SIME came to Helsinki, so of course I had to go and check it out. I had never been into one of the events previously, as I previously wasn’t in the “space” that SIME targets.
The day began with champagne, which was not quite what I would have expected from a business conference. There is definitely a certain vibe to SIME, and those more knowledgeable than me told me that the main event in Stockholm a cross between a party and a conference. Sounds fun!
The day’s program consisted of presentations and panels featuring very interesting and passionate people including digital creative agencies (e.g. Nitro), digital media properties (e.g. Microsoft Marketing), social media destination sites (e.g. Suomi24, Stardoll, Muxlim), startups (RunToShop), investors and a bunch more. It was a fascinating cross-section of entrepreneurs, corporate folks, youngsters with passion and veterans with battle proven skills.
The highlight sessions were definitely the ones with a bit of controversy. Taneli Tikka (RunToShop, also on Everyplay’s advisory board) joined the panelists from Suomi24, MySpace Nordics and Xtract on the stage to get beyond the hype of social media advertising. Aamulehti’s Matti Apunen interviewed Google Finland’s CEO Petri Kokko and got several well deserved laughs from the audience when he tightened the thumbscrews on Petri ;-). To Petri’s credit, he did well under the pressure, but perhaps a bit more straight shooting answers would have been what the audience yearned. The tug of war between newspapers and Google News was one of the topics on the stage, but the match had to be declared unresolved as next session was about to start.
I was personally very impressed by the excellent presentations and panel leadership from SIME’s Chairman Ola Ahlvarsson. This gentleman thoroughly knows how to take his audience and deliver a compelling presentation, as well as gently but firmly lead the panels into interesting discussions. Superb job Ola!.
Networking at SIME was the highpoint personally. It was great meeting old friends like Sam Weintraub (a F-Secure colleague, nowadays at the mysterious Fruugo) and catching up with the movers and shakers in digital media, social media and venture capital.
The hilarious highlight of the event were definitely the outstanding videos created by Radon. Ranging from street interviews of random Finns about the state of the Finnish digital media industry (hilarious) to asking them if they “porn surf” (the responses were outright awesome) to the legendary INTERNOT resistance group fighting for analogue lifestyle. If you haven’t yet checked it out, do it now: Episode 1, Episode 2, Episode 3. INTERNOT! INTERNOT! INTERNOT! ;-)
I gotta hand it to the Swedish organizing team. SIME Helsinki was a fun, different event and I’d definitely attend again.