2013 is the third year that I have attended SAScon, the North West based “Search, Analytics and Social media” conference. Whilst some Delegates, Speakers and Sponsors travel from further afield, there is a very distinct Northwest flavour. This gives a real “community” feel to the event.
The first thing to note was the new venue. SAScon’s previous home (The Hive on Lever St) suited the conference so well with it’s ultra-modern facilities and unbreakable wifi so I was understandably nervous that some of the the SAScon magic would be lost in the move to the MMU’s conference facilities.
The second (and clearly not disconnected) item of note was that the conference program is much bigger in 2013 than previously. The conference is 3 streams (instead of 2 in 2012) with Keynote addresses to kick off the morning / afternoon sessions and to round off the day.
The first day started for me with an early train to Manchester. I met a colleague at Manchester Piccadilly and made the short cab journey to MMU together, I was glad of the signs pointing the way to the very impressive, brand new conference centre and even more glad of the complementary coffee and danish on arrival.
There was just enough time to catch up with a few people I recognised before Richard Gregory (Latitude MD) opened the conference. The tone was set when – in typical style – Gareth Hoyle (CEO of Manual Link Building*) compared the building and removal of links to the circle of life. This was followed by a very well received Keynote address from Alastair Thornton (Marketing Director at Thomson local). Whilst we at Latitude work with businesses of all sizes via our Enterprise, Express and White brands, the SAScon audience has traditionally been slanted heavily towards the Blue Chip end, making Alastair’s presentation on delivering Search, Analytics and Social media to SMEs incredibly thought provoking.
The other big Highlight from Day 1 for me was Clancy Childs’ (GA Product Manager at Google) presentation on Universal Analyitics, BigQuery. His presentation included the following 2 videos which I particularly enjoyed:
For further reading, below are some other people’s perspectives of SAScon 2013 Day 1:
State of Search
* I’m not really going to link to a company that sell links