There are two main reasons why people attend conferences:
Content – they hope to hear something useful, interesting, new, inspiring and learn things which they can use and implement.
Networking – to meet other people with similar interests or someone they can learn from or collaborate with.
Usually, you mostly get one of the two – in most cases it’s networking.
At Spark.me, the best conference in the region which happens every year in May in beautiful Montenegro, not only that you can find very useful content and a great group of people to network with, but you also get a lot of inspiration, positive energy and a whole community of spark.me fans.
For those of you who haven’t been there, if you have to choose which speeches not to miss, here is my list:
Peter Shankman – author of Faster than normal podcast, founder of Help a reporter, Ironman
This guy was a keynote speaker the first day and he blew us away. He showed once again that when you talk and share lessons from your personal experience – that speech must be unique and interesting. The guy earned money to start his business by selling T-shirts online right after the Titanic movie premier. The text on the T-shirt said: “It sunk. Get over it”. Many other things he did in life may seem very basic and simple but done at the right time, they turned into a profitable business (such as help a reporter mailing list).
Another takeaway was to remember that having an audience is a privilege and that you should ask them how they want to receive content and give them that way. Customer service is so bad that if you are one level above crap you will win most brands. Also, always check your spelling and if you care about your customers – reply personally to their emails and listen to what they are saying about your company and brand.
When you make a mistake, own it. Customers that you have admitted a mistake to, apologized and fixed it become more loyal than the ones that you haven’t made a mistake with.Peter Shankman
The current attention span of most people is 2.7 seconds – use them well. Become a better communicator.
Sam Conniff – author of the book Be more pirate
Sam’s speech was so motivation and amazing that he received standing ovations in the end. I am very sad he spoke so fast at some points I had a hard time understanding and everything. I can’t wait until the video of this speech goes out – I will watch it once again and fill in the gaps because the guy is amazing! He decided to organize his own book promotion as his publisher didn’t want to. He forged the permission to put up a huge ad for his book on the publisher’s building on the day when the book was supposed to come out. That caught a lot of media attention. He also photoshopped famous people with his book and as if they recommended it. Richard Branson praised his “ask for forgiveness, not permission” approach which he himself often promotes. The most memorable and the most quoted Sam’s quote was:
“Sometimes, when you hear NO pretend as if you have heard GO”.Sam Conniff
You have to be braver and break the rules once in a while. As he says: “There are no statues for people who are only following orders.” If you are always playing by the rules, you are not working hard enough, and you are not going to change anything. His book is about professional rule breaking and it is on my “to read” list. It should be on yours, too because I am sure it will push you to be braver and do things you want but are afraid to start. I suggest you also watch Sam Conniff TED talk.
I can’t decide whose speech was better – Jeremiah Owyang’s or Lars Silberbauer’s
They are both professionals who know what they are talking about.
Jeremiah talked about six digital eras which perfectly explains how digitalization and technology were changing the world – from the start until now and where we are headed.
Few memorable quotes: “We are already cyborgs – constantly attached to our phones.”
“Humans are turning to AI for friends and therapy. Why? It’s there 24/7, it’s free or cheap and there is no judgment from an AI bot.”
And maybe the most important one as we are headed into the future of automation:
“Analyze what can be automated and make sure it’s not you.”Jeremiah Owyang
As Milos Djajic wrote on Twitter – this conference gives us oxygen and brings us the future. The talks, the energy, the entire impression, and the atmosphere is just contagious and it leaves you wanting for more. I’ll be back next year, hope to see you there too 🙂
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