Corporate Rock & Roll Tours to CeBIT

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I spent the first 10 years of my adult life playing bass and touring with bands. So now every time I go somewhere for more than a day I can’t help calling it a tour. “A weekend in Ipswich? Woo Hoo! We’re going on tour.”

TRAVEL + HOTEL = TOUR

Although my days of foot-on-foldback-wedge rock moves are over and I am now up to my ears in the corporate world, going away for a conference or seminar is still a tour to me. It has all the ingredients. It still contains a trip to a place other than the one I live in and a hotel of some sort, although now the hotels at least have sheets. I still love touring.

The latest tour was CeBIT Australia. “What’s that?” you ask. To be honest, I’m not sure. Our office administrator thinks CeBIT is a small part of a famous racehorse. I quizzed everyone I met and nobody there knew what it meant.

I’ll tell you what it means. It’s German for ‘Festival of the Geeks’. Cebit is the second largest collection of geeks in the world, only to be topped by a Star Trek convention. Even a Dr Who convention doesn’t come close! (See side note)

Now, why would we want to hang out with a bunch of geeks I hear you ask? Because CeBIT is Australia’s largest IT and web trade show with 35,173 visitors and 753 exhibitors and we were one of those exhibitors.

(Note: When I say geek it’s not a completely derogatory term because technically, I am one)

Festival of the Geeks

CeBIT is aimed directly at business owners who need serious IT, communications, navigation or web technologies. It’s a great way to meet specialist vendors and gain a good understanding of the available technologies by talking to several similar vendors within the same day.

Of particular note was the Queensland ICT stand with some of Brisbane’s finest CMS providers – CMS Advantage, Imagin8 and hosting heavyweight Server 101.

There was a BloggerZone, which is just like an Internet cafe but with beanbags. Panasonic also had a 40 millionish inch plasma screen on display and there were more mobile gadgets than you could poke a router at.

Search engine marketing seemed to be the thang at CeBIT this year. From AdWords and SEO to search marketing analysis, they were there in droves. It seems everyone has a solution, a glimmer of light in a dense and scary forest. In my mind, however, there is only one shining beacon and it’s Bruce Clay.

We held our own in the web apps section and had plenty of in-depth conversations and discovered some very exciting projects. We were one of a few dedicated web applications developers at the conference and enjoyed hearing about the myriad of business niches that are appearing as a result of all this cutting edge technology. I was also comforted by the fact that we don’t wear our Google logo on our sleeve, so to speak. We don’t speak geek and didn’t meet too many trade show punters that did either. They just wanted solid online business advice and I think we managed to give it to them.

The Rock Section

Our lead developer (also a fine guitarist) joined us for two days. He quickly found the PlayStation game ‘Guitar Hero’ and clocked it while Jason gave the drum version a good seeing to. Lucy from Imagin8 slayed the Yahoo! yodelling competition, plaits and all, but was gypped at the last minute by some charity-case who’d been there every day torturing everyone within earshot.

After all, it wouldn’t be a tour without music. Maybe we should get a band together and play at CeBIT next year. We could call ourselves ‘11000101101’ or something equally as catchy.

Encore

We met lots of fantastic people and thanks to everyone that made the week so interesting, especially our neighbours from CognitionECM who kept the laughs rolling long after I lost all feeling in my feet from standing all day.

We are now ploughing through all the leads collected over the week and contacting everyone to see how we can help. I think we will be in Sydney fairly regularly from now on.

Will we be back at CeB

IT in 2009? I hope so. It was a real blast and a great learning experience. And that yodelling competition will be mine next year, oh yes, it will be mine.

Afterthought …

What does CeBIT really mean? CeBIT is German for “Centrum der Buero und Informationstechnik.” In other words, The Center for Office and Information Technology.

Side note:

Speaking of Dr Who, I met someone that should have had his own show at CeBIT alongside the Yahoo! yodelling competition. He told me that he plays SudokWho. It is the same game as Sudoku except instead of using the numbers 1 to 9 you use images of the nine Dr Who characters. You have to know them in order to be able to play. Now that’s an A-Grade geek!

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