eTech seems quite a bit different this year. My initial reactions are that the conference seems much smaller this year. The main room seems at least half as small as last year’s, unless some secret partition is going to be ripped away unveiling all manner of geek hordes tomorrow morning. Plus it isn’t at the Hyatt this year, instead being at the Mariott (both in San Diego)…which I thought was weird when I walked into the Hyatt and there was some glacier conference thing going on, which I’ll just say is a decidedly different crowd. Icey, even.

The opening salvos on Monday night (03.03.08) also seemed a bit lackluster, though in past eTechs the energy level has jumped dramatically during the morning sessions on Tuesdays. Also there was the eTech Ignite event, which seemed like a cool concept initially: if you had 5 minutes to talk about anything at eTech, what would it be in 20 slides or less? Unfortunately this seemed to end up as mostly product demos and abstract sales pitches, but there were still some interesting tidbits nonetheless.

Of course, initial reactions can change drastically, and a few of us around the office have a theory that eTech has a cycle: every other year is a great eTech, conversely that “other” year is somewhat of an under-performer. It’s held true over the last 3 or so years, and the cycle is for this year’s con to kick ass, but we’ll see.