I rarely have an appreciation for the work put in by great conference organizers, mostly because I’m admittedly more focused on my own concerns and insecurities on the day.
With CM – organizer of the Mobile Convention events, although I’m only vaguely familiar with their business model of a mobile platform for SMS, push and payments, I can say that they put an enormous amount of effort into making their mobile events a success. This week’s edition in Amsterdam saw more than 800 attendees at the beautiful former stock exchange in the center of Amsterdam, the Beurs van Berlage, with 65 speakers like me plying their trade in 6 different tracks covering mobile payments, marketing, commerce and enterprise.
The organization was superb, making an incredibly complex event look easy, and saving speakers like me a lot of unnecessary stress (Eefje and Anneloes, thank you again).
My personal highlights came from three of the other speakers:
Tim Green, Executive Editor of Hot Topics – I didn’t get the chance to hear him speak at MCA, as we shared a conflicting time slot, but we ran into each other on the train platform at Schipol, and had time to talk about the changing landscape of publishing, the opportunities and special challenges of writing for a digital audience, and even a fascinating look at optimizing headlines to achieve maximum reach in a publishing world where the connection between writers and readers is increasingly governed by algorithms.
Tim writes about mobile issues, with a special focus on mobile payments, and has some great insights about market trends and what the space actually means for the people involved beyond the enterprise / startup world.
Tim’s slides at MCA can be found here: Around the world (of mobile payments) in 30 products, and I can also recommend his write-up of another conference presenter: Fintech startup DoPay has an ingenious idea for bringing banking to the unbanked.
Tim has a combination of humility and sharpness of insight that is quite rare, and deeply enjoyable to be around. I’ve come away from all of our conversations feeling better informed, and more curious about this innovative niche.
David Skerrett, Managing Partner of Nimbletank
While head of social and mobile at R/GA, David sheparded the Nike Fuelband through a 5 year development and roll out that was epic in scope and shared some valuable lessons about creativity, innovation, branding and value creation through platform development in the mobile age. Particularly interesting were his ideas on creating brand value through building platforms that are designed to help users rather than sell products, and his argument that getting an app or experience to launch is only the first part of the journey of constant improvement and iteration necessary for lasting impact in the ever-changing world of mobile.
David is continually brimming with fresh insights about tech trends and usage all over the world, and is clearly an inspiring, creative leader who brings a powerful combination of curiosity, empathy and market savvy to experience design.
Jeremy Abbett, Creative Evangelist for Google Germany
This is the second talk I’ve heard from Jeremy, and it was the same mix of excitement and frustration as the first time. Excitement because nearly every slide is a big idea you could dive into for an hour, and frustrating because instead you get 30 of them in an hour.
Jeremy executes his presentations with humor, humanity and insight, and I’d love to see him in a seminar setting, working with a small audience to dive deeply into a few issues. His mind seems particularly well-tuned to finding core assumptions that can be challenged with a fresh perspective, or a humanistic insight into what at first glance seems to be a technical issue – much needed in the broader debate about some of the key challenges of the digital age:
– What is the best way to promote economic opportunity in a society facing mass disruption through robotic and software automation?
– How do organizations survive the digital transformation when competing in a networked economy defined by power law distributions?
– How can we avoid losing our minds and focus from constant digital interruptions?
Everyone in the audience seems to perk up when he talks, which reminds me of the classic “When EF Hutton Talks…” ads:
An understandable response when listening to insights from a company that is building the future rather than just talking about it like the rest of us. That said, it’s hard to shake the feeling that Google is a company challenged only by itself. Where do all of those great ideas go, and how do you stay focused and driven when you have such a concentration of power, talent and resources?