This is a second post regarding ExpoTech 2010. The first one was titled "What Happened in ExpoTech 2010". In this post I'll highlight the weakpoints of ExpoTech 2010 and things the organizers have missed or disregarded that I think should be taken into consideration for the next year ExpoTech. However, if you have any other points that we also missed, please help us adding it by leaving a comment or emailing us.
One - Focus on the Conference and not Jamming too much sessions in little time
This was the most point that I was pissed off about at the beginning, it is because the sessions were very interesting and most people would love to attend to, but they've put sessions in parallel with other things like the conference. The conference should be the highlight of the ExpoTech, it's where the hot discussions and topics are discussed and everyone should have the chance to attend to. And if you put sessions in parallel with the conference you can't blame the audience for not coming to it, they most probably going to visit other sessions that are more concrete to them. The highlight of this point is: Focus on the conference, and don't put parallel sessions with it. Parallel sessions are okay after the end of the conference.
Lots of the guys were pissed off after they have been forced to leave the Animation Community Launch just to attend the Closing session of the conference. They kicked the guys out from that session to go to another hall to attend to 5 minutes closing session. That was a bit irrational, if you think the conference should've big audience then don't distract people with so much sessions in parallel.
Two - Youth is the Future, so bring them on board
I would go and say that the average age of the speakers was around 40 years. The problem is, people keep saying that "Youth is the Future of Palestine", and no one is actually showing that by actions, they're just sayings. It's critical to listen to what the youth entrepreneurs have to say and the way they think about ICT and technology in Palestine.
Three - Exhibition shouldn't have been canceled but redesigned and rethought of
This year, there was no exhibition in Ramallah. Instead, there was a big booth for Jawwal and Paltel Group that was absolutely useless and was empty all the time! On the other hand there was a small corner where a Palestinian Entrepreneurs presented a product that is made by them, Iris Interactive Solutions, this was one of the things that ExpoTech got right. We loved iKiosk (look at the picture, that's what they call it) that we spent most of our break time playing with it! We would love to see more people so passionate to bring such products to Palestinian market. We're actually thinking of buying one ourselves! Checkout their website, you might love their products!
What should have happened is that Exhibition should have been made for only innovation, entrepreneurship and startups not for Big companies. I would love to see more Palestinian startups showcasing their products and services.
Four - More variation in speakers and panelists
We've noticed repeating speakers showing up in different panels. Some panels also were missing key speakers that should have been there, for example, the IT Education session didn't have the Minister of Education nor educators from different Universities.
Also, the female speakers percentage was really low, only 2 female speakers of around 40 speakers! That's 5% which is really low.
Five - Audience Interaction
While attending the conference no doubt that there're some (or a lot) of boring moments where your head just fall off. A regular interaction with the audience is a must to keep them interested in the topic and get their attention. One way to get to that is by dropping some voting questions and let the audience vote for the best answer they think of, for example, one would've ask "Which of the following do you think have the most influential in the ICT Industry and could enhance it?" And let the audience vote on either one of these "Universities, Schools, Private Companies, Organizations,..etc" and see what they think. These are great questions and it will absolutely trigger their attention to the following discussion as they want to see why it is or it isn't their answer.
Six - Website and Registration
The website is not bad, although there is some stuff that needs fixing. For Example, when I click on Agenda I expect it to open a web page where I can see times and links to read more about the sessions not download a pdf file (Offering to download a pdf file, on the other hand is good to have). Registration on the website sucked a big time. Lots of people reported getting an error when submitting the form (including me). Also, the registration form should have a Checkbox (or multi-select List) rather than a Drop Down menu to choose what you want to register for. This way users won't have to fill the form multiple times to register for multiple sessions!
Seven - Press and Social Media Coverage
Press only showed up at the VIP dinner. There were almost zero Press presence where/when the work happened. On the other hand, they also had a 0 official Social media coverage, it was only around 6 people tweeting. Although the conference clearly stated that "You should adapt to the new Marketing tools like E-Marketing and Social media", there has been no efforts made by PICTI or PITA in this regard. There should be a better campaign for such events.
You can see in the picture Morad and I live tweeting the event.
That's all I can come up with now. What do you think? Do you agree or disagree with these points? Have you attended ExpoTech 2010? How was it?