The very first Dublin Tech Summit took place on Feb 15 & 16 2017. I decided to jot down my thoughts - highs and lows (ok, ok, so mainly highs to be honest!)
On the whole, I was super impressed with the overall running and arrangements of the event. So many people I met agreed that it was an all-out success, especially impressed with it for a Year 1 event, with only a couple of minor teething issues, and to be fair, I'm not going to dwell on those minor glitches, lets move on to the highs!
My highlights from the 2-day event:
- George the Robosapien (i.e. yep, he's a real robot!) was pretty impressive throughout the event – singing, chatting on stage, etc. I completely wished I had brought my kids to meet him!
- Ben Jones was awesome in his talk about how as kids we start off really creative, but we become dramatically less creative over time (from 98% creativity to 2% creativity – ouch!). Food for thought, as a marketer and a parent!
- I loved meeting Ali Rayl of Slack behind the scenes, she’s amazing and Slack is such an incredible company - I love their culture and ethos, and how they are re-thinking customer support and customer success – Slack are one of few companies who action their customer feedback in almost real time!
- Personally it was a huge privilege to run a Q&A with Jen Selter on Day 1 on Business & Marketing stage, where we got to hear Jen’s insights about how she’s built an incredibly engaged community, of over 30M people, primarily on Instagram (aged only 23!). For me the key takeaway is that Jen deeply understands her audience and what they care about, and so she posts the most relevant inspirational content for that audience. She's also really focused on the quality of her content and imagery, which I think has really stood her in good stead. And finally Jen did comment that she has probably benefitted from having adopted Instagram early. Lots of great nuggets there!
- Also an enormous honour was moderating a Q&A with Maria Martinez – President of Customer Success, at Salesforce. Maria has such an incredibly rich career history, we chatted about her thoughts on how technology is changing how we define customer success. We talked about the impact of AI and digital transformation, and of course we discussed Maria’s career and some tips she has for others in managing their career in tech. Honestly I could have chatted to her all day!
- Not surprisingly, I had to get my fix of Facebook talks – Dion Magee was excellent on the Fashion stage, talking about the power of video in marketing. Super, easy actionable tips, with nice examples of big brands using nifty tools such as Hyperlapse and Boomerang to bring their brands to life. Steve Hatch was also excellent - My favourite quote from him “The only thing changing faster than technology, is the change in our expectations” - So true!!
- Of course Gary Vaynerchuck was awesome as ever – he talked about 'clouds and dirt' (confused?) – the main thrust was that only way to achieve outstanding success as an entrepreneur is through pure hard work and graft.
At an overall level, the key themes which kept coming up were:
- Storytelling & Creativity – it’s still all about content – the creators will rule the earth!
- Video rocks – Video continues to be the most effective way to bring your brand and story to life.
- Artificial Intelligence (AI) – so many speakers referenced Amazon Alexa as an excellent example of AI in action. Voice is a major part of AI, and it is fast becoming the standard for search.
- Augmented Reality (AR) – it’s still in it’s infancy, gamers are probably moving fastest in executing on AR – Pokemon Go is arguably the example you might be most familiar with. However AR is going to revolutionise so many other industries including Medtech, Retail, Fintech just for starters.
- Customer first – both Slack and Salesforce, amongst others, talked about a completely fresh approach to thinking about customer success as the key to business success (obviously enabled by technology).
One completely personal highlight was a moment I happened to be in the right place at the right time for someone else. I had just met an investor looking for his next big fintech startup to invest in. And within 5 mins I bumped into a friend who has an incredibly cool Fintech startup. So introduced the two, and the beginning of a Fintech-Investor bro-mance! I believe they're still discussing options for them to work together in some way in the future - how cool was that!! Serendipity.
My final observation is that perhaps the most popular lady at Dublin Tech Summit was not Noelle, (although she was awesome) but was actually Alexa from Amazon - ok, so I have not fact checked that, but allow me a bit of creative licence! So many speakers referenced how Alexa has revolutionized the concept of the AI in the home, and making the point that as soon as we get used to voice controlled assistance in the home, then we expect everything else to be voice-activated too – and the next cycle begins…
On the whole, it was an excellent 2 days - quality of content was super high, speakers were high calibre, true thought leadership on each stage. Huge congrats to the whole DTS team who made it happen. I loved it, and definitely will be marking my diary for next year!
Did you manage to make it? What were your highlights?