And yes, it was pretty interesting.
The highlight for me was Bill Reichert‘s talk, ‘The Future of Innovation: Entrepreneurship, Venture Capital and Emerging Technologies’ (if you’re interested, you can find the talk and accompanying slides on the SMC’s website, here). He’s a very engaging speaker, and had some great pieces of knowledge to impart.
Certainly it got me all inspired again about entrepreneurship – a subject close to my heart as it forms one of my qualifications. And, while much of it absolutely seemed like common sense, there were a couple of surprises, particularly the ‘change takes time’ point he makes (point 9 in his talk). Essentially, he says that we’ve talked ourselves into believing that the pace of change is accelerating, but that it simply is not the case. We simply need to look, he says, at how long it has actually taken us to get, for example, to high bandwidths and oodles of storage or, for that matter, electric cars which aren’t completely useless (or incredibly expensive). Other examples abound (really, have a look at his slides).
I also found his point about Twitter very interesting (towards the end of the session, in response to a question from the audience). He said that his issue with Twitter was simply that it gave entrepreneurs the wrong idea: that they could come up with a clever idea, get a few million ‘eyeballs’, and as a result make (lots of) money off it. After all, the jury is still out as to whether Twitter itself can make money, and how.
Having said that, it was definitely encouraging to hear that it’s not all doom and gloom – actually, a personal belief I’ve heard mirrored many times is that tough times actually enhance creativity by shocking everyone out of their bubbles. So we should have lots to look forward to.
I also found Sidhe‘s talk very interesting (I have recorded it, and can put it up if requested – the slides can be found here). James Everett did a great job of explaining who Sidhe are, why they want more game developers in Wellington (amusingly, ‘because it’s difficult to poach from yourself’), and where they’re hoping to go in the future.
And I am definitely intrigued by there idea: shorten development times, shorten game lengths and bring down prices. Sounds like just my type of gaming. And Shatter really is very, very cool. Yes, it’s pong, but it’s new pong, and gosh is it pretty. If only it was available for PC…
Sadly, I found the talk by Tim Lauder of Weta Cave a little less thrilling than the previous two, although, as a lifelong fan of steampunk, I did enjoy the whole Dr Grodbert’s thang (I almost bought a lapel pin!)
I think my only real complaint was that I think there could have more exhibitors. I have some theories on why there weren’t (nothing I’ll air, of course), but it really would have been a wonderful way to showcase some more work. For example, I know a guy up in Palmerston North whose company, Unlimited Realities, has been developing Dell’s new touchscreen software…
On the other hand, the enormous slices of pizza which rounded (haha) the evening off were brilliant.
So yes, here’s to GGG09, and hoping that GGG10 is even better!