Reflection – Biking to Tech Leadership Conference 2013

In life away from bicycles I’m a techie project manager and part-time geek which makes something like Communitech‘s Technology Leadership Conference an ideal event.

Living a few hundred meters from work, I cycle every chance I get. I’ve found I really miss it, the daily cycling commute that is. However this morning, I was a bit dismayed with all the snow. First because I’d have to shovel, secondly when I looked out I was a bit worried it could be too deep or slushy to cycle to the conference at Bingeman’s park.

Auhg - got to shovel again!

However, once I left around 8am the roads were in good shape having been cleared by vehicle traffic albeit a bit juicy.

Arriving at the conference I my shoes were a bit soaked, feet a bit damp and my pants were drenched around my ankles. It felt like a good choice wearing my softshell Mec pants.

The ride to Bingemans was easy enough, basically straight out Guelph Street which I never realized went under Highway 86 (or whatever they happen to call it today). It’s a much better way to cross Highway 86 than University or Erb Street (Union to Lancaster’s a recent favourite as well).

The Tech Conference was great here’s a few nuggets I picked up from the Keynote speakers as well as the break out session I attended by @aprildunford.

Thorsten Heins:

  • Blackberry fought hard not to allow the media to define their future. They determined what their vision was going to be: the Z10 is the first mobile computing platform. With the Z10 we no longer carry smartphones we carry mobile computers. It’s a new industry.
  • I was impressed with his passion, his vision and his optimism for the future
  • As an individual whose personal wealth is tied up with BB.TO’s future I was impressed (property value, salary level, technology eco-system, rrsp’s etc)
  • But being an android user who runs his off-bike life on google products I wanted to wait to hear from Patrick Pichette the Google’s CFO. (Although I want you all to be BBRY products for the reasons in the previous bullet.)

Seth Godin:

I am a Seth Godin fan. I devour his books, read his blog daily and spout his quotes to my managers ad nauseum (they’re going to get sick of me pretty soon). Seth didn’t disappoint, his message was inspiring.

  • Marketing principles for today: Coordination, Trust, Permission, Exchange of Ideas, Generosity, Art
  • In the post industrial era tomorrow’s currency will be human connection
  • Where’s your tribe? That’s where you should be playing
  • This talk was emotional for me, I was choking back the tears (yes I’m a geek)

Patrick Pichette (He rides his bicycle to work every day!)

  • It was facinating to compare and contrast Patrick with Thorsten, Google vs Blackberry.  One friend noted on twitter that Patrick spoke with ‘We’ and Thorsten spoke with ‘I’ … he wondered if that meant anything. I’m still a google fan, even though I’m rooting for a Blackberry comeback.
  • It was like an infomercial to either come and work for Google or to create ideas, companies that google can buy. Patrick was incredibly passionate, and I was won over as soon as I heard he rides his bicycle to work every day.
  • He spoke of Google in four ways. Google the business, the innovator, the university lab, and the google values
  • His reference to Google’s values is the reason I’m such a google fan, I don’t care what the skeptics say I bought it hook line and sinker (do no evil and open access to information).
  • Nuggets from Patrick:
    • Think globally … in any business plan we do, it should have 50% of the revenue coming from outside of Canada
    • We need to educate our kids about taking risks. We need to teach our kids to fail at business from a young age. We need to hug our kids after a long day at play coming home for hours selling lemonade disappointed from selling zero glasses.
    • Google hires employees for life, that’s why take such good care of their people. So very interesting.

April Dunford – Start up Marketing

  • I will go to the site and watch the streamed breakout sessions as they all looked fantastic. I choose April’s session more as a personal learning kind of thing. I happened to be sitting at her table with a friend Rob Sale and we were probably gushing a little too much over Seth’s talk. During lunch when I found out she was in marketing I grilled her what she thought of Seth (I’m learning that a lot of rank and file marketing folks don’t really buy his Kool Aid but have read all his books).  Anyways while we were talking I probably cut April about 5 times grilling her on my marketing pet peeves (being an engineer of course) only to find out she was a leading a breakout session. I felt foolish for sure, and figured as punishment I should go listen to her session without interrupting :P
  • After going to April’s session I gleaned a few nuggets:
    • don’t just focus on the initial sale, think about the sales cycles, sales renewal, customer satisfaction and customer service 
    • focus on objections, barriers to making that sale or keeping that customer
    • reeducate the customer on your story
  • April’s talk was roll-up the sleeves and do the sweaty marketing work, which contrasted to Seth’s change the world message.

2 thoughts on “Reflection – Biking to Tech Leadership Conference 2013

  1. Love your post Graham.
    We’re entering a new era. and we have to prepare our kids for it even if we’re not prepared ourselves. I’ve been traveling sans l’auto for over 5 years and love it. Granted, a PMV is necessary for some trips, but the majority of time, I can walk, ride my bike or when the weather is incompatible, take public transit. I shared a post on FB yesterday that expounded many of the ideas you got from the conference. I wish I’d known about it.

  2. I’ve been loving the big sorel boots this winter with all this sloppy wet snow. Between the grippy bmx pedals and the big boots I never slip off the pedals or get wet feet. Keeps my clothes clean and dry too, at least the ankle area. I haven’t shovelled the driveway much since work is slow right now and mostly in town.

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