The 4C’s of 3 Conferences

I just finished a whirlwind of 3 “tech” conferences in 4 weeks: EDUCAUSE (higher ed tech), Aspire 2011 (LivePerson’s global summit on customer engagement) and Defrag 2011 (internet innovation around information transformation).  Three different conferences, three different vertical markets, three different locations and three different “feels”.  But that’s not the interesting part.  The interesting part is that all three talked about the same four things and those things weren’t so techy:

  • Culture
  • Connection
  • Collaboration
  • Content

It was astounding to me that culture – what many might think of as the least techy thing of all – was so important in so many of the presentations.  Why is that?  I’m not sure I know, but what I think is that the past few years – fueled by technology – have created a major shift in how we work, learn and engage – and that culturally, we are trying to keep up.  Education, application development, customer service – they are all feeling the same impact.

As importantly, in many cases, we weren’t talking about tech at all, but rather content.  Content that drove learning, content that created leadership, content that engaged buyers.  “The pipes don’t matter!”  “The LMS as we know it is dead!”  “It’s online and offline – content when and where you want it.”

The best part of all of these conferences for me was that at some level they were all about marketing.  Defining what’s important, where the engagement needs to happen, how the engagement needs to happen and how the brand and culture need to be consistent and honest.  All of this against a backdrop of incredible speakers who challenged us to be honest, to challenge status quo, to look beyond the obvious.  Oh, and that it’s okay to be a Geek.

I can’t give these conferences their full due – literally too much content (!), so check them out yourself with their Twitter hashtags: #EDU11, #defragcon, #Aspire2011.

Michelle Pujadas
Zer0 to 5ive Founder and Co-CEO
Twitter: @Pujadas