I had a great opportunity to keynote at Drew and Scott's Like Minds Conference in Exeter UK last week. While I had made the decision to attend quite a while back, a certain part of me didn't know exactly what to expect.
Here are the 5 highlights of my experience (in no significant order):
1. Molly Flatt, 1000 Heads and President WOMUK: I knew Molly from WOMMA and it was great to see her. Her comments on the final panel of the day were one of the many bright spots. Talking about the #uksnow meme that sprang up around the unusual snowfall in London (should of been in DC 2 weeks ago!), she made a really pressing point about how brands could be more reactive and responsive to what was happening vs. trying to conjure up their own "brand experience." Her example - with people tweeting up a storm and even writing #uksnow in the actual snow, why didn't a brand like Gap make snowmen outside their stores, dress them up in Gap and post photos via Twitter/flickr? The insight for me is less about the tactical suggestion - a good one - but rather that brands could be ready and responsive to what is already going on. Remember that great (and ironic) video that EA created with Tiger Woods published on YouTube that showed him walking on water after a user found a bug in the Tiger Woods XBox game that did the same. EA jumped into an existing meme and in some way rewarded those who were sharing about the game glitch with an extraordinary video featuring the man, himself.
2. @joannejacobs had a great style which the crowd responded well to. Her message was clear - there are good uses of new technology (like augmented reality) and there is gratuitous or bad implementations. She used an Ikea implementation as a good use - they allow you to overlay items in your space to test drive them, so-to-speak. She challenged the delightful (perhaps) but somewhat silly uses of augmented where you place a 'code" in front of a camera and you can watch an animation come to life (so long as you are in front of the camera etc...). At the heart of what she was saying - embrace a discipline of being useful and actually think through what problem you might solve with the innovation.
3. @jonakwue did a great bit equating social media with the life and death of hip hop. being a DJ, he found analogies in the remix culture of music with that of social media. he referenced and advocated for the book - The Pirate's Dilemma. He had a process slide that I snapped.
4. Exeter UK is a hidden gem. Okay, hidden form me perhaps. Two and a half hours outside of London, who would have guessed that such a cool little town existed. It is a place that you could actually imagine living in (if you have kids) and you can actually buy stuff there as well. @scottgould and @drewellis did a great job of luring us all there and John Harvey aka @exeterccm - the City Centre Manager was a terrific host.
5. The dueling views of media from the Guardian and the Telegraph. @kate_day from the Telegraph didn't exactly rave about that companies embrace of "digital" but I sensed that she felt encouraged about how they were making commitments. I mean she is the communities manager there - a job you wouldn't expect at a new company.
There were a lot of other great moments. Chris Brogan was funny during his personal story/presentation. The crowd seemed to really appreciate that he was there. There was a great mix of public and private organizations, small and big businesses there (like Orange). Scott and Drew did a great job.