It’s that time a year again

Springtime is coming. And besides some brave flowers starting to push through the soil there’s something else in the air. Yes, springtime is congress time. For some reason spring and autumn are famous for congress organizations to do their stuff. Also this year we’ll be Sponge Bobbin’ on several inspiring congresses.

First off is our annual trip to the US. “Huh? Didn’t you guys just get back from this place?”. Correct. But since we need to re-evaluate the seemingly endless offerings on new media congresses in the States we decided to head over to the biggest one on this continent: South by Southwest.

“The South by Southwest Conference Festivals offer the unique convergence of original music, independent films, and emerging technologies. Fostering creative and professional growth alike, SXSW is the premier destination for discovery”, according to their website. We’ll be focussing on the emerging technologies (although the independent films and music sound tantalizing as well). For sure the program looks pretty overwhelming and with so many speakers it will give us a hard time choosing. The event wil take place in Austin, texas from March 12 to 16.

One day prior to South by Southwest our friend Shwen Gwee is organizing ‘Social Health 2010‘, the social pharma unconference. This year Shwen had the idea to bring all those pharma marketeers a bit closer to the ‘real’ social media space. So after the ‘serious’ stuff of pharma and social media they can all head over to South by Southwest to be inspired by cases which do not involve FDA regulations. Brilliant. We’ll be sponsoring the event and doing video shoots and interviews. Register here.

One week after our return to the Netherlands it’s flying off again, this time to Berlin where EXL is holding their annual Digital Pharma Europe event. This time they got Bayer Healthcare on board for organizing the congress in their impressive headquarters. Good luck, Len. DigiRedo is again sponsor of this event and as we speak we are finalizing details. For sure it’s going to be an inspiring two days, full of networking and new insights. As spearheaded in the US, EXL is now also bringing the ‘unconference’ method to Europe:

Digital Pharma is leading the way in the industry by incorporating “Unconference” ideas into the framework of the event. The traditional format of having speakers talk “At” the audience for 40 minutes followed by an uninspired, brief Q&A is over. People simply do not communicate that way anymore. Openness, collaboration, free flowing, listening before talking—attendees will learn how to bring these concepts into their communications in both theory and practice—by learning from the best practices of peers and by sharing and listening within this new format.”

For those of you who are interested, please register and use the discount code P621SOC.

Next up is the Mobile Convention in Amsterdam, the event for mobile marketing and business on April 1st. With about 15 confirmed speakers it offers a “platform for vision, information, discussion and new contacts”. We’ll have to see. It’s the first time they organize such a convention and due to the strategic focus we have on mobile it is worthwhile checking out.

April 6 and 7 we’re moving to Paris where we join the Health 2.0 Europe congress. After 5 successful years in the US (San Francisco, New York) the organization is now trying out the European market for health 2.0. According to the website it will provide answers to questions like:

  • How does specialized Search relate to Health 2.0? Is there life beyond Google in Europe?
  • Are online patient communities different in Europe and across European countries?
  • Have European doctors gone 2.0?
  • Are personal health records being adopted by health care systems in Europe?
  • How do European hospitals, payors and governments relate to Health 2.0?
  • What opportunities exist for Pharma to play a bigger role in Health 2.0?

Health 2.0 is the umbrella concept for many things we are currently active in. Mobile, video, communities, etcetera. It’s very broad, very interesting and it’s good to see that this movement is also coming to Europe. I’m most keen to learn how far we are here.

On April 26 we get in the plane to London, to the DevDay for iPhone. Although we’re not developers (yet) this space is intruiging us. With the aarival of teh iPad we believe so much is going to change. On the DevDay for iPhone we’re gonna “join for a dedicated and interactive one day event for software developers and business professionals who want to learn how to successfully build and market iPhone applications.”. Sounds good…

For the final conference we’ll go back to home soil again, Amsterdam. From April 27 to 29 The Next Web will be holding their yearly conference on all things Web 2.0. Last year we were not able to participate and regretted in immediately after a friend told us the performance of Gary Vaynerchuck. Hopefully they’ll have something similar up their sleeve this year.

We’ll, what a better time spent on a Sunday than to pack my suitcase. I might need it soon, for a long time…

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