Some topline observations after observing the conference's general mood and a good deal of the Day One content: 1) There are still plenty of people left over from Dot Com Boom Part One who would like nothing more than to hitch a startup to the latest Internet fad and sell for millions. Not that there's anything wrong with that. Unless you don't have the knowledge or substance to back up what you're saying and promising. If I hear about one more business that has something to do with blogging or "Consumer-Generated Content" without having any idea what the blogging movement is all about, I'm going to have a conniption.
2) Let's see. How can I say this without it seeming self-serving? Well maybe I'll just say it... I am once again amazed by the number of people at big ad agencies who get credit for ideas originally put forth by individuals or small ad agencies. I can't tell you how many times I saw a quote in a Powerpoint presentation from some high-profile agency exec and thought to myself, "Gee, I think I heard Dave Smith talking about that a year ago," or "I wrote a column about this six months ago." And there's the idea, attributed to someone at Carat or OMD or Publicis or whatever.
3) I can't believe how much the blogging movement, podcasting, and general interactivity is being dissed here. It would be really easy to walk out of here believing that people are still just consumers to marketers - numbers in buckets on a spreadsheet. And that's because people here are citing flawed stats to try to convince us that blogging isn't as big as people say it is, or that few people will ever listen to a podcast, or that it's only a tiny vocal minority that ever expresses their opinions online. They'd also like us to believe that it's okay to fake involvement and engagement with people, that emerging media are simply broadcast playgrounds within which advertisers can broadcast messages until they find a model that "works." This kind of thinking is going to kill us.
4) All that said, there's a lot of enthusiasm in the room.
5) I've been pronouncing the name of that new Publicis agency all wrong. It's "De-NOO," not "DEN-you-oh," like I had been saying it. Whatever.