Now that I’ve had time to wrap up the last bits of my blogs and rearrange my notes (and take a few naps…) I thought I’d share my Live-Blogger’s Last Word about this year’s Rocks Digital conference.
And I’m going to start with the end…
The closing keynote speaker at any conference usually has an unenviable spot. They’re talking to conference attendees who have that happy hour in their sights, and they probably have numb behinds (because the chairs at conferences are not made for comfort). Usually people are packing their bags on the sly and getting ready to roll out. It’s not the speaker’s fault, they just got an awkward spot in the lineup. And then Lissa throws us a curve ball in the form of John Marrone.
There are some older Saturday Night Live sketches with Chris Farley playing the role of Matt Foley, a motivational speaker. Matt’s had a rough time of things and his introduction was usually someone noting that he had spent the last 4 hours in some location drinking espressos and, when Matt came on scene, he was at the “wound-up” level of someone who had been chugging espresso for four hours. John Marrone, too, is a motivational speaker – HOWEVER, John’s a bona fide live-wire and I don’t think espresso has a darn thing to do with it. If you missed John Marrone, you missed not only some spectacular stories, but the opportunity to really think about how you’re living your life, and what you could be doing to make yourself into the very best version of you. At the end of his session, John had us on our feet shouting “I am a BEAST!!” at each other. I’m sure I am not the only one who wrapped up the conference feeling ready to take on the world, and I have John Marrone to thank for that.
I usually learn a lot of new things at the Rocks Digital Conference, and this year was no exception. This year I learned more about using video and about Facebook Live. Antoine Dupont’s talk gave me a ton of pointers to pass on to my clients about what they should be using video for in their businesses. (Hint – NOT COMMERCIALS!) There was a lot of talk about Artificial Intelligence and voice search, and how that is and will be impacting us, both as service providers and consumers. I’ll admit that before hearing Goldie Chan speak, I had never even THOUGHT about video on LinkedIn, but her insights have made me wonder if I have clients who would benefit from working that into their strategies.
Several speakers talked about the importance of answering the questions people have, and AnswerThePublic.com came up multiple times. If you haven’t discovered it yet, take a look (after you’ve finished reading my blog post!). There were a lot of conversations about building relationships and connecting with people, not just making sales.
But, I think the biggest find for me at this conference was something that has been there all along, and I really started to pay attention to just how valuable it is this year – community. I got to have some really good conversations with people who I had met in past years. I felt like my fellow live-blogger Edgar and I really connected, and we were on the same page, which makes the job we do much easier. And I didn’t take the opportunity (but should have) to actually tell Robin Moss just how much I’ve learned from her over the years that I’ve been live blogging but holy heck, she’s a live-wire, and I look forward to even the smallest snippets of conversations I get to have with her. And getting to chat with Dean Lindsay is always a pleasure, whether he’s presenting or not.
I’m already wondering who is going to make the lineup for next year. We had some panelists, like Denise Casagrande, that I’d like to see have their own spots. And I’d be thrilled to have Sinan Kanatsiz give us some more insights, because I learned so much from his session and feel like he has more he could share with us. Kudos to those who stepped up to fill in slots where someone couldn’t make it (I’m lookin’ at you, Tyler Sickmeyer!), and am beyond grateful and in awe of everyone who keeps things going behind-the-scenes.
The downside is that I just can’t be in every single breakout session – I ‘d love to figure out how to clone myself for the conference and then be able to use some sort of mind melding to absorb it all. It’s like trying to get a drink of water from a firehose (in the VERY BEST WAY), and I thank Lissa Duty for allowing me to experience the magic that is Rocks Digital.