Mike Grehan says...

Random musings about search marketing, flying around the planet, networking and people watching.

Monday, November 28, 2005

Day 3 - Nothing could be finer than to be in, er... China.

So, this is it, the first day of the very first ad:tech conference in China.

As moderator for ad:tech sessions, you become very much the manager. It occurs to me that, I was moderator at an excellent session at ad:tech New York and didn't blog anything at all. Not just about the session, I mean the entire conference (which was HUGE!).

So I should pop in a quick thanks to my panel which was trimmed down to two, on the day. Greg Sterling from the Kelsey Group and Dana Todd from Sitelab International. Both extremely professional speakers and both did a marvellous job.

Okay, so, here we are back at ad:tech, Shanghai. As I mentioned, as moderator you become manager of the session. So there's a lot of background work which involves a number of conference calls before the event.

This one has been the most difficult to organise because of geographical locations. For part of the time, I was in the UK. James Mi, Google's head of Asia Product and Strategy is a panellist and he's in California. Harry Tsao, founder of Smarter.com is already in China (opening his new office) and Stephen Noton, my other panellist is in Singapore.

Trying to get us all on the phone at the same time is a nightmare. Eventually, after a few short conversations with Stephen Noton, at midnight or some other ungodly hour in Singapore, I decide to give up and go for a physical meeting in Shanghai.

Our session is on the first day, so I arrange for us all to get together for breakfast. This turns out to be very convenient as James Mi had arranged to meet Johnny Chou, Google's newly appointed President, Sales and Business Development, Greater China, at breakfast, also.

My close pal Bill Hunt, of Global Strategies (and author of Search Engine Marketing Inc - buy it NOW!) also joins us. This proves to be very useful too. As both he and Harry Tsao feel that they are on the wrong panels. Harry spends a fortune on paid search, so he should really be on Shak's panel. And Bill is one of the world's leading experts in search engine optimisation.

So, I have a quick word with Vicky Wong (conference organiser) and the delicious Susan Bratton (conference chair) and we're sorted. Harry joins Shak and Bill joins my team.

Shak's session on paid search is before mine.

I can't really blame Shak directly for letting his session go a full ten minutes over time (and eating ten minutes into my session). But I wish he'd had the umbrella to hook around the neck of Terrance Ou, of search marketing firm, Zunch.

Not only did Terrence decide to do his presentation in Chinese, he turned it into a non stop commercial for Zunch services, both paid and organic. Of course, Zunch was one of the major sponsors, so I guess he felt he could get away with it!

Maaan, I almost fell asleep.

So we glide through my session. I started with a little gag about the Rolex men being employed by the Shanghai local authority to roam the streets looking for foreign visitors to give them free welcome gifts, such as Rolex watches, DVD players and even a free massage.

I notice from the look on the faces of the English speakers in the audience, that they get the joke. However, I'd completely forgotten that the conference is very much united nations style, with non English speakers wearing headphones listening to instant translations. The bemused look on those faces tells me to drop the gags and do this one straight.

The session seems to have been a great success. The speakers were excellent and members of the Microsoft/MSN contingent are keen to gather together in the corridor for an extended Q&A.


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