There are a lot of hotels around Birmingham airport. Nine within walking distance of arrivals. And they were all full last night, which tells you something about the scale of IRX 2013. So it was quite a worry when David Warr and I pitched up at ours at 7.30pm and were told that David's room booking had been "cancelled"...
As images of a train journey to Leicester started popping up in my mind, it occurred to me that David could use the room we'd booked for Dave Barton and Mark Evans (who were still with a client in Lincolnshire). Dave and Mark ended up at a Premier Inn in sunny Solihull, which turned out for the best as they were able to stop at a nearby McLaren showroom this morning on the road to the NEC, and had a good look at an MP4-12C. It's a car.
So David and I managed to get a meal and a beer at the same hotel after all. But we haven't worked out who or what cancelled his room.
So, to today's conference and exhibition. In summary? Queues to get in, mainly male, an unexpected number of suits, generally very well organised, buzzy, quite noisy, good hospitality, and dominated by talk of mobile.
Also dominated by PayPal, a huge presence, as can be seen from this snap of their huge central bar-cum-booth. They are a dominant player globally in mobile payments, and they are behaving as such.
The downside? Too much pitching. I expect to be pitched to as I walk the aisles of the exhibition. That's fine, and people have paid a lot of money to pitch to me. But I don't want to be pitched to when I attend a specialist talk in one of the conference streams. Dave and Mark found the same in the sessions they attended.
I hope that I avoided that trap in the panel session that David Warr and I spoke at. I came here to share what we've learned by working together to deliver the Cooper & Co Passbook service. There were some good questions, both from the facilitator and the audience, and I hope that our contribution was properly grounded in knowledge-sharing, rather than pitching. The session will be published as a video on the IRX website in about a week, so you can see what you think then!
One of the most important things about attending a trade event, for any parent of young kids, is bringing back something suitable as a gift. So I was delighted to meet Joe Colopy, the amiable and knowledgeable CEO of Bronto, an email marketing software provider, who gave me a great inflatable brontosaurus.
So that's Emily sorted. Now... Eddie. Wonder if anyone will be giving out free Apple iOS devices tomorrow?