After failing to attend the previous two years, I am happy to be part of SES Hong Kong this year.
Last time, in 2010, I was a speaker for a topic about web analytics. This time, I am happy to be part of the audience (thanks to River Ho), listening to speaker presentations and hearing their answers to questions fielded by the crowd.
The event may have matured with topics that aren’t necessarily based on the bandwagon people are ready and willing to hop on. Instead, they leaned on more tried and tested ones. For example, Janice Chan of Starwood Asia Pacific (photo above) detailed how her organization’s mobile apps connect with customers and enhance their experience with the hotel. This pragmatic description is more believable than enumerating a list of things an app can do; the development of their mobile application is based on needs of consumers and not based on some random things such as acting like an extension of a website, thereby duplicating task and diminishing its usefulness.
Another session I attended was the Site Clinic, where a panel led by Eddie Choi of Frontiers Digital (whom I also had the chance of working in a project before) explored mostly technical issues of a website and possible workarounds. If I had a chance to give a talk, I think this one is where I am most comfortable. Pak Hou Cheung’s explanation of the Google Penguin and Panda updates should also have given the audience an idea that Google’s more sophisticated approach in identifying web pages to rank and penalize has focused more on usability and gone beyond the simple link and content approach.
The venue at The Mira is quite accessible and offered a variety of food and beverages for everyone, although I thought the session entrances were close to each other that if each session finished at the same time, attendees will observe a bottleneck at the door.
I also met a few familiar faces whom I also engaged in 2010. Others have moved on, like Matt McGowan, my session buddy at the 2010 edition. Ex-colleagues, former and current clients. It’s a small world. Or maybe Hong Kong is a bit small for this kind of gathering.