Last weekend I’ve been to Moscow for the Autumn session of Isdef conference. It was my 4th time in Moscow for ISDEF, representing Avangate. We have sponsored this event, as we did it for the last two years. A three-day event with meetings, parties and networking.
The organizers continued to setup the conference outside Moscow, like it was also in the spring, but this time it seemed to be a little too far from the city (20 km, Foresta Tropicana Hotel). Sure, the location was perfect for a nice quiet weekend with the family but not for a conference of such scale. Fresh air outside, green grass, some snow around the buildings. The conference is quite big, lots of participants, one of the biggest software communities I’ve seen. Having the presentations divided in two different buildings (one it was a big white tent, like a bubble, usually used probably for sports activities during the cold season) was not such a good idea for the sponsors. First day of conference seemed like nobody knew that there was also an exposition hall.
I have noticed an increased number of foreign participants which leads to the conclusion that the Russian software market is getting more attention each year. And for the right reason probably: the software developers are coming from all over Russia and neighboring CSI countries. There are people coming from more than 5000 km away, from the Irkutsk city near the lake Baikal. So having an on-the-fly translation service, like it was last year, it might have helped the foreigners to understand the Russian presentations.
The first two days were dedicated to Russian speakers and some of them seemed to have a really good speech. Me personally, I’ve found some interesting subjects that were worth listening (like the one Natalia Kaspersky had), but unfortunatelly, without a translation service I had to settle for the English presentations only.
On Sunday (3rd day) almost everything was in English. And of course, each eCommerce provider (our competitors) had 20-30 minutes to present something. I will not say any names, but it was a mixture of plain company advertising, technical things and nice reporting/statistics bars. Laurentiu kept the Avangate presentation about the difference between Resellers and Affiliates, to emphasize the Reseller role in a growing International Business (and of course the need for a PRM system e.g. myAvangate).
One new thing for this conference was the eCommerce providers panel, where Avangate, Plimus, Cleverbridge and DR were put face to face to answer general questions like “what are your commission rates” or “where did you get the company name” or “what should we expect from you next year” or “why are you better than the other ones”. I do not want to start a discussion about any of these subjects, I will write another topic someday.
Overall, the conference proved to be quite beneficial for us, even though the conference setup was at a lower level, compared with the old conferences. Meeting new people and sharing information with current partners was one of our accomplished goals. Vodka is still the Russian official drink, no beer at the official parties (barbecue and banquet). And even if we were in a hotel with a tropical flavor, there were no real fruits anywhere.
Some facts about the place:
- there is a plane in the middle of the resort
- the taxi from the Sheremetyevo airport to here should be around 2500 rubles (and not 4000 as most of the foreigners paid)
- you get to see the country side of Russia while driving to the resort
- the receptionists do not speak/understand english that well (we have arrived at around 1pm and they said that the room will be ready at 5pm; we asked for a room with a lake view and the girl at the reception made some phone calls and returned with the keys to our room, to be ready in 20 minutes – and not in several hours. I wonder what did she understood. Because the room didn’t had any lake view but quite opposite, the forest).
And some pictures I’ve shot:
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