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5 differences between a NY ad conference and a SF web 2.0 conference

Brief diversion… ;-)
Just a couple random observations from my first day at MIXX, which as a NYC advertising conference, is probably exactly the opposite from a SF web 2.0 conference. I used to come to these things all the time for Revenue Science, but recently I haven’t been back for a full year or so.

Some things have changed, and some haven’t.

Here’s a brief rundown on the top 5 differences:

  1. Jackets, slacks, and ties
  2. Pens and paper
  3. "CGM"
  4. Women
  5. Facebook?

Jackets, slacks, and ties
At the most superficial level, people look very different than your typical Silicon Valley conference. The number of folks that are wearing jeans here can be counted on one hand, and the youngest people are in their 30s. You would not be overdressed here wearing a full-on suit, with handkerchief and all. Just leave the ascot at home.

What you won’t see here are rows of 24-year old Web 2.0 entrepreneurs wearing jeans and flip-flops. It’s all business here, which might have to do more with advertising than NY, but either way the intersection is powerful.

Pens and paper
Another thing you won’t see if lines of people with Apple Macbook Pros and digital cameras live-blogging and surfing the internet as the speakers go. Instead, people are just writing down notes via pen and paper. (Shocking, I know)

This one was sort of unexpected – people don’t call things User Generated Content (aka UGC), they call it Consumer Generated Media (CGM). In fact, there’s a bunch of people whose titles have CGM in them. Weird!

I think ultimately, it has to do with the fact that the tech entrepreneur crowd in SF is mostly focused on creation of new inventory – they need to convince USERS to come to their site and generate content, whereas for people who are typically on the advertising site, they see these people are CONSUMERS. Either way, it’s an interesting and subtle distinction that shows the differences in perspective.

There’s a lot of women here, of all ages, all ethnicities, and all advertising job functions. ‘nuf said.

It actually took a full 3 hours for someone to finally mention Facebook. Instead, the hot topic was integrated media, aka how to handle buying media on both traditional and interactive channels. Also, video is really hot – everyone wants to figure out the right angle, and in particular they talk about how there isn’t enough "good" inventory.

And of course, what they mean by "good" inventory is stuff that’s not UGC. Er, CGM. They want well-polished content to place their media next to, where they can be sure that it won’t harm the brand.

Anyway, it was a fun day – more to come later.

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