RSA 2009 – It was a long week

26Apr09

As many of you are aware, I spent last week in San Francisco attending the RSA Conference.  My blog qualifies for press creds which makes whether or not to attend a no brainer.  I am planning to break down bits and pieces of the conference over the next few days of blogging but here are some quick observations.

Attendance was down this year from previous.  Due to the economy this shouldn’t have been much of a surprise to anyone.  I don’t have any hard numbers but one RSA staffer mentioned 12k attendees this year compared to 17k last year.

Being as how I was there with press creds I felt obligated to talk with LOTS of vendors, afterall without them spending tons of cash for booths, parties, and advertising we wouldn’t be having this conference.  The vibe from vendors I spoke with was mixed.  On one side of the spectrum they were complaining about lower traffic and lack of interest from attendees but on the other side of the spectrum some vendors were claiming this to be the most successful conference they have ever been to (some citing deals being inked on the show floor).

I registered as Press but listed my employer on the badge.  This caused much confusion on behalf of the vendors.  When I asked a question they seemed conflicted with how to answer me, wanting to know if I am asking as a member of the press, an investor, or a potential client.  This should not be a major concern to a vendor when you are asked to give me your elevator pitch.  Next year I plan to keep it press oriented only.

The sessions I attended were good and were worth my time.  I wish there were sessions going on during keynotes so that you had a choice.  With that said I realize the vendors giving keynotes are paying mucho dollars to on stage and as a result the conference organizers want to make sure people attend.  And whats up with the Expo floor not opening until 11am….come on!

As with any conference some of the most interesting knowledge is picked up outside of the conference walls.  I was fortunate to meet up with some great people this trip for meals, drinks, parties, briefings, and even elevator rides.  I have lots to follow up on with these folks and some great ideas.

Last but not least I am glad to be home.  Echoed by many:  It was a long week.

–DanO

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