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Crain | Events

Outside Looking In: An Expat Conquers Cologne

You always remember your first time. When you learned to ride a bike. Your first kiss. Your first car. Your first Dmexco. Okay, so maybe Dmexco isn’t quite like those other things, but for a veteran of ad tech – but newcomer to Europe – Dmexco is still pretty damn special.

I’ve been in the industry for nearly 20 years, and have been to countless trade shows and expos. However, to my great shame, 2014 was the first year I came to. After day one, it’s clear to see that this really is the leading event for the digital economy. Three things jump out at me that truly set it apart.

It’s clear to see that this really is he leading event for the digital economy.

The first thing is the focus. So many shows have devolved into pay-for-play vendor pitches or simply ‘boondoggles,’ excuses for sales people to spend a week in a fabulous city on an expense account. Dmexco is different. It’s you and 30,000 of your closest friends and colleagues gathered for, apparently, one single purpose – actually getting business done. They assured me content was being presented somewhere, but by all accounts, folks were just too busy working to mind.

Second is the atmosphere.  It’s the first ad tech or media event I’ve been to where the expo – the trade show floor, the over-the-top booths, the vendors hawking their wares – that’s the real show! Three halls barely contain their carnival-like atmosphere, and an audience with the cultural and professional diversity of a Silk Road market. It’s energising to be a part of it, frankly.

Third and finally, after enough trade shows and events, it’s easy to become jaded. Dmexco is a bit of a reminder for me – it’s global, exciting, buzz-y, and embodies all the things that originally got me jazzed about digital media in the early days of my career. Dmexco still manages to find the magic that makes a professional life online worth living.

And yes, like many things, now that my first time has passed, I suspect I’ll want to do it again – and often – just as soon as circumstances allow.

Chief Strategy Officer