Conference News: What I learned this week – May 18, 2018

Comexposium Cuts Confabs:  Comexposium announced that they have suspended their activities for US-based digital marketing events. This will include the 2018 US ad:tech and iMedia events as well as the Modern Marketing Summits (MMS). Comexposium made it clear that this decision was purely based on the ongoing business forecast for the events and will have no effect on the conferences in international markets which you will find here.

Revolutionaries Retire: The Computer History Museum has decided to retire the Revolutionaries series of events. Their two new speaker series include Inside the Transformation which “illustrates the impact and implications of computing through stories of transformative people, companies, or projects” and Technically Speaking which provides “an in-depth look at surprising, unusual, or little-known topics.” Find out who is scheduled for both series in 2018.

Bloomberg’s New Economy Forum: Michael Bloomberg is launching a new global conference that will run from 6 – 8 November in Beijing which, according to the official press release, will “promote collaboration among participants to address the greatest challenges facing the planet, among them climate change, inequality and social disruption created by new technologies.” Called The New Economy Forum, the event will be hosted in partnership with the government-backed China Centre for International Economic Exchanges. Although the organizing committee has indicated that the gathering will be Davos-like in the level of conversations and participants, it will be much smaller. They plan to keep the event attendance at approximately 400 attendees.

Speaking Opportunity: Last week, we wrote about BlockWorld 2018, the newest conference from the team behind DeveloperWeek, happening 12 – 14 September in San Jose. If you have a talk idea related to one of the following tracks – The Future of Money; Internet 2.0 & the Future of the Web; FinTech & Blockchain; Investing in Cryptocurrencies; Crypto Crowdfunding; Security & Cryptography; Ethereum and Smart Contract Innovation; Blockchain, Governance & Compliance – then submit it here by 1 June.

Lunchtime Learning: The Milken Institute Global Conference wrapped up its 2018 addition earlier this month. The forum again brought together leaders from the world’s top firms, organizations, universities and governments to discuss collaborative solutions that widen access to capital, create jobs and improve health around the world. Hear from some of this year’s speakers including primatologist and anthropologist Jane Goodall, U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Paul Ryan, Actress Goldie Hawn and several of the leading business minds of our time.

Coming Up Next Week: More than 1,200 tech professionals gather at the IEEE Women in Engineering (WIE) International Leadership Conference (21-22 May; San Jose) to celebrate innovative peers who are changing the world under the theme “Lead Beyond.” At Palo Alto Ignite – the company’s annual conference for network security and cybersecurity users – attendees will hear from Keren Elazari, an internationally recognized expert on all matters security and hacker culture. Ignite kicks off 21 May in Anaheim. The media and entertainment crowd gather again at Digital Hollywood/Spring (22-24 May; Los Angeles), where panelists debate the industry’s latest trends, technologies, and business strategies. C2 Montreal kicks off 23 May and will center around the theme “Transformative Collisions,” the idea that the intersection of commerce and creativity offers the greatest potential for innovative and actionable solutions to today’s biggest challenges. More than 6,000, representing tech and startups, will attend. And last but not least, The Next Web (TNW) Europe Conference returns to Amsterdam (24 – 25 May) to “predict, discuss, and invent the future” and shape a deeper conversation on how technologies such as blockchain and AI will directly affect industries.


Conference News: What I learned this week – May 11, 2018

Block your Calendar: The team behind DeveloperWeek has announced a new conference to take place in San Jose from 12 – 14 September: BlockWorld 2018. They are expecting 3,000+ attendees and 200+ speakers from blockchain professionals, developers, entrepreneurs, and investors. According to the conference managers, BlockWorld will cover “all areas of disruptive blockchain innovation with tracks including Bitcoin and the Future of Money, Ethereum and FinTech Innovation, ICOs and investing in currencies, Security and Cryptography, Decentralized Apps and Protocols, and more.”

