From the category archives:

Blog Business Summit Report

Dear Des: Why the Old Blog Business Summit is Dead, Long Live the New BBS

by Steve Broback on August 29, 2007

Thankfully, blogging gurus such as Des Walsh have posted and emailed me about the mixed signals we’ve been sending about the status of the BBS conference. After reading the commentary, it’s obvious that our position needs to be better communicated.

A little background info may help. Since 1991, I’ve been hosting conferences on a myriad of publishing and Web topics. The last company I owned — Thunder Lizard Productions, hosted the following events in a single year: Photoshop Conference (2,) Dreamweaver Conference (1,) Web Advertising Conference (1,) Web Marketing Conference (1,) Macromedia Web World (1,) and probably two or three others that escape me. So, my being a host of multiple unique shows at one time is not unusual.

In the past I have relied on “disruptive” technology changes and the flocking of businesses to embrace them as central to the events we host. The idea was to find something that will likely transform how businesses operate and create an event that that teaches them how to get on top of this shift. This was the original model behind the BBS. Sometimes it works well (Web Advertising Conference 1996) sometimes it tanks (My “Push” conference in 1997.)

Like the Lambada, I don’t believe my original, 1990′s era event model is nearly as viable as it used to be, and certainly not so for the BBS. The BBS really never attracted the huge numbers of marketing and PR types that clearly *needed* to learn this stuff. I tried very hard with the Chicago event to attract that demographic and our efforts washed up on shore like a dead fish.

In addition, we emailed, snail mailed, and telephoned 250 CTOs and CIOs and invited them to come and learn how Wikis and blogs can enable internal knowledge sharing. They were terrified, and only 3 signed up. A couple even said they were “too busy” with their current efforts to reign in email overload to take the time to attend(!)

What we learned is that (at least in Chicago) most corporate types that don’t get it (or are scared) just aren’t going to come. The ones that were already blogging seemed mostly interested in speaking.

On the other hand our event has always been strong at bringing in the *community* of existing business bloggers. Much of that Chicago community IMHO was already served this summer by SOBcon and BlogHer. I believe this arena is where we have a real opportunity for the future. I believe the enthusiasm and desire to commune that existing business bloggers have is what’s important now. Sharing knowledge and socializing is the powerful force — not the “disruptive-ness.” The feedback I have received from previous attendees and partners lately confirms this.

So, yes — the Blog Business Summit as a change enabler for corporate slowpokes may indeed be dead. The BBS as a place where dedicated business bloggers can come together is the future. We are excited about reinventing this show and focusing on what the community wants, not on what we think corporations “need.”

To all our attendees, speakers, readers, and sponsors. Please keep the comments and criticisms coming, we’ll need them to create a blogger gathering that truly resonates.

We’re Going to Host More Blog Business Summits!

by Steve Broback on August 28, 2007

We may have given the wrong impression yesterday that since Chicago didn’t work out this year, and we’re hosting a new Facebook event that we are done with business blogging. The fact is that while there isn’t a frenzy surrounding business blogging so much these days, people definitely want to get together to discuss best practices. We do anticipate producing more bbs conferences, if there is interest from the community.

More info here, and some “proof” that Facebook for business uses is a hotter topic than “Social Media”?

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Podcast: Ben Edwards Gives Us a Taste of his Blogosphere Knowledge

by Teresa Valdez Klein on October 20, 2006

Our speaker, Ben Edwards sat down with (BBS sponsor) PR Web’s Aaron Apple for a podcast interview about his keynote at our upcoming conference and how IBM is using corporate blogging.

I’d like to clarify one thing Ben said in his interview. He told Apple that the Blog Business Summit is, “really for people actively involved in blogging and thought leaders in blogging to come together and to share information and insights with us in corporate world.”

That’s almost the whole of it. But I’d like to add that the Blog Business Summit is also for newbie business bloggers. Our first full day of the conference is dedicated almost entirely to bringing newbies up to date on all the latest technology. Even if you come into day 1 asking, “what is a blog?” you’ll be ready for Day 2 and Day 3.

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Podcast: Our Legal Panel Sounds Off on Cease and Desist Letters, Intellectual Property Issues and More

by Teresa Valdez Klein on October 19, 2006

Our law panel truly has a lot to say. Kevin O’Keefe, Buzz Bruggeman and Phil Mann recently sat down for a podcast interview with (Blog Business Summit sponsor) PR Web’s Terri Kay was a terrific showcase of the larger issues they’ll be covering in their panel at the end of day one of our upcoming conference.

And here’s some more interesting legal commentary from our speakers. Not to rehash old news with regard to the Apple/PodcastReady cease and desist letter, but I thought this was worth posting as it gives a good sense of the kind of legal expertise we’ll be featuring on the legal panel.

For those of you who didn’t hear about it, about a month ago Apple sent what Wired called a “nastygram” to PodcastReady asserting that they held a trademark on the term “pod”. The letter called on them to cease and desist use of the term immediately.

“This is a classic example of why business people ‘love’ their lawyers,” wrote our legal panelist Phil Mann. “The lawyers here may be legally right, but do their actions really make business sense?”

