Canada Online Revealed

I speak and moderate at a fair number of conferences, so an engagment is nothing I normally blog about. However, I'm rather excited to facilitate at the Canada Online Revealed conference.

The Canadian Tourism Commission has invited the Canadian Federal Provinces for a CTC E-Marketing Summit to discuss how we can all work together to market Canada to the world by leveraging the Internet. This is by-invite only event.

Attendees may choose two from six topical tracks, which are a combination of short presentations and "speed-dating" interactions with the presenters.

It sounds like fun. I'll be a facilitator for a star studded panel:

Exploring the difference between Search Marketing and Online Advertising in Canada & USA

What is the difference between Search in Canada & the US and how can you effectively market your hotel or travel company on search verticals?

Facilitator: Ian McAnerin - President, Search Marketing Association of North America

Vince Chirico - Google
John Manning - Genie Knows
Jennifer Koo - West Jet
David Doucette - Fairmont Hotels & Resorts
Bryan Mavrow - Intrawest


China SES Nanjing Links

It's been a rough week for me, since I caught some sort of bug on my last day (I think it was the sauna) and have been laid up in bed, watching the emails and paperwork pile up. But I finally managed to get my blog and flickr items about the tour posted.

Of course, I'm not the only one who went on the tour or to SES China, so I'd like to salute the hard working bloggers that posted about it by providing my readers with some links (no particular order, and all good) :)
The official SES China Blog
Rand's blog is one of my favorites. CSMT Update 1, CSMT Update 2
Shak's blog is a must-read for those looking into China.
Miles Evans has a pretty useful blog here, and some nice SES China posts, incuding some video and the obligatory namedropping...
Marc Macalua (see below) posted numerous updates here - very well done.
Marc is a genuinely nice guy, and as soon as I do anything in the Philippines, He'll be the first person I call.
Mike's blog is always fun to read.
Description of SES Nanjing, along with a bunch of facts and figures she collected. Ahnee is a great person (in spite of being a die-hard SEMPO fan ;P )
I don't remember meeting Joel, but he certainly paid attention at SES.



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CSMT Day 8, SES Nanjing Day 2

SES Day 2 - I actually have stuff to do today. :)

First thing in the morning, I'm moderating a panel on Successful Site Architecture with Stephen Noton, Bill Li and David Temple, then later on (last panel of the day) I'm speaking about Global Search Marketing Case Studies with Bill Hunt, Koichiro Fukasawa and Jungmin Ricky Kwon.

In the middle, I spend a fair amount of time catching up with various people, including Mike Grehan, who has recovered quite well from last nights St Patricks Day celebrations and is actually quite lucid, entertaining, and incredibly informative (as usual, I must say).

For most of the day, the conference rooms are freezing, but then (just in time for MY speaking turn) the heat finally gets turned on - so high that most of the audience either fell asleep or attempted to escape out into the hall.

The good news (?) is that since the speakers ahead of us went waayy over time, we had the shortest session of all of them - I cut my slides from 30 to 12. Fortunately, I post my original slides up so the audience can download them afterward.

After the sessions, a bunch of us followed Mike on his quest for a steak in China. While this is usually a fruitless exercise, he actually managed to find a restaurant that served western fare, and off we went.

Since it was a pretty big gathering of some of the best known faces of the conference, I gave my camera to our hostess, who had enormous fun snapping away.

After the dinner, I was exhausted, so I went to check out the spa in the hotel. It was an interesting experience, to be sure (I'm hairy, and the spas are naked, and I was apparently an endless source of amusement for the staff) but relaxing. The only problem was that the sauna apparently didn't use filtered water, so not only did it smell bad, but the next day I had a nasty cough that turned into a full blown illness by the time I landed.

Oh, the joys of travel. Oh, by the way, at some point today Brooke actually managed to find some luggage. I've no idea how, and am actually afraid to ask...


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CSMT Day 7, SES Nanjing Day 1

Yay! SES Nanjing begins!

This morning, the members of the CSMT tour are met at the door by Inway Ni, the China-side organizer of the conference from TimeV/ISAS (Internet Society of China). He's a really great guy.

After signing in, I went to the keynote session featuring Jack Mah (Alibaba/Yahoo) and Johnny Chou (Google). I don't think anything else made the differences between China and America more clear than these two speeches. Johnny was the consummate Google professional, and Jack was the upstart "local boy does good". It was also pretty clear that although Johnny had more to say of substance, Jack was the darling of the Chinese press, and really knew how to speak to the local audience. This translates well into how each of their representative internet properties is seen in China, as well.

