Monday, June 20, 2011

Quick Thoughts On NXNE & NXNEi 2011

Last week, from June 16–June 18, I attended NXNEi, a three-day conference here in Toronto that looks music, social media and all kinds of internet stuff. There’s also a music festival side to it called NXNE, which I also took part in.

I was at this event because of my day job, which combines the internet and music. I won’t bore you with the details of that but over this post and the next one, I will tell you what I thought of this year's NXNE/NXNEi and then, if all goes as planned, on Friday I’ll post about the bands I saw.

Because my eyes are acting up (allergies?) and making it hard to see my computer screen (I’m doing an amazing job typing with them closed), today’s post is going to contain two lists that look at what I like and didn’t like about the 2011 edition of NXNE/NXNEi.

The Good
  • I’ll get into the specifics about the sessions I attended in the next post but I will say that there were definitely some great presentations and I did learn some new stuff.
  • Last year there were two defined days for interactive sessions and three for music. This year everything was combined into three days, which I quite liked because it let me take in more music stuff.
  • And this year there was free WiFi. Yeah!
  • Unlike last year, when my festival priority badge was temporarily lost by the staff putting it together, this year getting my badges was a quick and painless process.
  • I love the look/make of this year’s swag bag. Much nicer than the basic tote we got last year (though the contents could be better).
  • Some people hate this but I love that the bands (for the most part) only get 45 minutes to perform and that the turnover time is short. I think the short performance slots result in tighter, more intense sets that allow the bands to showcase their best material. And as someone who sometimes goes to these shows alone, I like that I don't end up standing around for 30 minutes or more, waiting for the changeover.
  • This year had way more parties, BBQs, even a boat cruise. OK, I didn't do any of that stuff but it's nice to know that it's there. I do think that NXNE is getting to be more like its big sister, SXSW, with each passing year. 

The Not-So-Good
  • Oh NXNE website, why are you so awkward? To see what I mean, go to this page: and click on any of the “Read More” links found under the presentation titles. Yep, it’s taking you to a page that does not contain more info. 
  • More bitching about the website. Arranging venues alphabetically makes sense, arranging bands does not. All I want to do is see who is performing before Braids. But to figure that out, I need to open up each band profile to see when that band is playing. What not just arrange them in playing order (and even better, display the start time on that page).
  • Final complaint about the website. This one relates to the “Schedulizer”, the online scheduling tool that worked best if you had two tabs open and weren’t in IE (yeah, yeah but it’s what I use at work). But I could have handled all of that if the Schedulizer had a mobile/app component but it didn't. Instead you had to print your schedule and yeah, that didn’t work properly in IE.
  • No snacks! Last year there were snacks. Sure, they were Sun Chips and cookies but I like Sun Chips and cookies.
  • I'm not a fan on having sessions on Saturday sessions and given the drop in attendees on that, I know I’m not the only person who thinks that. 
  • It would be nice if on one day, there was some kind of networking lunch/speed dating kind of thing so that NXNEi delegates could easily meet each other (no, I can’t just go up to someone and start talking to them. That’s crazy).
  • Finally, I found that a surprising number of NXNEi sessions that interested me were on at the same time. Then there were a few slots were nothing really applied to me. I realize that some conflicts are inevitable but I do feel like sessions could have better scheduled so that there were fewer like sessions on simultaneously. 
More to come on Wednesday, assuming I can still see by then.

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