Commerce Conference Comeback: After successfully expanding the East Coast version of Code Commerce to two-days in 2017, the Recode conference team announced that they will again return to New York for their second annual two-day commerce event in September. Code Commerce will again include interviews between retail leaders and Jason Del Rey and Kara Swisher. It will also bring back the On-Location Experiences and small-group networking opportunities. Registration and more info should be available soon.

Speaking Opportunity: The WorkHuman Conference provides the knowledge and tools HR leaders need to unlock the energy of their workforce, increase engagement, and help their companies achieve their full business potential.  The conference managers are now accepting speaker proposals for their 2019 conference, to take place from 18 – 21 March in Nashville, TN.  If you have a topic that aligns with one of the conference tracks, submit your speaker and topic suggestion by 31 May here.

Lunchtime Learning:  Building on the legacy of the Montgomery Technology Conference (which began in 2004), The Montgomery Summit is designed to meet the evolving needs of local and global leaders in technology and finance. Attendance is by-invitation-only, but if you weren’t one of the 1,000 executives and investors who took part in March, you can still check out the best sessions. Hear from experts representing Accenture, IBM, and PBS explain some of today’s most pressing issues in technology and business strategy.

Coming Up Next Week: The 2018 Festival of Media (FOM) Global says buongiorno to Rome on 13 May. Under the theme “Defining Purposeful Media: Culture, Future, Innovation,” the program draws more than 800 delegates from across the international advertising industry. At its Marketing AI conference (15 May; New York), MediaPost aims to move beyond the familiar chatbot face of consumer AI and dig into its implications and immediate benefits to marketers and advertisers. Gateway to Innovation (16 May; St. Louis) is a quality IT event that attracts around 1,200 leaders from the greater St. Louis area and features insights from leaders at Boeing, Google, and Oracle. The fourth annual Rise of AI Conference will be held 17 May in Berlin. Originally created to help a small group of 15 enthusiasts learn, understand, and adapt artificial intelligence, Rise of AI now draws a select crowd of 500 entrepreneurs, investors, journalists, and enterprise executives. And on 17 May in Washington, DC, Bloomberg Live: The Future of Cybersecurity will examine the collaborative framework and workforce education and investment our economy needs to secure tomorrow’s future.


Conference News: What I learned this week – May 4, 2018

See you next May, Eh?: A couple weeks ago we wrote about Collision Conference’s quest to find a new home. If you were one of the respondents who voted for Toronto, you are in luck!  The tech conference announced that it will be relocating from New Orleans to Toronto, Canada next year.  The 2019 event will take place from 20 – 23 May. Watch Canada’s prime minister, Justin Trudeau announce the move here.

San Francisco Gets WIRED: In order to celebrate its 25-year anniversary, WIRED will return to its roots in San Francisco hosting a four-day, city-wide festival from 12 – 15 October. The gathering will celebrate “the ideas, innovations, and individuals that have reshaped our world over the past 25 years, and those that will shape it moving forward.” The Festival, appropriately named WIRED 25 will include open houses at Silicon Valley’s top companies, musical performances and book readings, and a thought leadership forum with keynotes, demos and networking opportunities. The festival organizers expect approximately 2,500 attendees over the course of the four days. More information will be available within the coming weeks.

Speaking Opportunity: Money20/20, taking place from 21 – 26 October, is self-described as the conference “where the Payments, FinTech and Financial Services ecosystem unites to create and explore the disruptive ways in which consumers and businesses manage, spend and borrow money.” The event has a hard Call for Content deadline of 8 June, but the conference organizers recommend submitting ideas ASAP as speakers are confirmed on a rolling basis beginning in March. In order to increase your chances of acceptance review the conference’s step by step guide to its Call for Content process before submitting anything.

Lunchtime Learning: The ASU + GSV Summit attracts more than 4,000 leaders from the enterprise, investment, higher education, and PreK – 12 communities. But this is not your average EDU conference!  Sessions focus on “elevating dialogue and driving action around raising learning and career outcomes through scaled innovation.” The agenda covers topics such as: Why Democratizing xR Will Revolutionize Education; AI Plus Human Intelligence Is The Future of Work; Is the U.S. Ready for Consumers to Rate the Value of Higher Education?; and Free-Range Learning in the Digital Age. Check out all of the compelling speakers here.

