For a change, this entry is businessy and contains no photo... it is my afterthoughts of the two business events that I attended earlier this week.
I used to attend many business events before launching the business, but only less than a handful since. Experiences taught me that not all events are relevant to what I am doing and I don't want to be confused by the conflicting advice from different business 'experts'. Networking events with the 'wrong' crowd can also be emotionally draining, so I have become very selective now.
On Monday evening, I attended the Inspiring entrepreneur series: 'Mothers of Invention' at the British Library and like most their events, it was a well organised, informative and inspiring evening with interesting speakers and an opportunity to talk to them, as well as other business owners afterwards over wine and canapes. A big thumbs up!
On the other side of town, the 3-day event, Business 2012 at the O2 was a completely different story. Having attended a few of their events before, which were chaotic and stressful, I decided to go on the last day and specifically for a pre-booked consultation with Google. It turned out that my tactic was right because of the complaints about the show, including a friend who (like many) could not get into the hall where Richard Branson was speaking due to bad organisation and registration chaos (luckily, she didn't pay the £1000 to have a cocktail with him). Another complaint was how cold it had been throughout because of its 'outdoor' location in the O2! They couldn't have picked worst place for this event, apart from the cold draft, there was no signage and seminar halls were scattered around randomly...
I didn't plan to go to any of the talks and only found out about Lord Sugar's when I was there. I decided to go but had to walk out 1/2 way, feeling like I have been robbed of my time (and I am pretty sure Lord Sugar felt the same way too)!
First of all, the interviewer was annoying and patronising, constantly asking audiences to clap after each question and answer. But the worst was the audiences' questions... it made me wonder if the room was filled with either clueless people or narcissists thinking they were on the Apprentice! Lord Sugar lost his patience after being asked by a woman if he could have tea with her, and a guy asking him why he hasn't set up a charity like other famous entrepreneurs! The most bizarre was a woman seeking advice on how to turn her 11 year-old child into an entrepreneur after he/she has create an APP! The interviewer failed to control the situation, and it made me 'angry' that I wasted my time listening to people self-promoting themselves, it was a complete missed opportunity on an event that could have been informative!
Another problem with the show was the staggering amount of promotional junk produced! Each visitor was given a plastic bag full of promotional leaflets and a heavy brochure full of advertisements, which I am sure would end up in the bin! I have been to a trade show in L.A. and was so impressed by their effort to make the show as eco-friendly as possible. Is the U.K. that behind when it comes to trade events?
Despite all the big names behind it, Blak Pearl, the organiser of this event, needs to address so many issues because the show promised a lot but delivered little, it was a stambles which angered many. Amanda Hill of The Social Media cafe blogged about her experience at the show here, which was read by over 1100 people overnight!
We live in a very transparent world now, and the power of social media cannot be underestimated. If companies don't deliver on what they promised initially, they would experience a backlash from dissatisfied customers. Can they/we really afford this?
I felt sorry for those who experienced the chaos and cold temperature, but at the same time, I am glad that I got what I went for (money voucher from Google to be spent on their Google AdWord). From now on, I am more than happy to continue using facilities at the British Library, which I believe is the best place for business support and advice in the U.K.