As most of you know, Friday is the day when I write about important stuff, namely an in-depth critique of tech company tshirts in all their glory.

Well this week there will be a hiatus, shock horror I’ve run out of shirts to review – yes, much like a world racing headfirst towards peak oil, my supply has run out. Have no fear though, this past couple of weeks I’ve been at some big events (’s event in Palo Alto, Google IO in San Francisco and Gluecon in Denver) and am in the process of being restocked.

I thought I’d take this hiatus then to reflect on schwag bags and use them as a state-of-the-economy measure. Now this might sound like  pretty rough and ready measure, but much like the Big Mac Index that economists use to measure relative foreign exchange rates, so to is the tech conference schwag bag a pretty good measure of market sentiment.

And I’d have to say that things are on the up. The Glue con bag not only had a couple of t shirts in there but it was full to overflowing with everything one could ever want – from the (somewhat ugly it has to be said) baseball cap, to the combined laser point/flash light. From the ceramic mug to the mini Rubik’s cube – the grab bag was an awesome too for those who, like me, have kids at home expecting gifts.

I would say that the amount of “stuff” in the bag is twice what we got last year, now in part this is due to the conference itself growing, but given the number of people running around both here and at the Moscone last week trying to hire engineers, it would seem we pulling out of the death spiral of last year.

Good things to, or I’d have to find something else to review on a Friday – conference pens perhaps?

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Ben Kepes

Ben Kepes is a technology evangelist, an investor, a commentator and a business adviser. Ben covers the convergence of technology, mobile, ubiquity and agility, all enabled by the Cloud. His areas of interest extend to enterprise software, software integration, financial/accounting software, platforms and infrastructure as well as articulating technology simply for everyday users.

  • So true. The tech equivalent to the Big Mac Index is the Kid Excitement Index. Mine loved the Gluecon yo-yos and Rubik's cube…something marketers should keep in mind when they plan their conference schwag.

    • Mike – yup, I'm sure my boys will be stoked (although truth be told they are a little jaded by conference schwag…)

      Was great to see you here!

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