Coming up next week: The WSJ launches its inaugural Future of Everything Festival (8 – 10 May; New York) to explore the exciting changes – from art to artificial intelligence – that are transforming our world. Experts from Google, Slack, and even celebrities-turned-entrepreneurs will headline the event, highlighting New York at its most innovative. Just a few miles away, Techonomy NYC also gets underway 8 May, drawing an intimate crowd of movers and shakers who will examine today’s critical technological advancements and policy changes. New Schools Venture Summit will run 8 – 9 May in San Francisco. This annual invitation-only is designed for education leaders who bring important and diverse perspectives in PreK-12 education innovation. And on 9 May in La Jolla, the Near Future Summit will convene inventors, entrepreneurs, media, and investors for an intensive three days of ideas and collaboration, as well as art and music.

Conference News: What I learned this week – April 27, 2018

Brandweek is Back: James Cooper, the editorial director of Adweek, recently announced that his team would be bringing back the storied Brandweek franchise with a “first-of-its-kind event where the most dynamic minds in the brand marketing community will gather to launch hundreds of conversations, thousands of ideas and millions of actions that will shape the future of brands and transform the way they influence the world.” Brandweek conference, which will happen on 23 – 25 September in Palm Springs, will focus on the future of brands through four overarching themes: Emerging Tech, The Future of Retail, The Human Factor, and Brands in Society. More information may be found here.

Follow the Money: Richard Jacobs (organizer of the Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Blockchain Super Conference,) is hosting a new conference in September. The Future Tech Expo, which will take place from 14 – 16 September in Dallas, is self-described as “the only conference that gives attendees the full picture on how “smart money” is betting on the fourth industrial revolution.” The agenda will cover topics including blockchain, artificial intelligence, 3D printing, virtual reality, and other future tech spaces – so that the more than 2,000 attendees can understand how and where investors are placing their bets.

Speaking Opportunity: When Mobile World Congress Americas comes to Los Angeles from 12 – 13 September the agenda will again cover the most critical topics in the mobile industry. The conference managers are looking for speaker and topics suggestions that align with one of their main themes: Media & Entertainment, the 4th Industrial Revolution, Innovation, and The Network. Submit your ideas online by 11 May.

Lunchtime Learning:  The Earnest C. Watson Lecture Series, named after the former dean of the Caltech faculty and emeritus professor of physics who founded the series in 1922, features speakers from Caltech and JPL, who address their cutting-edge research. Watch some of the fascinating topics covered in these videos: What Columbus Discovered as professor Nicholas Wey-Gomez unwinds the threads of discovery; How Clean is the Cloud? considered by Professor Adam Wierman; and Using Fish to Understand How and Why We Sleep by professor David Prober.

Coming Up Next Week: The Milken Institute will hold its annual, by-invitation-only Global Conference for 3,500 business leaders and government officials in Beverly Hills. Its 2018 theme “Navigating a World in Transition” draws attention to the forum’s perennial goal of advancing collaborative solutions that widen access to capital, create jobs, and improve health. In New York, the O’Reilly Artificial Intelligence (AI) Conference runs 30 April – 2 May, offering attendees updates on the most important AI developments for business, through the lens of both technical and strategy-based sessions. Over the past several years, Interop ITX (30 April – 4 May; Las Vegas) has remained one of the largest events geared toward IT decision makers across all industries. New in 2018: The program has been designed by all-new track chairs. Collision kicks off its fifth year as “America’s fastest growing tech conference,” drawing about 25,000 attendees last year. This year’s event takes place from 1 – 3 May in New Orleans and features CEOs and other senior speakers from companies such as Facebook, Lyft, Microsoft, and Oracle. And on 1 May, The Atlantic will again host its Education Summit for 250 educators and policymakers tackling the monumental question: What does the future of American education look like?

