Thank god I think I avoided the picture takers to a large extent. At least anyone at the various parties.... I know there is a pic of me on the Arbitrage panel floating around which shows I did do some real work.
And Barry Schwartz aka RustyBrick took one of me in the limo on the way to the Google party - hey SEW mods need to travel in style - they pay us enough!
I got in early Monday morning and was at the convention center before noon - signed in and caught a couple of panels. They added a retail section and though I did not attend any, the feedback I got from a bunch of people seemed very positive. I am looking forward to the Financial Services SES in London at the end of October.
The Arbitrage panel was interesting - though Kim Malone from Google did not really want to address the cost to regular PPC advertisers the 'inactive' push of bids was having.
I actually had a bunch of people say they would liked that to have been discussed a little more deeply. But in fairness to Kim it is not her area - the PPC guys should have been there to address it.
Eric Schmidt's Q&A with Danny on Wednesday morning was informative if generalised. Seems his lawyers had prepped him well on what areas he could not discuss. He did, however, give some insights into the future of Google and the web in general - and Danny's joke about having the Google implant may not be that far off. They were handing out cell boosters and the running joke was they may be monitoring our phone calls if we use them!!!
The numbers at the Google party - which is now one of the big after session draws of the event - were impressive, but I was told all employees from Google HQ were invited for the first time this year - which accounts for all the young people wearing the light blue Google Dance T-shirts. I actually talked to one woman (must have been very early 20s) and when I excused myself saying I was going to talk to the engineers I heard her say as I walked off "what I could not be an engineer!" - sorry but I would have wagered quite a bit that you were not one.
SES is as much, if not more, about networking. Old friends who only exchange comments on forums or emails and the occasional phone call got to reconnect and enjoy the good weather in the outside beer gardens - the early Wednesday night session with the guys from Text Link Ads, Aaron Wall, the infamous SugarRae and sundry others was really entertaining even if the topics were a little off the SES scope. Well maybe just not main stream! Thanks for the couple of hours of laughs guys!
As usual the people from WebSideStory were out in force - I think you guys should now have information about my drinking habits to do a thorough analysis!
The T-shirt marketing campaign of Best of the Web has reached epic proportions. Every time I thought I had found Brian or Greg at the Google party it turned out to be someone else wearing their shirts. They were nearly as prevalent as Google T-Shirts!!! Hope there are plenty of pics of women in the small bikini strapped tees! I know Rae was wearing hers on Wednesday night.
The only downside of the event was getting home. The terrorists had to pick Wednesday night to be rounded up....
Feel free to add pics here guys and thanks for all the informative conversations!