Tech press meet/Conference: Difference between how things are done here and how others do it.

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22/10/2011 by The Sorcerer

I was in Singapore for a seminar about few hardware stuff. I am beyond impressed. I am still very impressed and overwhelmed about the rush of information that I’ve got and I am writing a draft while it’s still fresh in my mind so please excuse the bad sentence construction and grammar in this writeup. Most likely this would be more confusing and irrelevant to the thread title. This is what guys from tech review/media REALLY want (provided they know how to do it).

Yeah, a friend said I should have a notebook however since Hardware BBQ is still “an infant” ((Okay, let’s be realistic even compared to mainstream medias- or maybe compared to many bloggers despite, she’s got a very long way to go)). And despite seeing smooth progress, getting an even better setup for reviewing takes higher priority. No week goes by when I think if BBQ will be productive for me to earn money so that I can take her to another level, hire people, get better resources, learn a lot of things and even push it to a level that only the international guys were able to do it. But its best for now to work on perfecting to do proper reviews so that people can make the right decision and so that manufacturers can get feedbacks and bridge the gap. Yeah, foolish it might sound but for now monetizing will take a step behind because we need to work on making our community stronger from ground root level and I need to work very hard to cater to that crowd. We’ll keep that conversation for another day.

There I was: Conference room. Guys from Australia, Thailand, UAE and few others from APAC region except Taiwan. The stuff that they talked and explained gave me that refreshing “feeling” that no press conferences in India has given me (Power User meets are not press conferences)- yet. It was my first REAL Tech conference. Not one of those where you will see people talking about business expansions and basic specs which usually happen in press conference here in India. In reality, those are probably more suited for “business journalists”. If a brand is more customer centric, I don’t think they care much about Indian economy and all that jazz.

When I came back and when I checked my mails (Yeah, sorry about that) one of the suits “really” wanted to have a massive (yes they used that word) Power User’s meets sort of “indirectly” hinting towards Asus‘ meet not too long time ago. Yes, the eyes are around. I guess few manufacturers like motherboards, memory kits who happen to make SSDs and even PSU/Cooling/Gaming have realized that having a proper power user meet on a yearly basis makes more sense than having press conference. Reality is bad, but its the truth (I think the best to say “from my perspective”). Most (yeah most is the right word) journos come. Out of which TV journos do their video thing and “exclusive” interview at times, print/online journos in reality take few pictures, clear the food and the drink (all are non-alcoholic btw- for good reasons I guess) then just put a press release. There are few bloggers as well. There are very handful of people asking the right questions, most ask questions like “How would your company’s growth contribute to the Indian economy?”, some…welll..they ask exotic questions when people ask series of questions that pretty much stuns everyone.

Yeah- I know. I am drifting away. Reality- the one I’ve attended in Singapore is something I can say with a very high note of confidence that it was my first REAL tech conference/seminar. Nobody said “I will get back to you on this” or “We’ll have to check on that”. They knew what they were saying and they know what kind of questions you will probably ask. And the fact that Shamino did one of the presentations, it was brilliant. He explained everything so well and so precise that everyone was left speechless. Everyone -even the Aussies and Thai guys had to take some time to ask the questions because the entire presentations did not have any vague stuff. Such presentation, in full glory, is something who knows what they are saying, how it works and RnD specialists can only give. I had a hard time containing my excitement that  a guy like me not only met shamino but also being in the same room and listening to his explanations.

Will we ever have such conference in India where even the presence of International Press? Maybe not to press (Most Indian journos expect maybe 3-6 of them) but most likely with End Users- and maybe handful of guys from certain media to “hang around”. Afterall since there isn’t any form of media in India catering to that crowd (I still have a long way to go before calling myself as the media guy) and who can understand it. The forum crowd is small, and compared to the number of people buying h/w on a daily basis, somewhat insignifcant. But hey, we are not ignored. The Indian tech forums (Techenclave and Digit, Indian Broadband forum- and no I haven’t “forgotten” to mention other Tech forum- ouchies!!!!)  makes a lot of noise and I am proud to call myself as “The forum guy”. I haven’t slept for 2 nights and I couldn’t sleep in the plane. But it was very well worth it.

But will we see people from RnD flown in to address such end users? Yes- provided they can get the right users. A time will come when I can say it out loud (yeah- bit premature from my end- proper word would be- I hope) gone are the days Indian mainstream media will say “Oh no! We can’t say that- its too “techie”. By their defination, almost all tech crowd in India are not “technically inclined”.  The fact, however, is pretty much the opposite to a small, but very much visible, extent.

Techenclave, by default, has that ability to do it properly and ethically if the senior guys are willing to invest a lot of time in it (which to a certain extent I doubt it). But I think its best if some people from the community (guys like who selflessly helped the forum without any need to be a moderator) are not only be employed as in-house PR-cum-sort-marketing-and-some-bit-of-a-sales-jack in the box to properly promote the respected brands- provided the respected brand in India is not being a PITA and not letting him do what he does best- and not forcing him to abuse his good name on the forum to help a brand. People ain’t idiots. They can probably be fooled once or twice, mostly because of the herd’s influence. They can smell a sellout when they read it. All you need is one person to point out the obvious. This way the guy does what he’s good at, he’s still an active part of the community he spent years and money (for his hardware upgrades to be “in the zone”), the company will know what to do and what not to do and everyone goes home happy- users and manufacturers. A good help is hard to come by these days anyways and most of them are discouraged/loose interest due to time, family and not able to get something out of it that will justify their full time investment in something they started out of hobby and then converted into real time passion.

Its also best if a thought to be given that people who spend a lot of time in tech forums to get jobs in such companies. Let’s face it: Most of the guys in tech journo either get a good job oversees or eventually hired by the corporates. If community forum guys join companies in a respectable position- like “power user communication specialist” or even a PR executive who has more than the usual influence, they can grow their community by understanding their needs and getting the job done accordingly- and they get paid for it. Remember, community guys learn a lot provided they do it right, but reality is that they do not get anything out of it- maybe a freebie here and there but that’s it. Hiring active community guys for a job makes more sense than hiring tech journos- in my honest opinion- provided that community guys do not abuse their influence over the forums/community to promote a brand blindly. If a product is good enough, all good. But like all people, he should work on feedbacks as much as possible.

Edit (30-10-2011): I’ve had a word with CM India. So they did use it. But they aren’t the only source that used this facility. What’s important is being neutral. If the international media houses that used this facility used it to evaluate products with no biased influence because they used the facility from one of the rivaled brands, its all good- even if the rivaled brand has a history of many bad series of power supplies. Then you might logically ask that if a brand has such sophisticated way to test product in such a manner, why have any room to have bad psu? Well- that’s one question we’ll have in our minds always.


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