Thoughts on SIC 2013

Photo via Admosis Media

Photo via Admosis Media

The 2013 Seattle Interactive Conference wrapped up today. This is my second year attending. While I think the organizers have the makings of a decent conference on their hands, with a few tweaks, I think it could be great. Here’s my unsolicited advice:

1. Crack down on marketing in the talks
XOXO down south has a pretty strict no-marketing rule in this regard, as do some other conferences. I don’t know that SIC has to be quite as strict, but I shouldn’t be subjected to talks that consist almost entirely of the speaker’s case studies or demo reel. Or worse, a talk that’s quite literally a sales pitch. Tell me something I can’t learn by reading your website.

2. Vary the time limits
An hour is too long for most speakers. Most talks either ended after 30 minutes or should have, even with Q&A. IXDA does a nice job of including 15-minute slots for younger speakers along with 45-60 minute slots for more established folks.

3. Ease off on the theme
The theme of the conference was “transparency.” How do I know? Because nearly every speaker bent over backwards to weave the word into their title or presentation. It felt forced (for the most part). The curator’s job is to select the theme and then pick talks that play off it in interesting ways. Instead I felt like I was being clubbed over the head.

4. Figure out what you want to be when you grow up
The website claims that SIC is about “the convergence of online technology, creativity, and emerging trends in one of the world’s most innovative cities.” To me it felt like it was mostly about online marketing. Which is fine! I work in online marketing and I’ve got no qualms with it. But maybe we should rename it the Seattle Interactive Marketing Conference and just own up to what it is.

5. Try fewer speakers
Instead of having 6-7 speakers every hour for three straight days, start with 3-4 speakers every hour for 2 days.  Improve the signal-to-noise ratio with better content.  A 2-day conference is totally respectable!

See you in 2014!