Software Marketing Resource Articles: Shareware Industry Conference 2006 Review

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Monday, August 28, 2006

Shareware Industry Conference 2006 Review

This year's 2006 Shareware Industry Conference was enlightening, and entertaining. It hosted dozens of diverse and educational sessions, informational exhibits, and several humorous events. The sessions were exceedingly motivating and detail-oriented, which contributed to the creation of a focused audience. The exhibits were exceptionally interesting and the sponsored events were enjoyable for all ages. For the most part, the attendees were interesting, experienced, and willing to share knowledge. This produced one of my most memorable Shareware Industry Conferences.

Throughout the conference, I attended multiple sessions, all of which were instructive. Of those I attended, my favorites were: Reviewing and Critiquing Attendee Web Sites, New Platforms, Search Engine Optimization, User Interface and User-Centric Design.

Reviewing and Critiquing Attendee Web Sites

"Reviewing and Critiquing Attendee Web Sites," was one of the most interactive sessions I attended. Throughout the session the speakers (Sharon Housley, Dave Collins and Ben Weintraub) remained in conversation with the audience. The three speakers collected attendee's collected business cards, and then went to each individual site and provided constructive criticism to help each developer create a more professional website. I am confident that each and every developer that attended this session learned something new and interesting.

New Platforms

"New Platforms" was directed by Michael Lehman and concerned his latest project, Project Glidepath. In this session his "Glidepath Team" unveiled a new "project" that would help developers prepare their software for the release of Windows Vista. This session was innovative and informational. It genuinely seemed like a tool all developers would need.

Search Engine Optimization

"Search Engine Optimization" was directed by Sharon Housley, and Dave Collins. The first half, Sharon Housley gave organic search engine tips, and for the latter half Dave Collins Separated Myths from Fact. While Sharon spoke about concrete facts and tidbits, Dave Collins explained that there is no single universal rule to boost your search engine ranking. They also conveyed that search engine ranking is ever-changing, and what may work one month might not work the next.

User Interface

This session was directed by Sue Pichotta and Becky Lash. Sue Pichotta explained the new "look" of Vista and the implementation of the aero-glass effect. Becky Lash also talked about the various changes in Vista. Both of them conveyed their opinions to certain changes in Vista, and told developers what to expect. Having never beta tested Vista I found this session extremely helpful and useful, as I'm sure other developers did.

User-Centric Design

"User-Centric Design" was directed by Barbara Hernandez and Gregg Seelhoff. Barbara Hernandez spoke about the user experience, and explained how to make your software easy for users to use. Gregg Seelhoff spoke about making your software easy to use for everyone (particularly forhandicapped users). This session was fairly interesting, and pointed out issues I had not realized. I also attended Digital River's hosted event. One of the main attractions was motorized toilets. Attendees were invited to mount the toilets and race around an inflated track. Later on, a tournament was held, in which attendees formed eight teams of four people. They had to dress in racing outfits, race around the track, take off the outfit, dress the other person, etc.

There were also remote controlled cars, which were amusing, but got underfoot. In a corner, there were 3 arcade racing games, in which attendees could race each other. This is where I spent most of my time. This all created a most enjoyable night.

I also attended "Exhibit Night", in which sponsors set up booths and gave out free software, and goodies. Attendees were invited to receive a stamp from each booth and complete a map, in which they could enter a raffle with. Of these booths, my personal favorite was Joost Van Luer's (HC TopSystems). He hosted a soccer juggling event in which the winners received either a soccer jersey, soccer ball, or soccer shirt. At the end, I came in second place, and received the soccer ball.

All of the sessions, exhibits, and events were educational, and informational. The conference's 16 years of experience clearly shows. I recommend software developers from all over to attend this conference. I guarantee you will enjoy the sessions, attendees, exhibits, and hospitality suites.


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