Spikes was somehow different this year. Being my sixth Spikes in a row, I feel terribly well qualified to pass judgment.
Well, for starters, for the first time in five years, Spikes is post F1- the Singapore Grand Prix was done and over with. Spikes regulars will be quite familiar with the nightmare of making your way around the southern part of the island around F1 time. Everything just takes longer and sometimes several times longer. Cabs are in short supply too. I remember one episode back in 2010 when I had to get a South African visa while in Singapore as I had to make my way to a shoot in the Kalahari pretty much as soon as I would land back in Bombay. Because of the congestion around the Mandarin Oriental and the general Spikes zone, I missed my appointment because it took me a good hour plus to get to the High Commission instead of twenty minutes. I eventually did get the visa but that’s another story. Anyway, it’s a pain and I’m glad we steered completely clear of it this year.
Secondly, Spikes 2014 is smaller. Not the schedule or the programming. That’s longer and richer than ever before. Spikes was always a two-and-a-half-day affair. This year we have four full days. But there seem to be less people. In fact, I’m positive there are less people. And I’m not the only one. Several people I met have commented on the fact. I wonder why. If anything, you’d think the numbers would be up from last year. But I’m not complaining. Less people means shorter queues at Din Tai Fung and other places for lunch. And you can always get a seat up front for sessions you’re really interested in. It’s not sparse or anything. More like optimal. Oh and there are fewer parties. I can’t comment on the numbers at the parties because the only one I went for was the one on Tuesday night at Club Street. Unfortunately, I had to stay in last night as I had a series of calls. But I bet there were fewer people at the parties. Sounds kind of obvious - fewer attendees, so fewer parties. But worth mentioning nonetheless.
And third and most importantly, content is finally king. As someone who’s been blabla-ing about seeing things “through the lens of content” for four years now and runs a company that describes itself as a multi-platform content company, it makes me really happy that there are at least 10 sessions with the words “story” or “content” in their title. And if you count the other ones that have something to do with content, the number goes past a dozen. When I spoke about Content Marketing and Content Platforms at Dubai Lynx last year in a session entitled “Content is King, Distribution is God” (which I then shamelessly proceeded to repurpose twice over the following day at separate sessions organised by JWT and Du), I seemed to be saying something quite new to most. But here we are a year and some later and it’s the leitmotif at a sibling festival. So there you have it, content has arrived.
And while we’re discussing content, it’s time to discuss one of my pet peeves. The number of people in India who mispronounce the word just boggles my mind. Even some well-educated people in senior positions in large companies. There are even a large number of people at The 120 Media Collective who do it and every time I hear it, it kills me. Content is supposed to be our business and we use the damn word 20 times a day but it happens so often that I’ve given up correcting people.
So here goes, once and for all… and for those who don’t need the lesson, I truly apologise… please bear with me. There are two different pronunciations of the word and each has a different meaning. The ‘con’ in the content you consume is the same as in “continental”, while the ‘con’ in content that means satisfied or happy is the same as in “condition”. Please note!
Roopak Saluja is the founder and chief executive officer of The 120 Media Collective and can be followed on his blog at roopaksaluja.com and on Twitter on @roopaksaluja