April 2009
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Vendors, Stress Balls and Beers

I’ll go to some bar room
And drink with my friends

Today was Day 1 at Internet World 2009 a.k.a. #iwexpo for the Twitterrati. I got there nice and early, got myself a coffee and settled in to CMS Watch’s Theresa Regli talking about “Findability in a Web 2.0 World”. It is really difficult for the speakers to pitch these at the correct altitude as the audience is so varied, but I quite enjoyed the talk. My favourite part was when she called most marketing “crap”. A nice relaxed, honest presentation.

I spent most of the day chatting to vendors. Got the lowdown from (in alphabetical order) Alterian, CoreMedia, Ektron, EPiServer, EZ Systems, FatWire, FirstSpirit, Gomez, Hybris, Jadu, Kentico, OpenText (nee RedDot), SiteCore, Squiz and Vyre. I enjoyed my chat with Ian about the crazy CMS shit we all got up to in the late nineties.

I am alway interested to see who has the biggest stands at these events. A few years ago, Tridion were all over Internet World but they aren’t at here at all any more (maybe the SDL influence?). Vignette and EMC weren’t there either. Autonomy/Interwoven were there although their collateral isn’t merged yet. Last year, Vyre had the biggest stand but they’ve decided to spend their marketing budget elsewhere and went for a normal stand this year. EPiServer seemed to have biggest stand and the most people this year. SiteCore had a big one too. Peer 1, a dedicated hosting company, had a massive stand and some really hot chixors in hotpants who looked nothing at all like network engineers.

There was a stand labelled “Plone” which made no sense and smelled a bit like a systems integrator trying to pull a fast one. It was actually manned by a company called Netsight that were trying to hijack the Plone brand. I don’t like those guys at all. Don’t give them any money please. [UPDATE: I got this very wrong. They did actually get permission to do this and are, by all accounts, good guys. So you can give them money. See the comments below or the Netsight blog for their explanations. Apologies to Netsight, Matt and everyone else. Although I'd still be happier if the booth company name said Netsight. ]

One of the cool things about these events are the freebies. I couldn’t find many stress balls this time. I did pick up one from Kentico and another from SiteCore. I’ve recently defined a new approach to Vendor Selection Exercises, so thought I’d ask the expert (my 11 month year old son) to perform an one:

Noah Selection

After much thought, he picked SiteCore over Kentico. I’m pretty convinced he went for the rugby ball shape over the football shape, but it might have been down to cost or the developer API. As soon as he can talk, I’ll let you all know. Sometimes vendor selections can be rather random.

I watched LBi’s Dom Collier and Jill Lloyd (and our friends at the British Red Cross) talking to a packed session about a recent LBi project. For the LBi groupies, Mikey and Mark are talking about British Gas tomorrow at 13:00. One of my personal favourite projects. Get along and have a listen to that one.

The highlight of the event was, for me, the drinks afterwards. Was lucky enough to share quite a few pints with Tony Byrne from CMS Watch, Lau Andreasen from JBoye, LBi’s very own Microsoft guru Riaz, wise man James Hoskins and some other top secret guests. I can’t think of many things I enjoy more than a few pints of Guiness and a chat about CMS. Hope we can do it again some time soon. And I hope Tony has a better photo than my crappy iPhone one below.


All in all, a really interesting and enjoyable day! More tomorrow. I love this game.

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43 comments to Vendors, Stress Balls and Beers

  • Hi Jon, pop by the Jadu stand and I’ll be sure to secure you a baby sized Jadu shirt – and demo the new Twitter module for Jadu CMS for you :)


  • Jon, Please drop by iomart Hosting stand E2060 where you will find not one….but four stress balls – all fruity. Apples, oranges, bananas and strawberries. Image here: http://rackpack.iomarthosting.com/?p=43

    Look forward to seeing you. Oh and we also have fresh smoothies on offer. Gratis of course.

  • Sincere apologies, If I’ve started a thread of giveaways :/

  • Rory

    Don’t LBi have a free stress ball reception policy that requires all stress balls to be declared in the interests of independent vendor selection?

  • Great post Jon. Love the new vendor selection idea – I think it might take off. Just trying to decide what the biggest highlight of the day was – being able to buy Tony a drink and hear his words of wisdom or being described on your venerable blog as a ‘wise man’. Bit of a big tag to live up to I think and also very glad your pic didn’t show my bald spot.

