I just returned from the Centennial Special Libraries Association (SLA) Conference which was held in Washington DC. The two highlights on opening night were seeing awards given to Alacra friends Anne Mintz and Pam Rollo of BST. Anne is the author of Web of Deception: Misinformation on the Internet.
The awards were immediately followed by Clare Hart introducing Colin Powell who gave a terrific keynote. Powell spoke for almost any hour, without notes, on a wide range of topics. Powell was responsible for buying millions of dollars of computers for the State Department (replacing their Wangs) and when he couldn’t get his State Department team to move fast enough, he said “We need to update in real-time. I want to beat the CIA.” It was a great talk.
While the conference organizers reported that attendance was higher than last year’s event in Seattle, it seemed as if this year’s numbers were high due to the large number of daytrippers and DC locals. The exhibit hall wasn’t very crowded and vendors had cut back dramatically on give-aways. Many attendees complained there was little candy being offered and no one was handing out bottled water or t-shirts. The vendors had their game faces on but it seemed to me that the information services market remains in recession. “There’s no new spending.”
At the Alacra stand we did get any excellent response to our Pulse line of products and our recently released Pulse Professional. I did the annual Business and Finance division vendor speed-dating and focused on the Pulse Platform. The other vendors presenting were Dow Jones, Lexis-Nexis and BNA.
Walking among the other booths I noticed an increased focus on real-time and near-real-time information. I have long believed that eventually all business information will need to be delivered in near-real-time and we seem to be at any inflection point right now.
Often times when traveling it’s all about the food. As is our custom, Alacra sponsored the annual business and finance division luncheon where the food wasn’t that great. But we found three other truly excellent restaurants in Washington that I would highly recommend. The annual Alacra client dinner was held in a Georgetown restaurant called Neyla. The evening was beautifully orchestrated by Carol Ann Thomas and Fran Falchook. I was seated at the European Business Information Conference (EBIC) reunion table. For those of you who have been to EBIC my tablemates were leaders of the well-known “bad bus”. Needless to say this table was a little louder than the rest.
Two other great restaurants we found were Founding Farmers and The Blue Duck Tavern. SLA is planned to be in New Orleans next year.
See Alacra at SLA 09 Album below on right for more pics!