“Yes, we will provide you with your own dedicated internet connection. But we did not specify how much the bandwidth is, isn’t it ?” – D’oh!

Unleashed Your Marketing Genius (UYMG – PDF dump, 276k) is one of the signature event from the great Stephen Pierce. With proud, yes, I am one of his disciples.

The Promise

All participant were bound to bring the laptop. The promoter even suggested a rental unit if anybody got difficulty with one. A pre-home work also assigned and everyone is promised “dedicated Internet Connection for the full duration of the event”

Of course it’s not free. For this internet access, $295 was the ticket price. This is on top of the program enrollment of $2500 per person.

UYMG promise

Well, for 3 days internet access, at about $100 per per day, that’s quite an expensive internet access
But that’s the cost of education, isn’t it ? Or is it ?.

Internet ? What Internet?

On the first 10 minutes of entering the Grand Ballroom of Acer Arena, nothing in my head will alert me about major problem with the internet connection. After all, it’s the Olympic 2000 site. There was hundreds of journalist there all with connection during the olympic, so the infrastructure is not a problem.

“Cool, no wiring, all will be wireless..” I told my friend. Turn on computer, login, select access point, open Sydney Morning Herald website. Quite fast. No problem.

But wait until everybody ready with their laptop, about 300 of them. One by one all the connection knocked out and the familiar “Server Not Found” or “Internet Explorer cannot display the webpage” turning up. Even my laptop. Not only cannot connect to internet , my laptop even cannot connect to the network – probably the DHCP was running out of IP address. But we are not alone, even Stephen himself experience the same problem right there on the stage with huge projector.

In the afternoon, tehnicians were called and additional wired connection is being setup. It helps a bit, at least everybody got LAN connection, but internet? What internet ? The presenter have to ask the audience not to follow the website that he went. All interactive activity were cancelled. It’s no longer workshop, just show and tell as usual. Until the last day, the condition is not improved.

Embarassment for Australia

Well, Empowernet is at it again (see Credit Card bungle). They know exactly how many person will attend (as they need to pay before hand), so the math will be simple:

[bandwidth required]=[bandwidth per person] x [number of person]

So, if everybody is given 56kbps (dial-up bandwidth), then with 300 laptop in the room, therefore at least 16.8 Mbps uplink need to be allocated.

There are 2 possibilities that is the root-cause of the problem, nothing else:

  1. The IT contractor did not deliver what they should provide.
  2. Empowernet did not order enough bandwidth (obviously for cost cutting)

But either way, Empowernet – as promoter and organizer – is responsible for the problem and make an embarrassing event for Australia.

Stephen Pierce and team do the UMYG program all over the world. Of course, they depended heavily from local organizer to make everything right. In this case, Empowernet has damaged Stephen’s reputation as well. All the 300 attendee would went home with a grudge how awful is the internet connection at UYMG which is one of Stephen’s signature event.

If Stephen and team did not take any legal action or compensation on this UYMG, I would reckon that’s early Christmas gift for Empowernet. Because I can guarantee it will be there on their contract whose responsibility was the internet connection.


“Stephen, sorry about that, mate !”
As Australian, I feel embarrass by this problem, we do have broadband here !
As one of the attendee, I feel that UYMG definitely will be much better without this bungle.
Perhaps there is other better promoter/organizer here down under that you can choose for your next UYMG !