Back from ETRE where I had no time to blog. A good 40 meetings later, I am exhausted but have the impression not to have spent my 3.5K in vain.
What’s great about ETRE
ETRE is a community. It’s been going since 1990, and whilst it does not feature "Bill and Larry" anymore it remains a unique event because of its general tone and sense of togetherness. Anand of ContextWeb summarised perfectly: "no one here has asked me for my elevator pitch. We just have conversations".
How to get the most out of ETRE
ETRE is not about the conference floor. It happens mostly at the first floor lounge (or for really really hot companies, in your hotel room or the 33d floor) where meeting after meeting brings together business partners, investors and startups. My good friend Francois Mazoudier, CEO of speakanet, had an incredibly succesful three days as he was able to meet with a number of senior wireless industry execs and pitch his story to them. He probably saved 3 months of bus dev. Brett Putter of Forsyth Group was even more direct: "I will consider it a very unsuccesful conference if I don’t see a 15X direct return on my investment."
What ETRE should watch out for
As with all things there are areas of improvement. Of particular note was the fairly low quality of the conference content (im my mind) with the same old stories from the same crowd. It was striking to what extent some of the established networking and telco players still have no real strategy and are struggling to adapt to the new order. I guess that’s information too, but I believe Alex should start grooming some fresh talent to help him keep his network current and cutting edge.