    Have posted some thoughts on day one of the show through the ‘retailer, brand and web engagement’ lens I am currently looking through with my current job role… http://2020visions.wordpress.com/category/technology/web-content-management/

  • Jon,
    I’ve replied to your comment about Plone directly on our own Blog: http://www.netsight.co.uk/blog/2009/5/1/plone-at-internet-world-expo

    But just to state it here, Netsight did not *steal* the name Plone for the expo. Netsight sponsored a Plone booth at the expo so that an Open Source project such as Plone would be seen alongside the commercial products. This was done with full knowledge of the Plone Foundation board.

    Netsight have been involved with the Plone community since its inception about 7 years ago, and have hosted various events for the community. I personally speak at most of the Plone conferences I’ve attended, and have served two years on the Plone Foundation board of directors.


    • In that case, apologies. I’ve updated the post to refer to these comments. I am sure it is all common practice and above board. And I appreciate that an Open Source project such as Plone needs to be highlighted in this way.

      However, I still think the name of the company on your booth should be “Netsight”. Surely you agree that it could be confusing to some of the conference attendees?

      Thanks for the comments and for correcting me.

      • Jon,
        I think you are still missing the point. The booth there was a ‘Plone booth’. Not a ‘Netsight booth’. It was arranged and funded by Netsight, as *someone* has to arrange and fund it. The whole point was to promote Plone. I don’t think that that is confusing at all. I think you would find that quite a few stands there were in the name of the product, not the vendor or integrator.


  • Steve McMahon

    I just wanted to confirm that Netsight represented Plone with the knowledge and approval of the Plone Foundation’s Board of Directors. Other integrators have worked at other shows under the same type of arrangement.

    This kind of representation is common in Open Source projects, which often do not have the budget to rent and staff booths. Matt gives thorough reports back to our board and marketing committee, and the representation and information he’s provided is made available to all Plone integrators.

  • Tom Gidden

    The stand name should really be related to what the stand is promoting, which admittedly is usually the company running the stand. I don’t see any reason to believe that it wasn’t primarily promoting Plone, and I take Matt Hamilton at his word on that.

    Unless the stand was actively pimping Netsight at the expense of Plone then I don’t think there’s anything to criticise them for.

    Of course, I doubt Netsight are supporting Plone purely out of the kindness of their warm, fluffy hearts, but they obviously realise that actively supporting an OSS project like Plone benefits everyone, including themselves and potentially some of their Plone-integrating competitors. Sure, they may get some good leads, but it’s apparently not the primary purpose of the stand.

    Regardless, I don’t see any reason to begrudge them any leads they build in the process… it doesn’t negatively affect Plone.

    So, the stand primarily promotes Plone, and may (or may not) secondarily benefit the sponsor (the point of any sponsorship arrangement), so making it the “Plone” stand seems apt. It doesn’t sound like they’re keeping Netsight’s relationship with the stand (or Plone itself) secret, so what’s the problem?

    The alternative of calling the stand “Plone, by Netsight”, “Netsight: Plone”, “Plone: A Netsight Joint”, or just “Netsight” seems to be counter to what they’re trying to do with the stand.

    (BTW, your original assessment of Netsight was seriously out-of-order, regardless of your update. I’ve never done business with them, but publicly stating that they’re hijacking something or that they’re bad guys or whatever, based on knowledge that is obviously flimsy enough for you to do a complete 180 so quickly, is really bad form to say the least.)

  • To further support Matt Hamilton and Netsight here — i was invited along by Matt to co-represent Plone at the stand. I almost flew over from Norway to join, but had to stay put for family reasons. If i had come along, as intended, we would have been two Plone vendor companies representing Plone — all of it funded by Netsight.
    Netsight are clearly the good guys here. Their stand is the kind we cheer and support in the Plone community, and naming the stand “Plone” was much better than any other alternative.

  • Well, based on all the comments and feedback I’ve received, it looks like I got it very wrong re: the Plone/Netsight stand saga. Seems I’m the only one that interpreted it this way. Apologies to Netsight and Matt. They are doing a fine job of promoting Plone and everyone in the community thinks it works well and are behind them. So it is best you ignore my ill-informed, semi-drunken ramblings and make sure you visit the Plone stand at the next show!

    Sorry again. I’m a knobhead sometimes.

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