Takeaways from New Media Expo (NMX) 2014 in Las Vegas

NMXBefore I check out this morning from the Rio Hotel in Las Vegas, I want to jot down some recommendations for you, items I gleaned during the past two days at New Media Expo 2014, a high-energy confab of bloggers, podcasters, and web video types. Though I blog here at TheKindleChronicles.com and also (occasionally) at LenEdgerly.com, I prowled the halls of the conference center with the podcasting tribe, which as usual believes it is Just About to Be Part of Something Big. Only this time maybe we’re right. Yesterday’s panel discussion led by Leo Laporte sketched a plausible future for podcasting that will resemble the rise of syndicated radio back in the day. I liveblogged the panel¬†here. (If you don’t see the individual snippets of text, click on the headline of the blog to reveal them.)

In all, I leave Las Vegas energized to press ahead with TKC. I enjoyed helping new or just-about-to-start podcasters. I am grateful for the five years I’ve had doing the Kindle Chronicles and especially for my amazing audience of listeners. I asked Cliff Ravenscraft, known in the tribe as the King of Podcasting, though there are other potential rivals for the title, how he knows when to bring one of his long-running podcasts to a close. He said he knows it’s time when he just doesn’t feel like doing the show for a few shows in a row. I will admit that each week in the process of climbing what I call Podcast Mountain, I have fleeting doubts about the enterprise as I slog through the murky middle of the creation process. But it passes, and I invariably enjoy listening to the finished product and reading comments and emails that come in. So I’m nowhere close to calling it quits, especially with evidence gathered here in Las Vegas that my little show is part of a much larger shift in how media is created and enjoyed in the digital age.

With that, here are a few recommendations, gathered at formal sessions and chance meetings in hallways or the expo area:

Podcasts Worth Checking Out

The Mac Observer’s Mac Geek Gab Podcast – I visited at length with co-host Dave Hamilton, who talks quickly and precisely about all things Apple. He also said he is very impressed with the Kindle Fire HDX 7″ compared with the iPad mini.

The UnPodcast: The Business Podcast for the Fed-Up – Scott Stratten gave an on-fire presentation about dumb things people do to market their stuff on the Internet. It was hilarious and smart. One bit I remember was a slide he showed of a QR code on the back of a bus, advertising a hospital. You’d have to be right behind it to take a shot of it with your smartphone, and by then you probably¬†would need a hospital.

Grammar Girl and related podcasts – Mignon Fogarty is a class act all the way, and not just because she speaks and writes with near-perfect grammar and punctuation. She has fun with it, and she parlayed her surprisingly successful grammar podcast into a little empire of related shows. I hadn’t realized that she partnered early on with Macmillan, the publisher, so she has three full-time people working on the shows. One cool thing she has created recently is a grammar game app, available in iTunes but not yet for Android devices. It’s called Grammar Pop, and it costs $1.99. Looks like fun. Or maybe, it looks as if it will be fun?

A good place to browse for new podcasts to listen to is the list of winners of the 2013 Podcast Awards, presented here Sunday night. It’s also a good way to see the dizzying variety of passions that spark ongoing podcasts.

A Speaker to Avoid at All Costs

On Sunday night the big hall was filled for a keynote by Marshall Sylver, a Las Vegas-area hypnotist/motivational speaker who lives in a huge mansion and drives a Rolls Royce, both of which he showed us in golden-hued slides. It was excruciating. Every other sentence he would ask us to raise our hands if we agreed with him. At one point he came down to the audience and threw dollar bills in the air, provoking a mild scramble. He invited a volunteer to come to the stage and learn how to eat fire. Amazingly, she did. I happened to run into the woman the next day and asked about the experience. “I was bored,” she said as explanation for why she strode up to Sylver to volunteer. She ended up eating fire, which she said was no big deal, once you learn the trick to it. I’m not even going to link to this guy. His presentation was the only weak point in two days of programming at NMX.

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Comments 5

  1. Eric Alex wrote:

    you left out the 18 year old book that Sylver gave everyone.. suppose those on the East Coast could use it to start fires and keep warm.

    Posted 07 Jan 2014 at 2:46 pm
  2. Curt wrote:

    Thank you for speaking up on the informercial that Marshall Sylver passed off as a valuable keynote. It was a live version of those late night informercials in the 90s where the “expert” would show you his yacht, mansion and Ferrari, then surround himself with beautiful women in bikinis and shout to the camera, “This can all be yours!” It was painful to sit through.

    Posted 11 Jan 2014 at 3:46 pm
  3. Alaia wrote:

    I missed the Sylver keynote and by the time I heard about it, it was impossible to go back through the tweets to read the reactions. Rick said there would be a blog post explaining, but I haven’t seen it yet. Thanks for the recap.

    Posted 12 Jan 2014 at 6:23 am
  4. Nick wrote:

    I attended the 2013 NMX, but could not make 2014. I’m glad you have called out Marshall Sylver, because I was very suspicious of him. I also just heard a reference to his poor keynote in some audio on the Podcast Roundtable. I actually went online (I think it was in December) for a free live NMX pre-event one hour web video cast where Sylver was one of the guests. Wild-eyed and more than a little bit creepy looking, my B.S. meter was going off then…and that was only an online conference! I was concerned that he was not a fit, and it sounds like my suspicions were right on the money. Let’s hope that the organizers of NMX are more judicious from this point forward in how they screen future keynote speakers, because they have a pretty good event. They don’t need late night TV-style hucksters wasting our valuable time and money.

    Posted 15 Feb 2014 at 8:12 pm
  5. Len Edgerly wrote:

    Thanks for the comment, Nick. It was an amazing experience, but it didn’t mar my appreciation of NMX. What a fantastic resource for podcasters, novices and old hands alike.

    Posted 15 Feb 2014 at 8:18 pm