Thursday, April 24, 2008

A personal delivery from Amazon

It isn't everyday you get to glimpse our rapidly evolving business environment from someone who by any measure must be an expert, however much earlier this evening Morgan PR was at the Thames Valley Economic Partnership Annual Dinner and the keynote speaker was Brian McBride, the MD of Amazon UK, you know, the online book sellers!

He began by revealing that he had already given his talk twice in the Thames Valley, to both Reading prison and the local branch of Alcoholics Anonymous... and apologised if anyone was hearing it for a third time!

Joking aside he talked about the evolution of business on the web and how important Search Engine Optimisation is before revealing that Amazon has 58 million keywords, these are words that people regularly search for and that Amazon is optimised for so it can be found by the search engines. Which was nearly as impressive as the news that 'pickers and packers' at the new depot in South Wales walk 13 miles everyday in the 800,000 square foot facility.

We also heard from Billy Davidson, the director of group properties at Vodafone, who were hosting the event at their global headquarters in Newbury. More specifically we were in the pavilion, which had been largely underwater after the flooding in July 2007. Although perhaps even the recovery was not as impressive as his tales of mobile working among the Vodafone workforce.

Shaun Whittaker, the CEO of TVEP spoke about how prosperous the Thames Valley was and railed on the government for not doing more for the transport infrastructure. On our tables were copies from a section of the Financial Times that coincidentally enough - focused on the Thames Valley. It couldn't have been planned better!

With the speeches over it was back to the social alchemy that my wife and I had been enveloped in at our buzzing table, courtesy of the deft invitations of Mia Drennan from Square Mile Connections. Also from the town's premier recruitment company were Nicola Ogston and Rebecca Mooney; together with Suzanne Goodland from Intergrating HR, Caroline Billington from A-count-a-bility, Tony Quinn from Recognition Express, Rob Goddard from BCMS Corporate and Rebecca Constable, a senior private banker from Kleinwort Benson.

Naturally the abundance of alcohol had little to do with the convivial atmosphere which had come about from the natural charm of those sat around the table and of course Mia's choice of who to invite certainly prompted some exploratory chats about future projects.

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