Conference News: What I learned this week – April 20, 2018

Collision in Canada? In a recent LinkedIn post, Paddy Cosgrove, the founder of Web Summit and its sister conference in the U.S., Collision, announced that Collision Conference has outgrown its New Orleans venue and that he and his team are looking for a “bigger and more globally connected home” for 2019 and beyond. They are inviting members of the tech community to vote on the next venue in an online survey.  Options include Toronto, San Francisco, Denver, Las Vegas (where it began in 2014) or New York.

Forbes makes an Impact: Forbes will debut its Impact Summit on 12 – 13 June in New York, focused on impact investing. It is described by the conference organizers as an “exclusive, invitation only event for doers and investors who believe real world action matters more than talk.”  And in order to continue the conversation and build a peer community around this gathering, Forbes will “activate Impact members throughout the year, creating a loyal and influential group to lead the next generation.” Find more information on the event here.

Speaking Opportunity: Open Source Summit North America is “the leading conference for developers, architects and other technologists – as well as open source community and industry leaders – to collaborate, share information, learn about the latest technologies and gain a competitive advantage by using innovative open solutions.” From 29 – 31 August, 2,000 attendees will convene in Vancouver in an event that will combine LinuxCon, ContainerCon, CloudOpen and the new Open Community Conference. If you have a topic idea related to Cloud Native Apps/Microservices; Infrastructure & Automation (Cloud/Cloud Native/DevOps); Artificial Intelligence & Data Analytics; Linux Systems; Open Collaboration Conference; Diversity Empowerment Summit; or Emerging Open Technologies, submit before the CFP closes on  29 April.

Lunchtime Learning: The Women in the World Summit held its ninth annual gathering on 12 – 14 April in NYC, with leaders such as Hillary Rodham Clinton, MSNBC host Joy-Ann Reid, Parkland gun control activist Delaney Tarr, Liberian Nobel laureate Leymah Gbowee and  Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi. If you were not able to attend, you can still hear the stories of “CEOs and world leaders to artists, activists, peacemakers, and firebrand dissidents” whose personal stories illuminate the most pressing international issues here.

Coming up next week: MIT’s Club of Northern California will host its AI Conference (20-22 April; San Francisco) focused on how machine learning is shaping the future of industries and creating industries of the future. Starting 22 April, data scientists, engineers, and information architects will gather at Enterprise Data World. The event, which runs through the 27th and is held in San Diego, draws over 800 attendees and offers tutorials, workshops, and lightning talks on everything from data strategy to semantic technology. eMerge Americas kicks off 23 April in Miami and highlights the “latest innovations driving transformation around the globe” for nearly 13,000 business leaders, investors, and entrepreneur attendees. MarTech West runs 23 – 25 April in San Jose. Its aim is to “cross-pollinate” the best ideas and latest innovations across marketing, technology, and management, and its attendees will hear from brands and agencies, as well as marketing execs from technology firms. Finally, Professional Business Woman of California (PBWC) Conference (24 April; San Francisco) features another year of top-notch keynoters and industry experts for an examination of the biggest challenges and opportunities facing women leaders today.

LinkedIn vs Long Form – Are Speaker Bios Obsolete?

Fifteen years ago, when I would launch a speaker program for a new client, I’d work with them for a week or so refining the executive speakers’ biographies.  I even had a template for those who didn’t already have some type of written bio.

Fast forward to 2018.  When I launch a speaker program now, one of the first things I do is look up the executives’ LinkedIn profiles because I know that is what conference organizers also do when considering speakers.  I rarely use bios when I “pitch” speakers. Instead, I send an email with a hyperlink to…(you guessed it!) their LinkedIn profile.  I’ve even seen several Call-for-Presenter (CFP) forms, request a link to a speaker’s LinkedIn, or other online profile, in the place of a bio.

Does this mean that executives biographies are pointless?  No. Bios are still necessary.

It is common to include executive profiles on a company website. This helps build trust by associating people with the brand. When those in charge have impressive and relevant backgrounds, that often reassures potential employees, customers, partners and investors. Bios are also important in the context of the speaker program. Once a speaking engagement invitation is confirmed, a bio is typically posted on the conference website, illustrating the reason that particular speaker is suited to address the topic. (That said, the word count of the posted bio is often culled to highlight only the executive’s most recent responsibilities and achievements.)

