SES Toronto – There’s something sticky going on here

As the rough cut scraggly bearded man to my left installs a packet sniffer to get to know his neighbors just a little better (hint people, sftp, don’t forget the s), and the corporately dressed petite female in high heels to my right scribbles furiously to try and encapsulate just what, exactly, this SEO thing is (‘seo is good’ apparently, which is my three word summary of the keynote), I realize I’m back in a familiar place: Search Engine Strategies, The Conference.

A mix of beige and maroon attack the visual cortex while pert plus and cheap perfume mingle into my nose to form olfactory memories I just might soon forget. If nothing more it’s a feast for the senses… kind of a 24 hour Chinese buffet feast, but feast none the less.

I’ve been to a lot of SES shows in the past couple of years, maybe even double digits, but this is the first time in ages that I haven’t been attached to a booth. Given some free reign to confer proper, off conferring I go. The keynote is exactly what you would expect I guess, even if you’ve never been to a conference of any sort, there are no surprises here. I think we all come to search conferences with some half-baked hope that we might learn something revelatory about the process, even though we know well enough there simply aren’t revelatory things to be learned – and if there are, it’s not here – here, it’s all slow cookin’ common sense – your grandmother’s soup has no magic ingredient, and watching it being made is actually kind of a letdown, there is no dramatic climax – the mystery meat is always juicier than the bone.

Here, at the inauguration of day 1, I’m set to wonder, will SES turn to black-hattery to spice up its cookery, as SMX was recently accused of? If simply to satiate the appetites of people who paid four figures to learn something, perhaps it should. As the old SEO adage goes, learning how criminals commit crime is pretty vital to law enforcement – understanding how black-hats succeed in the engines is, some would say, vital to understanding your own efforts.

So the conference is just getting started – our main man Guillaume is set to talk about something or other sometime today – I think he chose to get a couple of extra hours of mental preparatory snoozing this morning in lieu of the keynote – so time planning time – let’s check out the schedule!

I reach oh so gingerly into my provided SES bag – slightly snazzier than previous years, equipped with sleek side pockets for cell phones, built in pen holders and a brand-spanking-new copy of another book by Seth Godin I won’t read (hey, there’s plenty of Gödel to get through before Godin, priorities people) – and as I reach I realize, oh, my hand is stuck, literally, to the inside of my bag. Apparently the 3M conference next door had an excess of resin samples and they melted all over the SES storage boxes (what, do you have a better explanation for why my conference magazine is embedded into the fabric of my man-purse?). Damn 3M. Damn them and their fictitious conferences.

I am not alone in this sticky situation – looking around I see more than one couple joined at the hand, when all they really meant to do was introduce themselves to one another. Now they’re forced to seriously consider marriage, because those hands are stuck people.

Strike one SES, strike one. But remember, in Canadian rules baseball, you get four strikes until you’re out. We’re just friendlier up here.

Advanced trackage sees me seeing the universal / blended search panel first, skipping the search around the world chatter, and later today likely hitting the ‘beyond linkbait’ box. I’ll try to do an uninformative wrap up of each if my battery gives me some lovin’. Stay tuned to the naoise goes to a conference show. Same naoise goes to a conference time, same naoise goes to a conference channel.

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