As many of you will know MaidSafe took a booth at collisionconf.com in Las Vegas this past week. The conference was one of the first we have done without a heavy crypto currency slant and an important step in starting to raise awareness beyond the niche, yet relevant Bitcoin space. While Collision is not one of the really big conferences, such as TNW or TechCrunch Disrupt, it was on a much larger scale than almost any event I had attended previously. In short, we thought it would be a great event to cut our teeth at.
Despite some careful planning we got off to a pretty inauspicious start. Having just landed in Las Vegas, the stream of emails that came through as I got into a WiFi area contained a message from @ioptio explaining that she was seriously sick and hadn’t been able to take her flight that morning. This was a particular shame for Paige as she has been the one to suggest the event and had put a considerable amount of work into getting us ready for the show. But for the amazing support of @dallyshalla and @Zack, the new mini brochures, stickers and t-shirts (yes there are new ones) would have been stranded in San Francisco. I will forever be indebted to Daniel and Zack for their efforts and was pretty relieved when they arrived mid morning on day 1 (each start up exhibited for just one of the two days), helping to turn our barren booth into something a little less sparse.
One of the first things to strike me about the event was the huge volume of companies all around us, mostly all with slick brands and professionally designed marketing material, there sure is a lot of noise to cut through in the software space. It is also a sobering thought that probably between 80 and 90% of the companies exhibiting would ultimately fail. What I also found with many of these companies is that they are walking a well worn path with sometimes indistinguishable products or platforms, running on predictable business models (advertising). There is of course nothing wrong with this, it just made me proud to be part of something a wee bit different.
When speaking to people who hadn’t heard of MaidSafe, they seemed to grasp the concept of the SAFE Network pretty well and were very excited about the possibilities. Many of the developers we spoke to were also very interested and @dallyshalla and @dcmshub were ever present and great company on the stand. My thanks also goes out to a journalist from Forbes who came out of his way to tell us that he didn’t think there was a strong enough case for an anonymous and secure data network, other than use from terrorists and drug dealers. I was surprised that a tech journalist from a well respected source wasn’t taking a more pragmatic view, but I enjoyed arguing all the same.
The conference was busy, the organisers were anticipating around 8500 attendees, and while I would have liked the start up section (where we were located) to be busier, we received a decent level of interest, including senior staff from some big and well known businesses. For the purpose of professional courtesy I won’t reveal who they are here, but if you come to Troon and ply me with beer you might find me more forthcoming :).
As I always find immediately after events, it is hard to know if they are worthwhile. It sometimes takes a few months and longer to establish how serious and useful new contacts will be, however, I came away happy with the potential of the people we did meet.
Looking to future events, we will select them based on how quickly we progress through the remainder of the roadmap so this is a slightly floating target right now. However, the company that organised this event also puts on the Web Summit in Dublin in November, so given our proximity this is probably one we will look to attend.