“User conferences.” Blech! That’s such a corporate word. It belongs right up there with “synergy” and “efficiency.” But, what they should be called is something that accurately describes them and what I thoroughly enjoy about them.
People meeting up with similar interests talking about topics they all more or less agree that they want and need to learn. User meetups? Now, that just sounds like a dating service. Unconferences tend to lack the structure that I think some people enjoy. I digress.
I love user conferences, not because my schedule becomes gridlocked with activity, but that I get to stand back and watch our users enjoy themselves. Often, I am behind the scenes helping our users connect and share their feedback through the barriers of anonymity of the Internet. It’s so nice when not only do people know you, they more or less appreciate what you do for them year-round.
That makes me happy. (You could infer that I love being loved. No lies; I do.)
It’s more than that. Believe me, if I was a martyr for fame, I’m doing it wrong. I just love helping people have a good time with the company and if social media can be a part of that, then you can count me in.
Conversely, I love seeing what lights them up. At a user conference, people vote with their feet more than what they say or think; it’s a reality. If there’s something legitimately cool (or lame) going on, look at the direction and the intensity of the foot traffic. That type of (un)civil engineering is brilliant and I love watching the clockwork take place during an event. There’s something unfiltered and raw about that. Perhaps I need another fetish, because now you’re getting creeped out by me talking about feet. (For the record, I don’t have a foot fetish…)
Yes, I love the people at a conference. Yes, I love the content. And yes, I love the free beer.
But it’s the ecosystem of it all. It’s the planning of it that is daunting and deeply exciting. It’s the flawless execution – almost militarized how my team and I go about it. It’s the camaraderie and the spontaneity of the event. It’s an ecosystem where everyone is helping each other out to grow and fertilize each other with smiles, handshakes, hugs and eye-contact with the idea that it will grow into something more.
And for one day, all these people, partners, sponsors, speakers, planners, employees and friends all show up for us. Not “for” us, but you know what I mean … in support of what we’re doing for our customers.
And this is what I call winning. Thank you.
I appreciate it and love being a part of the action.
What user conference am I talking about? InfusionCon.