), if you had offered these to me before I left, then I (and Cameron over at TPN) would probably have bitten the hand holding out the list. So in a practical sense, value achieved and mission accomplished.

Yet I still have a heavy heart. I’m trying to work out what it is, and I think it’s the sheer amount of posturing that went on at the event. I’m as much to blame about this as the next person, talking up the achievements over the last year, while hiding all the MacGyvering that holds the back room stuff together. And everyone else is probably doing the same. Except I only see what they present, and I’m kicking myself and asking why we can’t be doing what they’re doing – emotionally ignoring all the things that we at TPN do that others probably kick themselves for not doing.

Let me stress that this is not a reflection on the event. Socially it was an absolute blast, once you worked out who was who. There were a number of blind or partially sighted attendees, and I think they had the advantage in spotting who was from which podcast. I was on one of the side panels, run at the iProng / LA Podcasters booth. It was, rather appropriatly, on music on pocasting, and I was joined by CC Chapman and Slau. I’ve a stack of cards and contacts to go through now I’m home to say hi and accquaint myself with a whole raft of new podcasts. It was great to catch with a huge number of people – it’s almost like having my Skype list around the pool (and as last year, big thanks to Dave Slusher for sorting the final night Barbecue).

PME is running next year (and over three days, which is going to be… fun), again at the end of September (28th-30th). There are a number of challenges that are going to need to be adddressed, and I think the main one is going to be the growing divergence between the social events in the evening, and the big businesses that are doing the conferencing and schmoozing during the day. If they can be kept in a close orbit, then it’s gonna be a good three days.