Innotech Okahoma for 2013 was the culmination of another technology bubble that’s already burst. The Cox Convention Center was a great venue, that with the matching Ford Arena will draw regional events from larger metropolitan areas like Dallas and Kansas City for some years to come. The Innotech personnel were top-notch and their expertise for putting on events always shows.
However, it didn’t matter as November 7, 2013 in Oklahoma City was when the technology industry imploded once again. The cause is mainly a disconnect from reality for both the public and the technology channel. There are over 35,000 businesses in the city proper of both Oklahoma City and Tulsa. In stark contrast, attendance was a minimal 1,000 or so attendees.
It’s amazing that virtually no one can do their job or have any quality of life without technology, yet Continuing Professional Education (CPE) in technology represents only 1% of content and most working adults only get the wash of cable TV as learning after their formative years. The major part of the huge apathy is misconception of “Innotech is just for geeks right?”.
As a speaker and exhibitor, many of the comments were also telling like “People get fired for even mentioning the word cloud” or a smirking “Aren’t you embarrassed to represent Microsoft Cloud Services?”. It doesn’t matter what type of organization, you will never even get close to offering the security or compliance of Microsoft. With Office 365 alone running a nearly $2 Billion per year run rate, detractors are as foolish as they are ignorant.
The booth next door was a staffing firm that paid to have the Thunder’s Rumble as a draw. Staffing dominates the Oklahoma technology channel, with large employers paying outrageous fees for inordinate salaries. Meanwhile old technology and basic infrastructure jobs are being decimated nationally. In an industry where good people are always in demand, it’s frequently puzzled me why you would hire an employee through a staffing agency. The prospective employee doesn’t have the ability to get their own job versus other candidates. Plus, that person and the staffing agency are simply motivated to go to another unsuspecting company as soon as possible for higher salary and fees.
Twitter has a multi-billion dollar IPO for a web site that hosts text messaging. Big industry players are buying small companies with unknown value for billions as well. Haven’t we heard all of this just 10 years before? How long can Wall Street continue to tell investors that the iPad Mini and Gold iPhone really are different from the iPad and iPhone of 2007?
For all of these reasons, it’s official. The technology bubble has burst and it’s reached the conservative center of the nation. Next year the Innotech should be in south Tulsa away from downtown and government employees who can spend no money, perpetually captured by beltway bandit contracts. Tulsa is generally 10 years ahead of Oklahoma City in technology and business savvy, and I’m betting attendance will be much better next year in a growing over-taxed and high unemployment economy.