Bad Girl, Good Business

When Worlds Collide: A Boomer in a Millennial World

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I just had to experience the Collision Conference.

This is a recap of my first day. I’m leaving after the second day. I am afraid my Boomer brain might explode.

I’ve never been to SXSW (because it conflicts with another industry event) so I felt compelled to spend a little time at one of these new types of gatherings. Having worked as CMO of the largest traditional trade show/conference organizer, I was fascinated by how this next generation will be re-inventing the concept of an industry event. Collision describes it well…unexpected, a little messy, and requiring much booze afterwards to unwind.

Because I love listicles, I’ll summarize my first day in the form of one. And, because most of the companies that exhibited are immature (as in stage of development, not (always) behavior), I’ll write in the style of a “What I Did on My Vacation” school essay.

  1. The badges are big and colorful. The app for the event is super-cool. People actually “meet” and “talk” on it! Check-in was smooth and pleasant.
  2. People (10,000 in total) came from all over the world. They are mostly young, but I spotted lots of people my age too. Older people can be wise.
  3. The floor is set-up like a giant community. Exhibits and speaking spaces are close to each other. People wander around and bump into each other. There are no “aisles” really.
  4. I like the press room. It is called the Media Village and I felt welcomed as a Villager. They are not media snobs. The room has bright red comfy couches and groovy USB bracelets that have press kits on them. They served free coffee and snacks and breakfast and lunch, which isn’t always so in press rooms. The organizers respect the media, including bloggers and citizen journalists. I love that. They have an awesome PR agency too! (Bond).
  5. Lots of inspirational talks go on at the same time.Most of them involve multiple smart people. And the sessions are really short. So, I never got bored. Many of them were standing room only.
  6. Most of the speakers were truly brilliant. No question-and-answer time. Interesting concept. Can be interpreted lots of ways. My favorites will be listed in my listicle post tomorrow, “What I Learned at Collision.”
  7. Exhibits change every day. People don’t have tables or booths. They stand at little countertops (unless they are sponsors and pay a lot of money). Their feet must hurt. But they are young. They can deal with it. 99% of the inventions will never make money. I like guessing the 1%.
  8. Very few people gave out swag. But most had business cards. That made me happy. (And yes, I saw stickers and sunglasses too.)
  9. Although the conference is tech-focused, the organizers believe in paper. They hand out little printed schedules for each day. That made my life easier. I like that. I can also remember what I saw. I have business cards too! Happiness abounds!
  10. I did not go to the Night Summit. Although it is called a summit, I think that people mostly drink lots of booze, hook-up with out-of-town strangers, and babble on about their inventions and their funding. After all, some things about trade shows will never change!

To be continued…




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