ETRE 2008 – day 1, part 3, and we all go to dinner

For those of you that have not had the pleasure of coming to a large corporate gathering, you may not realise that in fact most of the work is done of an evening, or in social networking groups around a bar or coffee shop. ETRE  is no exception to this rule, in fact it is far more aligned to the rule than any other meeting I’ve ever been to. The vast majority of the actual work here is done outside of the formal sessions.

The ETRE organisers have completely outdone themselves with dinner this evening. Buses took us to the Vasa  Museum, where a fantastic mediaeval warship had been reclaimed from the Baltic and encased in a visually stunning museum. The fact that we got to have dinner here, walk around, talk and meet each other was an added bonus.   For those of you who don’t know the history of the Vasa, it was a fantastic flight of the ego which resulted in the sinking of a substantial part of the Swedish nation’s wealth. The lesson, which was drummed into everybody around the room, was that the PR function should never be allowed to override basic engineering common-sense. The second-degree lesson which was picked up by hardly anybody in the room was that the engineers should have made something which fitted the PR function. Swedish history might be very different.

The ETRE audience is made up of an eclectic mix of venture capital companies, entrepreneurs, musicians, music industry people, service providers, and the insane. It is that makes which makes the event so powerful.

My learning points from the evening, to the point where I was no longer capable of learning, were as follows:

There are some very serious investors in cleaning  technology, who are absolutely going to change the world, and despite the fact they are actually venture capitalists turn out to be a bunch of goodhearted guys with hundreds of millions of dollars who are genuinely trying to do some good. The fact that they will make themselves and other people stupendously rich in the process is kind of an added bonus.

I need to go and kick myself and look very hard at the value of affiliate and advertising revenue. That could be $x(*) a year per customer we missed, and this year cash is king.  (* = no, ain't telling)

Somehow the music business appears to turn out some phenomenal business people without even trying.

Luxembourg has become a reasonably nice place, although when I was there in 1992-1996 you hardly dared breathe for fear of your neighbour reporting you to some trivial civil offence.

 The world of augmented reality is an awful lot closer than I thought having heard from some of the early-stage tech companies that are trying to make it happen.

Carrying 100 business cards in my pocket is simply never going to be enough and an event like this, and I’m going to need either bigger pockets, or a small trailer plus a secretary, to keep track of all the people I’ve met.

 Events like ETRE serve a vital a purpose in joining together all of the elements of the business community and engendering trust.  At a time like this, when the markets based on trust have collapsed all around the world, it is only face-to-face communication and meeting people which is going to restore that vital element upon which all businesses based: trust.