Hostingcon 2009 – Day 3: All Grow'd Up


Before the exhibit hall opened its doors there were two strong keynotes; the first keynote was on Data Protection Policies in the US and EU and the second was on SEO best practices by SEOmoz’s Rand Fishkin.

As an aside, one of the areas I think iNet nailed this conference is the keynote speakers. When something as large as a conference changes hands there is always the worry that it will loose some of the flavor that made it popular. From the keynotes to the sessions and to the exhibit hall, iNet Interactive hit this one out of the park.

After the two keynotes, the exhibit hall opened and… it… was… packed. Day 3 made up for the apparent slowness of the previous day with attendees packing the hall.

Sessions started up after lunch; 16 sessions, 4 separate tracks. It was not as hard as Tuesday to choose between sessions but there was still something for everyone. Of the sessions my top 5 would have to be:

  • Top Social Media Strategies
  • Affiliate Marketing/Lead Generation in an Extremely Competitive Market
  • Handling Scalability, Marketing, and Service Level Agreements in a Web 2.0 World
  • Dissecting a Hosting Company Acquisition
  • How Security Researchers Run Web Servers

Unfortunately, two of these sessions occupied the same slot as several exhibitors’ giveaway ceremonies. This should be a good tip for exhibitors next year, a few months before the conference talk to the speakers on the third day time slots and see which ones coincide with your company (i.e. an email company would do well not to have their giveaway during email information sessions).

The closing general session hit on points that are very near and dear to my heart. Many companies in Web hosting and her supporting markets are entrepreneurial ventures. These are companies which were started by women and men who had an idea, know how, and decided to put a risk on going into business on their own. As the industry becomes more mature these things  will continue to fall by the wayside. Dan Hackett discussed the keys to management. I have had these types of classes before, and Dan was absolutely right, management needs to manage, lead, and delegate.

Part of me is happy for this since a lot of what web hosts do is somewhat haphazard and the lack of general knowledge in areas like basic marketing, human resources, and the like cripples not only their business but my own since I take it upon myself to educate advertisers. However, as the industry moves towards the same tried and true methods as other industries will we loose that pioneering spirit that made hosting so much fun to be in to begin with?

Perhaps this closing speech will be where people will mark the death knell for the web host hobbyist, the administrator turned CEO, and the programmer turned software selling maven. In its place, the professional C-level executives who when asked what do you do for a living instead of replying with, I’m a programmer or I’m a visionary they say I am an executive… makes you think doesn’t it?

Categories : Conferences

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