I know, it’s pretty late talking about the SMX Madrid 2009 but I would like to share a few impressions anyhow.
This was my first ever time at an official SMX event and I was really happy that my company let me attend the event, despite the recesssion. I wasn´t really sure what to expect to be honest but I reckon in comparison to the events in London or in the states, the SMX Madrid is a lot smaller scale event. Other conference visitors who had been at the event in 2008 said that this year’s participation must have been only about 1/3 or even 1/4 of the previous years’ . So the recession took its turn quite a bit this year.
At first I was a little bit worried about the event being carried out completely in Spanish, although I understand a lot more than I speak, but most of the keynote speakers did their talks in English.
The keynote speakers included
- Barney Pell from Powerset, a Microsoft company
- Russell E. Perry, from 123People
- Faisal Galaria, Ex-Director of Kayak
- Sara Holoubek, presiden of SEMPO, who filled in for Julio Fernandez
Sara Holoubek, a very charismatic public speaker, kept the crowd awake talking a lot about social media. Twitter was a big buzz word throughout the 2 day event.
Barney Pell introduced Bing, the “decision making” search engine, which certainly had a couple of features I liked, for example that a video would start playing by hovering over it, rather clicking on it. Apart from that I don’t think it will take off the way Microsoft will hope for, although a massive marketing budget was made available for the launch.
Russell E. Perry introduced 123people, a website designed purely for “spying” on People. When making a search for a person, it returns anything from pictures to social networking profiles of that person, including email addresses. The question of privacy was obviously raised and Perry assured that the site only contains links to the various websites where personal content is been entered but realisticly people require to take care of their own privacy. If your email address is publicly available somewhere, it will appear on the 123people website. I think it’s a great way of managing your own “brand”.
My favourite 2 speakers, and I am probably a bit biased there, as I used to work with them at Bigmouthmedia, were Andrew Girdwood and Susana Inarejos. Andrew shared some really great insights and stats in terms of search behaviour in different countries, whereas Susana talked about synergy between SEO and PPC, which I think is so often overlooked but yet so important.
My overall verdict: I think the SMX Madrid is certainly valuable for people who work in-House or are still fairly new to search. Main bonus of these events is that they are a great place for networking.
Madrid is beautiful as well, so it’s definitely worth going but I have my heart set on going to the SMX Advanced in Seattle next year. Let’s see whether I manage.