Jack VS Johnny - this should be an interesting battle...

Several people asked why Baidu wasn't at the conference. Were they boycotting it? I asked too, and the answer I got was that (in typical Chinese fashion) the Baidu team asked to show up as keynote at the last minute - far too late. So they were there, but not as visibly as Google and the others. That will change next year, I''m sure.

The turnout to the event was very respectable for the first SES in the country (a lot more than the first SES in the US) and was pretty well organized. The only thing marring the event was that the heat was off (or the air conditioning was stuck - I'm sure it was colder inside than it was outside) It was freezing during most of the sessions.

Some interesting facts and figures:

  • Yahoo China is different from Yahoo. You can get listed in both (and should)
  • Mobile search is likely to be really big in China soon
  • Executives tend to use Google, Students tend to use Baidu
  • Internet users in China are younger than elsewhere - averaging under 22 years old.
  • Google considers China to be the most competitive search market in the world.
  • The trend of search engine usage showed that the less sophisticated cities (ie Guangzhou) tended to use Baidu, and the more sophisticated cites (ie Shanghai) tended to use Google.
  • Jack Mah: The very concept of search engine usage is US-centric - "asking", and is not necessarily the way Chinese want to find things "looking/browsing".

After the sessions were over, we went to the Google Dance, which was very well done, though mostly (and obviously) a recruiting drive. I got a nice picture of me with Johnny Chou and then a bunch of us (with Mike Grehan, the ringleader) left to see if we could teach some of our new Chinese friends how to celebrate St. Patricks day. With 3 people of Irish decent in the group (including myself and Mike), there was no way we were going to skip this tradition!

After many bottles of wine, many bottles of a local dark beer that almost passed for Guiness if you had drank enough wine beforehand, and some Irish Coffee chasers, it was time to call it a night.

I'm proud to say that there are now several Chinese SEM's that now understand St. Patricks day almost as well as an Irishman. Of course "It's an excuse to get drunk" didn't take long to convey, but it's the cultural communication that's the important part here... ;)


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CSMT Day 6, Nanjing

Train from Shanghai to Nanjing

Today, we took the train from Shanghai to Nanjing.

It was quite an experience, as the train station was very crowded and definitely NOT big-suitcase friendly. Since at this point I was hauling more luggage than anyone else, it was especially fun for me.

Once on the train, though, it was quite nice. The train was modern, and actually reminded me of the one in the Chunnel between England and France (though slower and not, uh, underwater...)

I was hoping to get some nice pics of the countryside, but the train was going so fast, and the sides of the track were lined with trees (probably to reduce the sound of the train), so I didn't get many pics. I guess I'll have to make a countryside tour one of these days ;)

Once in Nanjing, we had lunch, including a specialty of Nanjing - "cold salted duck" which sounds disgusting but is quite good. Then it was off to the Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Memorial.

The memorial is a very beautiful park, and well worth the visit. While we were there, we met some junior high students from Shanghai, and naturally asked them what search engine they used. They were unanimous in saying that they normally used Baidu for "fun stuff", but their teacher liked Google, and they also used Google for research and study. Interesting.

After the park, we went (you guessed it) shopping. Brooke was still on a mission to find a suitcase. The thing that I noticed most about Nanjing is that it's very nice - modern, lots of greenery and parks, clean. Our first stop was a shopping mall (including an entire department devoted to merchandise for the 2008 Beijing Olympics).

Next, we took the subway to the Confucius Temple, which is more of a shopping area than a temple, IMO. Oh, I eventually found a temple, but the area is mostly a set of shopping streets ala Nanjing Road and Xiangyang Road Market. The temple, honestly, was a disappointment, especially after the really nice one in Shanghai. Nonetheless, the shopping and atmosphere was very pleasant.

After the temple area, we headed back to the hotel for a good nights sleep - after all, tomorrow is SES China!

Before we could tuck in, we got notice that there was a welcoming party for select SES guests (and all of the CSMT members happened to be on the list) so off we went. It was a very nice meet and greet, though I went through a LOT of business cards (or name cards, as they are often referred to in China).

After the party, Brooke (who is a journalist) managed to convince Stephen Noton to give an interview, and David and I tagged along. By this time, I was exhaused and almost asleep, but Stephen had enough interesting information that I managed to stay awake. ;) You'll hear all about it from Brooke, no doubt.

Finally, we went back to the hotel (New Century Hotel) and grabbed some sleep.


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