In addition to my suprising lunch with the food company execs, I found another thing that was very different: that advertising folks dress and talk very differently from geeks.
There are more suits over in our building 33 today than I remember seeing at any geek event. Geeks like building software and cool experiences. These folks want to brand, want to push out messages, want to get you to see their solutions.
When I see oil and water I see business opportunities. People who can bridge these two groups and get them together can create value. Massive value. Remember, the advertising industry is about 10x what the software industry is.
MSN and Windows Live are hosting a big strategic account conference. Remember the Google Zeitgeist event I spoke at last fall? This is the same thing, but bigger.
At lunch I chose a table that had some executives from a major food product services company (you'd know their brand name if I said it, but I'll keep that confidential). During lunch we talked about what objectives they had as advertisers. They aren't able to deal with disruptive technologies like blogging or video blogging. Why? Cause they can't participate in those channels themselves.
How do I know that?
Well, at some point someone mentioned that a TV crew wanted to interview them about a campaign they had developed. The answer was quick and immediate: "are you kidding?" Their corporate culture had ingrained in them that they must get corporate approval from the PR team before doing any press interviews. "That's what we call silly thinking," one guy said.
I told the table "well, I guess you aren't allowed to blog then, right?"
They looked at me like I had just spoken Farsi to them.
What was weird is when I checked into Memeorandum, I found this article on ClickZ: Report Shows Marketers Stick with Proven Interactive Media.
I think it's very weird when my lunch conversations match what reports are showing. Me? I'm glad I work at a company that lets me blog.
Ahh, my new HDTV is really beautiful. It causes me to stare at Discovery Channel until 2 a.m.
OK, OK, Maryam and I watched CSI Miami last night and, boy, does it look good!
But, it is rotting my brain. For one, YouTube or most Internet-based video just doesn't measure up anymore.
For two, I used to be able to read RSS feeds while watching TV. Now my new HDTV set keeps me from even turning on the computer.
Help, Discovery Channel has kidnapped my brain. I watched an inane show about expensive cars last night. On my old TV this is the kind of thing that would have survived four seconds before I flipped the TV. Now that it's in HDTV I'm just mesmerized.
Chris Pirillo warned me about this. He said he watches baseball games now and he HATES baseball. Why? Cause it's so pretty.
On the other hand, the HD DVD team here at Microsoft just started a blog. Maybe I'll invite them over for beer and Discovery channel! (They answered back that if I think the Discovery Channel looks good that I should check out what an HD-DVD looks like! (OK, OK, you guys are invited, I'll buy dinner, popcorn, and drinks, just bring me an HD-DVD!)
Oh, there's one more disadvantage of living in a geek area: I tried to buy an HD-DVD drive last night at Best Buy and the salesguy said he had a waiting list that was really long. Sigh.