As usual with any conference – the really interesting conversations happen in the lobby during the day.
Andrea, being the super-networker she is, got me into talking with Stephane about the Research Committee, and fast tracking was to be had. We also talked about the diverse audiences involved in any industry, and how to try to serve each group really well at a conference.
There are experts, newcommers, and vendors/consultants. Vendors want to sell, newcommers want to learn, and experts want to talk to each other and recruit talent. eMetrics is experimenting with different formats to serve all three groups. In general, vendors don’t really care if the experts screw off of to the lobby. They know Vendor X really well and they’re not the target. Newcommers are the target. Most newcommers are looking for solutions to the new problems they’ve just been handed (typically a web analytics login and password!).
In the end, I think all three audiences need to be served by the same set of conferences. There should always be a vendor component and a welcoming environment for the newcommers. eMetrics might want to consider inviting cross-over experts in other fields to share practices and try to get the water as brackish as possible.