The enhanced communications platform of the blogosphere inhibits the old top-down control over a brand. People use the term “google” as a verb in the same way that they used to refer to tissues as “kleenex,” adhesive first aid strips as “band-aids” and copies as “xerox.”

“Let’s assume ‘pod’ and ‘podcast’ are legally protected and Apple can indeed prohibit their unauthorized use,” continued Mann. “Great. The rest of the world then stops referring to ‘pods’, ‘podcast’ and ‘podcast ready.’ And what happens next? Some competitor without the same name recognition steps up and says, ‘I’ll be happy to let you use MY name without any complaint from me,’ and a small, unknown player gets far better free advertising than it could ever hope to buy. This isn’t that far-fetched. Many companies have stupidly handed incredibly lucrative gifts to their competitors through short-sighted emphasis on ‘protecting’ their legal rights.”

The lesson here seems to be that companies have to be careful to tread the line between keeping traditional control over their brand and opening a door for their competitors to use the social media echo chamber to amplify their own brand.

This is the kind of practical information that our attendees will learn at the upcoming conference. Our remaining seats are going fast, so you should be sure to register now.

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John Battelle’s “Marketing Judo”: Turning Negative into Positive in the Blogosphere

by Teresa Valdez Klein on October 9, 2006

John BattelleRecently, Terri Kay of the PR Web PodTeam sat down with our speaker John Battelle for an interview about how blogging and search are affecting marketing and media.

If you’re looking for a taste of what John’s keynote will look like, the resulting podcast will give you a pretty good idea. Here’s a rough breakdown of what he covered in just eight short minutes:

  • The message to businesses about blogging (:51)
  • How search is behind the shift in business communications (2:05)
  • How “Marketing Judo” can help you turn a negative into a positive (3:00)
  • What happens if you don’t respond when people comment: “It’s kinda rude” (4:00)
  • Symantec “Macs don’t get a lot of viruses” (4:29)
  • GM blogging about environmental issues with the Chevy Tahoe (5:29)
  • Businesses are used to hiding behind a brand, letting your audience judge you in real time is scary (6:30)

I think the big message here is that businesses are used to a level of control that is no longer possible, and that’s scary. The sooner you get over that paralyzing fear, the better. But don’t take my word for it. Come to the conference and hear John.

Image via Thomas Hawk on Flickr.

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Blog Business Summit Report 04.03.06: Ruben de La Torre & Essentials of Business Blogging

by Teresa Valdez Klein on April 6, 2006

Ruben de la Torre is a Lieutenant with the Los Angeles Police Department. He attended our Essentials of Business Blogging event in Los Angeles. In our interview, Ruben gave us the inside scoop on LAPD’s blog, which will launch on the first of May.

Also in this podcast, we have some feedback about the seminar from some of our attendees, plus a few words of wisdom from Anil Dash. (Talk summary here, slides here).

Click here to listen to the file or here to listen to the file and subscribe to the feed. This podcast is also available via the iTunes Podcasts Directory.

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Blog Business Summit Report 02.27.06: Janet Johnson

by Teresa Valdez Klein on March 3, 2006

Janet Johnson is Vice President of Communications at Marqui. She’ll be giving a talk at our Essentials of Business Blogging event in Los Angeles. In our interview, Janet told all about her introduction to the blogosphere, her thoughts about businesses that are testing the waters, and why she’d give Apple Computer a blog.

UPDATE 8:49 am: Yes, both Janet and I are aware that Apple already has a blogging initiative that includes its student blog, but Janet’s point was that she’d like to see their blogs have a bit more of a human face with regard to the organization. Listen to the podcast….

Click here to listen to the file or here to listen to the file and subscribe to the feed. This podcast is also available via the iTunes Podcasts Directory.

Read more about the Essentials of Business Blogging in our Seminar sub blog.

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Blog Business Summit Report 02.20.06: Anil Dash

by Teresa Valdez Klein on February 20, 2006

Anil Dash is Vice President of Professional Products at Six Apart. He’ll be giving the closing talk at our Essentials of Business Blogging seminar in Los Angeles. In our interview, Anil offered some excellent insights about business blogging, crisis management in the blogosphere and the future of the Web.

Click here to listen to the file or here to listen to the file and subscribe to the feed. This podcast is also available via the iTunes Podcasts Directory.

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Blog Business Summit Report 01.23.06: Stewart Landefeld

by Teresa Valdez Klein on January 24, 2006

Stewart Landefeld is an attorney with Perkins Coie in Seattle, WA who specializes in issues pertaining to publicly traded companies. He had some excellent legal advise for publicly traded companies about how the SEC rules apply to the new Web.

Click here to listen to the file or here to listen to the file and subscribe to the feed. This podcast is also available via the iTunes Podcasts Directory.

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Blog Business Summit Report 01.16.06: Shel Israel

by Teresa Valdez Klein on January 17, 2006

Shel Israel is a communications expert and Robert Scoble’s co-author on the much buzzed-about book Naked Conversations. I chatted with him about the book, what blogging means for public relations and the mainstream media, and questions from our readers. Included in the podcast is the best analysis of public relations and the blogosphere that I have heard to date.

Click here to listen to the file or here to listen to the file and subscribe to the feed. This podcast is also available via the iTunes Podcasts Directory.

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