BETT can be a love hate dynamic.
I love going and seeing new ideas and people but I hate the schlep to Excel, the usurious food and drink prices and the petty bureaucracy ,etc.
This year I decided to take it easy and to do what I tell everyone else not to – freelance the day with no big plans. Guess what, it worked!
Tube journeys (to and fro) were a doddle:
- Seat on all 3 lines
- no one sniffing, hawking or sneezing over me
- busy but not a claustrophobia, inducing jam of humanity
Badge printing and getting in:
- Super helpful bloke found my name and printed my badge in 30 seconds (my office printer out of ink)
- Straight in through the scanning person with none of the usual service with a snarl (still don’t get why tech conferences still have people checking your badge but maybe it’s cheaper than the great biometric systems at the airport in Australia)
- No massive queues – yes loads of people but good humour seemed to abound (if I were totally paranoid I’d suspect they were testing a secret class-calming spray, designed to boost PISA scores)
- My badge arrived as promised via email the day before (online registration never works) and thanks to Rachel and Sue from Mango Marketing
- The coffee was strong and hot
- Saw my favourite people like Leon Cynch, Merlin John, Tony Parkin but sadly missed a few like the wonderful Anna Pedroza
- Met Sophie Bailey who inveigled me into an interview – against my better judgement and usual policy of never speaking to the 4th estate (unless they are paying, but none do anymore). I even managed not to swear (too much) but I doubt my ranting will make much of a podcast
- Expanded (?) and a bit off as there were a smattering of Future Zone exhibitors throughout BETT
- Great to see Night Zookeeper, Erase all Kittens, Stepping Into Business, Zzish and many others
- The usual suspects abounded with the likes of Google, RM, Microsoft, Dell, et al and without Apple (whose continued absence from BETT is a whole other story)
- Great to see the big successful ‘new’ companies like TWIG , ShowMyHomework (now transitioning to Satchel) and PRIMO along with really innovative start-ups who eschewed the Startup Zone, like Derek Croghan’s Striver (who is still teaching and developing the business)
All up I had the best day ever at BETT. No I didn’t get to a keynote (Heston Blumenthal should stick to the kitchen and why oh why do they book Sir Ken Robinson over and over?), or a seminar (I’m crap as an audience member and always ask the ‘wrong’ question which is actually normally a rambling statement) In any case it’s the first time in years I haven’t been asked to be on a seminar panel – getting too old or too familiar (please not yet)?
I walked several miles, had a terrific day and was home in bed at 9.30 utterly shattered but unable to sleep because my brain was fizzing and popping.
I could have gone on Thursday but as it was Australia Day I had a private holiday at home (Vegemite on toast started my morning).
All around it was far BETT(er) and I;m really looking forward to Friday.