Falling Leaves: the Ardes blog

Internet World: What’s the Point?

Ray Drainville

Last week, the greatest client in the world & I travelled to London to the Internet World exhibition. Ian asked me about whether it was worth it. Let me try to paint a picture for you:

Imagine a world where you’re selling digital services. Purely digital services—no hands-on gadgets or anything. Now imagine that to sell digital services, which of necessity work over the Internet, you’ve decided that, instead of [just] pitching on the Internet, you’ll go to an exhibition hall. Ignore the fact that this seems pointless. How do you get people to come to your stall?

  • No nonsense: Big flat computer screen & a few sweaty nerds with the stink of doom clinging to them;
  • Silly gimmicks: Ice cream, smoothies, chocolate, all for the high, high cost of enduring a sales pitch;
  • Proximity to Sensuality: Scantily-clad women! Talking to you! Example: dancing girls were dancing, unenthusiastically shouting “Wooo!” whilst in midriff shirts reading “The firewall is dead. Long live the firewall”

Now imagine an exhibition where there are talks given in different theatres. There are six overarching subjects—each with incoherently-assembled themes like “Web 2.0, Social Networking, Usability, Design & Build Theatre ”—and you only design five icons for them:

The presenters of these seminars were given 25 minutes to talk (like “How we redesigned Virgin for SEO”), but they all—to a man—decided not to give away any of their secrets. Fair enough, but reflect that these people genuinely thought this was somehow going to magically turn into a selling opportunity, simply by stating claims backed with little substantiation, just assertions.

Now imagine a group of people telling you that the greatest way to sell services is online, but decide to do it in a grey hall, having paid thousands to rent their stalls & assemble their marketing junk, as people (including yours truly) shuffle listlessly about.

Finally, the easy part: imagine that, after having walked around for hours & listened to God knows how many awful (truly, truly awful) marketing sessions, you have used your 3″ x 1.5″ notebook to fill up only 2 pages’ worth of interesting information, because that’s all it was really worth.

So, yeah, it was teh suck.