David Shen reviews “Left To Our Own Devices: A State of Digital Address” – the conference session that cranked the audience up and got things started
Acronym has had a thriving business in Asia since the launch of our Singapore office in 2006. And this year we’ve been reaching further into other regional markets. As part of our strategy, we signed up as Gold Sponsor for three of the ClickZ Live conferences in the Asia region (Hong Kong, Bangkok & Singapore). This gave us a great opportunity to meet with major international brands, and also with other vendors and agencies.
Our very own Mike Grehan presented the keynote that had the audience Tweeting factoids and one-liners throughout. Taking us way back to 1945, Grehan explained the dawning of the age of the “hypertext thinkers,” describing a classic essay by Professor Vannevar Bush called “As We May Think,” which appeared in The Atlantic Magazine almost 70 years ago. From there, he walked us through the invention of the Internet, followed by the invention of the World Wide Web, and rapidly into the launch of Google in 1998. All inspired by “hypertext thinkers.”
Shortly into the session, he was describing how search ranking was originally driven by text analysis and then, largely, by hyperlink analysis (Google being the first search engine to be very open about the importance of links in their ranking algorithm, PageRank). What made the audience really sit up was when he went on to explain that although text and link analysis are still pretty strong signals within the many ranking factors used by search engines, in fact the strongest signals are now attributed to end user data.
As Mike has previously explained, there’s far more going on under the hood at search engines that provide huge clues to intent and also to preferences in media consumption. The message for developing content around intent, was very clear.
Bringing it all together, Mike explained, in-depth, the differences between the Internet and the World Wide Web and how some may not realize that they are two different things. He said these days, it’s possible to spend an entire day on the Internet, using apps on various devices, without even needing to go near the World Wide Web. This segued perfectly into a very informative video presentation by Cisco’s Chief Futurist, Dave Evans, on the Internet of everything.
Perhaps nobody else in the digital marketing sector has written more about the connected consumer than Mike himself, and the video confirmed exactly what he said in the past about the impact this new “Internet of everything” will have and how it will once again transform the way that we do business and marketing.
Wrapping up the presentation, Mike gave a great story on the history of big data, which he tracked back to the 15th century. But, perhaps one of the more memorable moments to the audience was the very last slide, where Mike introduced the latest digital technology for the bathroom. We’ve heard of smart phones and smart TVs, but Mike introduced us to a smart toilet!
All round, a very informative trek from the beginning of the hypertext age, through search into content marketing and eventually the future of connected marketing. Mike is widely regarded as one the original pioneers in the industry and if you get a chance to see him speak, I certainly recommend you do.
Based in Singapore, David leads Acronym Asia and is responsible for revenue generation, operations management, and business strategy. He identifies and develops strategic partnerships and oversees the company’s sales and marketing activities across Asia.
His Client experience includes Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts, Singapore Airlines, Millennium & Copthorne Hotels, Aberdeen Asset Management, Polycom, Cisco, HP, Avaya, and Motorola.