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SIIA’s Information Industry Summit in New York

Back to Cipriani’s, with its sandstone walls, marble columns, vaulted roof, and chandeliers tiered with wreaths of lights, definitely designed on the same scale as the lovely hall of Grand Central Station, just across 42nd Street. I wonder if they had to remove hanging fiberglass ceilings from this magnificent room, as they were doing at the Amtrak Station in Seattle when I was there last week? (I was there for a party in two private rail cars, held by the delightful people of Book News. What a pleasant change that was from the usual hotel space.)

Last year’s opening keynote set the wrong tone for the conference, I thought, but this year we had Anne Moore, chairman and CEO of Time Inc., who was terrific, explaining what Time Inc. is and how it is moving its key publications—starting with People magazine—and archival content online. She didn’t say anything startling, but she was informative, and precise enough that one could see ways to apply what Time has learned or is trying to other companies or circumstances.

Later speakers used the word trust quite often, in talking about social media and user-generated content, and I think that Moore’s presentation was notable for creating a sense of trust, because she was frank about the challenges they’re dealing with. It was certainly a powerful pitch for the company, and her leadership, but not done in a way that seemed unreasonable or shifty.

I’ll be writing up notes on some of the sessions, not in the extensive way that I understand John Blossom will, but highlighting and responding to some key discussion points. This year, as a new board member, I also feel an obligation to give a sense of what a Software & Information Industry Association event is like, so other content industry colleagues who happen to stumble across this can see how events like the Information Summit and the April Content Forum, and membership in SIIA, would be helpful to them.

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