Last week was a busy week -- much catch up from being away from my desk during the prior two weeks while attending Atlassian Summit 2010 and Enterprise 2.0 Conference (Boston) , and also a release of our Alfresco to Confluence connector on the Atlassian Plugin Exchange .
Both conferences - exhilarating experiences in alot of ways, albeit really because of the people more than the event sessions themselves.
This statement is not meant to be a criticism of the events - actually quite to the contrary. Both events were very well planned, organized, and had large engaged attendance (in fact Atlassian Summit was sold out 1 month in advance, and stopped counting the waiting list at 200 people over...).
But honestly - it is the people that each event drew in -- top talents of the Atlassian and Enterprise 2.0 industries that made the events so amazing in my opinion!
Having that much awesomeness all in one city, let alone in single venues, at the same time, is just an incredible do not miss experience on all levels. Endless exposure in conversation, stories, visions, designs, tricks, insights, examples, and simply endless inspiration over short periods of time is exhausting, seemingly unrepeatable, and very cherry.
And the endless stream of blogs, writeups, and tweets emphasized this moving flavor even more. Here's just a few notable recap "archival"-like blogs, samplers:
- Bill Ive's Enterprise 2.0 Session Notes - a complete chronology/detailed accounts. Simply incredible!
- Mark Eggleston "Social" Perspective on the Conference - a nice recap on both the social demographics of Enterprise 2.0 Conference, and the resulting content coming out of the conference - while emphasizing the value of BEING THERE too. It's overwhelming .
- Jim Worth's running "wiki"-log of #e2conf writeups
- and many many more !
Last week, I followed many blog posts released on the event, recaps of experiences, statistics, analysis', and also criticisms - with one that was louder and clearer about Enterprise 2.0 Conference than the rest: too much vendor positions/sessions at the Enterprise 2.0 Conference.
If I recall just a year ago at Atlassian Summit 2009, this same criticism arose and I have to applaud Atlassian for really taking the bull by the horn on that this year. For the 2010 event, alot / most of the sessions were by Atlassian employees/experts, or customer case studies, sharing their knowledge, and really trying to change the flavor to be less vendor-centric and more real-world knowledge-share.
There were parts of the conference that were dedicated to vendors however - and Atlassian did some interesting tricks to up the anty (quality) on those events. They played the Superbowl "opportunity" angle in their LaunchPad event, as @chrisyeh commented to in Megan Murray's blog about the #e2conf .
Vendors need to follow the Gladiator Principle..."Are you not entertained?"
Just because you've delivered your talking points doesn't mean that you've made an impact. Buying a keynote is like buying a Superbowl commercial--yeah, you've got a big audience, but they're as likely to mock you as support you. Money gets you in front of people, but it's up to you to tell a story worth hearing.
At the Atlassian Summit, the Keynote was presented by Mike Cannon-Brookes and Scott Faraquar - always good presenters. Directly following was a LaunchPad event that allowed the 13 or so sponsors of the conference a chance to show off their stuff, on stage.
Do their SuperBowl commercial, if you will.
Following each "ad", the audience was given a couple minutes to SMS their vote to the "ad spot", that was calibrated and calculated in real-time on the big-screen so everyone could also see too.
In prep, I would have thought the vendors knew that they would be judged by the audience, but maybe they didn't know how they would be judged. Or maybe they didn't take it serious? Or maybe they just did their thing anyways vs. take on the challenge, and ultimately opportunity - to win the competition.
They excited and rousted the audience. It was funny, charming, engaging, and simply - an Atlassian Summit "superbowl" standout. And to boot, they had a blast doing it - sometimes laughing harder than the audience. So, as one pirate said at the end: "There you go Jack!"
That is good marketing! Having fun and sharing the fun, with a serious solution!
Enterprise 2.0 Conference could rip a page off of the Atlassian Summit conference playbook for their LaunchPad, and endless Keynote sessions too!
- Up the anty on those vendor presentations.
- Provide some real-time E2.0 friendly competition!
- Make the vendors earn their stage time, not just subject the audience to it.I know I know - they paid for it. But no, it's more. The attendees paid for their Conference ticket!
- Engage the audience to vote after each event and get into the fun!
As for the mediocre vendor presentations (not to say that all were - others were good too) at Atlassian Summit this year - I think the anty has already been up'd.
The LaunchPad event will be a whole new genre I expect next year. NO ONE will take for granted their stage time I expect. And no one should!