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IMW 2015 or How to make an (un)interesting presentation

I’ve just attended for the fourth (I guess) year in a row the biggest Romanian conference on Internet and mobile. Bigger and bigger each year, I always had a love-hate relationship with Internet and Mobile World. At the beginning I say that it’s not interesting and it’s probably the last year I will attend, but then a few presentations and exhibitors change my mind. This year was no different.

I read lately a Dale Carnegie book and he was saying that if you want to sell something you shouldn’t talk about you and your product, but about the customer need. Nothing but true. In this idea, I saw some really boring presentations. First of all, some of them were given by managers or CEOs. I don’t have something against CEOs, but let’s get one thing straight. They got there, not because they know how to captivate the audience, but because they know how to run a business. Unfortunately, some managers, as soon as they become managers they also instantly gain access to the entire world knowledge and become proficient in every skill known to mankind. No! Again, they became managers because they recognized talent and they knew how to acquire it into their business. They should do the same here – get someone else to give a really interesting and captivating presentation.

I understand that you want to brag about what cool things are you creating and how good your company is doing. But, me in the audience, I’m also doing cool things. And if I’m not, I probably hate you. Or I simply don’t care about it. You don’t care either about my needs or interests, why shouldn’t this be a fair relationship?

I can easily get a financial report, projection or a product/service portfolio from any company website. So don’t come and present long and boring slides about any of these topics. But if you talk to me about any of my needs and interests and then slowly you introduce me on how a new technology can help me you can arouse my curiosity. And now that you got me, you can also happen to mention about your cool and innovative product that is the incarnation of that technology. And don’t make any false claims, either on the product or your expertise on the field. If I realized it and I will surely do, if I’m interested on the subject, taking into account the multiple channels of gathering information nowadays, then I will drop your presentation like a rotten apple. As a shadow of doubt, at the very best, felt on its entirety.

High level managers of large corporations, which they haven’t evolve from startups, usually tend to have a results oriented presentation. Whoa! I did not pay a ticket to came and make your business here. I got it – your company is the greatest and I think we established that already. Developers on the other hand tend to lose themselves in small technical details – I even saw slides of code in front of a general audience. Whoa again! I did not came here to work. I came to get fresh ideas, new contacts, to see where the market (not a company or product) sits as a whole. So you better arouse me, show me something cool, interesting, spiced with clear use cases. Walk in my shoes and show me a road to your product, but an interesting road.

Few presentations were like this, but those that were, they felt in the interesting area, even though I knew some of their content. And for God’s sake, speak loudly and in no way in a monotone voice. And if you don’t master English better ask your audience if you can do your presentation in your mother tongue.

I also need to highlight an interesting idea materialized in a cool product by a Romanian company. Altom built a robot that by using two motors and a camera was able to automate testing on real(!) devices like cameras and tablets. Using the camera it was recognizing images and then it was able to move on XY axis and tap on the device. And you could write your testing scenarios directly from your IDE, just like a Selenium test case! I would vote them as the most innovative product on this fair.

In general, the market trends seemed to be streaming and video on mobile and Internet of Things. Robotics seemed to be catching on, but this was always the case with this field for years and years, having spikes, but never really becoming mainstream. Indeed, in different forms and shapes they already entered our life, but not at the expectancy that SF fans always hoped. Cloud moved more to a mainstream level, which is kind of the case. I would definitely not think today of creating my own infrastructure, no matter the size of the project or company.

So, all in all, IMW 2015 wasn’t a waste of time with some, not majority, interesting presentations and exhibitors. Will I go next year? Will see :).

Categories: Technology
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