For the purposes of pitching a speaker, however, bios are not as important as having a strong LinkedIn profile. Several years ago, unscrupulous public relations or communications people were able to fudge executive titles.  I remember being asked on several occasions whether strategically removing words such as sales or marketing from a title (words that might raise red flags to conference managers and attendees) would increase the chances that a subject matter expert might be chosen as a speaker. Though it was not an advisable practice then, in the modern days of online transparency, obfuscating a title is no longer possible.  Conference managers will search for a speaker’s name or go to LinkedIn to examine their background before, or in addition to, opening an attachment with a corporate bio. Why rely on a document that could be embellished, when there is ample information online?

I don’t claim to be an expert on LinkedIn marketing or how to develop the best profile, but these are a few tips I’ve learned from some of the savvy executives with whom I’ve worked.

  • Use a current photo. Make sure it is professional or shows your expertise.
  • Ensure that the profile is up to date. At the very least, all job titles and memberships should be accurate.
  • Customize the URL. It creates a positive impression if you have taken the time to customize your LinkedIn URL. This is an easy update to make through the platform.
  • Use it to publish content. Posting content on LinkedIn shows that you are a thought leader who has, and is not afraid to share, ideas and opinions.
  • Add video to the experience section, if relevant. If you have spoken at events in the past and have a good sample video to share, do! This is a simple way to show that you have speaking experience.

LinkedIn also offers tips for updating your profile which may be found here.

Conference News: What I learned this week – March 30, 2018

Focus on FinTech: The Linux Foundation recently announced that they would be hosting a new event… the Open FinTech Forum.  It will highlight “how cutting-edge open source technologies — including AI, Blockchain/Distributed Ledger, Kubernetes/Containers, and Quantum Computing — can be leveraged to drive efficiencies and flexibility in an organization.” The conference will happen this fall, 10 – 11 October, in New York City.

California Dreaming: Last year we wrote about how the Techno Security & Digital Forensics Conference was expanding to Texas with a second annual conference in San Antonio.  Now, the conference organizers have announced that they are expanding even further – adding a third location in 2019! Taking place from 11 – 13 March 2019 just outside San Diego, the Techno Security & Digital Forensics Conference in California will allow attendees on the west coast to “gain all the knowledge, networking, etc. that the brand provides to the cybersecurity/digital forensics industry.” Read the original announcement here.

Speaking Opportunity: AutoMobility LA is the result of a 2016 merger between the Connected Car Expo and Los Angeles Auto Show Trade Days. Showcasing the latest in automotive innovation, the conference gathers technology companies, automakers, designers, entrepreneurs, government officials and press. If you have a topic and/or speaker idea to share, submit it via the CFP form by 13 April.

Lunchtime Learning:  The Great Place to Work for All Summit is “dedicated to helping business people learn how to build a winning workplace culture.” Hear executives from companies such as Accenture, Atlassian, Marriott, Quicken Loans, SAP, Salesforce, Workday, and PwC—many of which you’ll find on Fortune’s annual 100 Best Companies to Work For list.

Coming up next week: The Globoforce WorkHuman Conference gets underway 3 April in Austin. In its fourth year, the WorkHuman Conference pairs an impressive keynote line up with topical breakouts and networking for those driving the next generation of HR. On 4 April, Commonwealth Club will partner with the University of San Francisco in producing Innovate for Good, a one-day forum merging social good and business profit interests. The US News STEM Solutions Conference (4-6 April; Washington, DC) offers more than 1,400 attendees an executive-level examination of the complexities of developing a workforce skilled in science, technology, engineering, and math. Email marketers will gather at the Email Evolution Conference (4 – 6 April; New Orleans) to hear experts from Litmus, MailChimp, and other well-known brands. And executives from across the country head to the Northeast next week for women’s leadership programming as Simmons Leadership Conference takes place on 5 April (Boston) and Stern Women in Business (SWIB) Conference runs 6 April (New York).