4 things that are different about SES Milan

I attended Search Engine Strategies in Milan last week. It was my first time at the Italian event (both as attendee and speaker) but having attended several search marketing events in London, San Jose and Las Vegas, I couldn’t help but notice the differences:

1. Men in Tights Suits

Your average Italian event attendee:
italian ses attendee
Your average US or UK event attendee:
us ses attendee
Italians really do dress the part! It was striking to see that almost every attendee and speaker wore full business attire: elegant suits, fine italian shirts and matching ties. I’m more of a casual dresser (running around in high heels drammatically increases chances for me to trip, fall, or both), but I really like the elegant style of my Italian fellow search marketeers!

2. Time, time, time

There seemed to be a bit of difficulty handling the 20-minute slot for each speaker. I myself had to rush through the last part of my presentation for lack of time, but I attended some sessions where speakers had to be cut off just after the 10th slide of their 25-slide presentation. Italians like to talk, theorize, elaborate and elaborate some more. They are less concise and to-the-point than Northern European or American speakers. There has been some discussion in the Italian blogosphere to have less speakers for each session next year, so each of them has more time to “elaborare” their point. To my knowledge, this has not been an issue in other SES events.

3. Better food

Lunch at Search Engine Strategies Milan was definitely better than at any of the other events. The Milan Marriott served different kinds of pastas, sliced meat and Parmezan cheese. I couldn’t indulge too much myself because I am on a diet (lost 13 kilos to date - go Superzu!) but it was definitely very, very tempting!

4. Organic Search Forum

I was only in the room to hear half an hour of this session - I had to go up to my room, pack my bag and check out by 12 noon - but the session was very different from what I was used to in similar sessions at other event locations. It wasn’t less interesting though, just different. Moderator Mauro Lupi suggested some interesting things to talk about. It was more of a philosophical / theoretical discussion about the direction SEO and search marketing in general were taking and the approaches and styles of different kinds of SEOs, instead of the hands-on, let’s-help-out kind of sessions I attended in the UK and US. I guess part of it was because of the different kind of audience: less people (or no people?) that were trying to learn SEO and more people that are already in the search marketing business. During the time I was in the room, there was nobody in the audience who stood up and said: “My site is such and such, I have this problem, tried this and that, nothing works, what would you guys do?”.


#1 bart on 06.05.07 at 11:15 am

personally i go for the casual–good food combination. interesting post!

#2 SES Milano 2007: Considerazioni | News | Il blog di Petro on 06.08.07 at 2:25 am

[…] Susan rimarca in modo a tratti molto divertente le differenze tra il SES italiano e gli altri SES […]

#3 Nereo on 06.08.07 at 12:50 pm

Hi Susan,
first of all: it has been a pleasure to meet you in Milan.

I found your post really funny… LOL!
In the SES speaker preparation doc you can read “always overdress” :-)

#4 SES: Italia vs Resto del Mondo on 06.08.07 at 1:00 pm

[…] Solo per citare il divertentissimo (anche se estremamente serio) post di Susan sulle differenze fra il SES italiano e quelli internazionali (UK/USA). […]

#5 Giorgio Taverniti - SES Milano on 06.08.07 at 9:37 pm

Fantastic Post Susan :D

#6 Gigi on 06.08.07 at 11:46 pm

Not only do we Italians love to talk and theorise, but also indulge in almost metaphysical discussions, arguing and trying to hit the mark with a very great effort… I’ve never attended any SES abroad, and the one in Milan was my first chance: I agree with you, Susan, about the attitide of the attendees, quite interested in what was said but alrealy - and some of us, fully - in the matter. Only at the very end of the 1st day I could hear a female attendee wondering why the seo strategy an agency suggested her to follow hadn’t been successful: she was supposed to be “on the other side”, one to be evangelised - if I can say something like that - but I didn’t see any actual “newcomers” or lay-person. Who knows the reason why…

#7 dsom on 06.09.07 at 11:24 am

maybe the real reason was that you spoke about attendee, but in Milan the only attendee…. was the speaker ;)

indeed, i want to congratulate with you about your speech, that i guess was very intresting, as u can read (italian only) on my blog ;)

[…]Altri spunti interessanti di speech sentiti solo in parte li ho avuti da Susan Geraeds, SEO Manager di Venere, sul targeting delle parole chiave e sullo scrivere per i motori di ricerca.[…]

PS : sorry for the orrible english :p

bye ;)

#8 Katarina on 06.12.07 at 2:20 pm

Wow - geeks in suits? Only in Italy! :)

#9 alberto d'ottavi on 07.01.07 at 2:08 pm

Hi Susan, nice to meet u

So sad. I don’t think it happened beacuse “less people were trying to learn SEO”, but for the opposite reason. Because the experts, here, still need to do evangelism

IMHO we in Italy still suffer of a big “tech lag”…

#10 Chris on 09.17.07 at 11:09 pm

I found the same differences at the Barcamp event in Venice this year compared to the USA ones where everyones asking questions, etc instead the Italians where happy to just listen along… at least the food’s alway great in Italy :-)

#11 hotel ischia on 01.26.08 at 10:30 am

Good post

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