Friday, June 15, 2012

MosoConf Day #2

See: MosoConf Day #1

Day two of MosoConf proved to be just as fun and informative as day number one. Here is how it went.

Speaker 1: Dan Martell

Dan kicked the day off with an insightful talk about being an Entrepreneur and whats needed to succeed.

What I took away:

  • Motivation is Everything - You don’t need to know anything to do something, you just need the motivation to do it.
  • By knowing what your customers want, you can become very successful. Don’t assume you know what they want, actually talk to them and find out.
  • Hustle to Help - Don’t hesitate to help people out, who knows what can happen as a result.

Speaker 2: Saul Colt, M. Jackson Wilkinson, and Jennifer Fraser

The first select-a-session I went to on day 2 was a Q/A session discussing User Experience. While Saul directed the questioning, Jackson and Jennifer fielded the answers. With Jackson being a startup guy and Jennifer being from a large scale business, their answers were quite varied, but both very informative.

What I took away:

  • You need to understand the problem at hand. You must know how your users are currently dealing with an issue (if at all). Communication is key. Sometimes what they think/say are not actually the problem(s) the user is facing.
  • It is impossible to test everything.
  • When adding extra users to usability testing is no longer providing extra information to your testing efforts, it is probably time to stop. Make sure to deal with "I don't knows".
  • Dealing with habits - Users will develop habits when using a system. Changing how they do things, even its making things easier for them, will (at least at first) cause panic. Unless the changes are really bad, people will be generally be ok with the changes soon enough.
  • Gamificaiton - Can be really useful if it helps your users solve their problems. However if it is just added on to make things fun, then its probably not needed.
  • Be diligent about the tools you can use - Don’t use tools just because they are easier than other, use them because they are the right tool for the task you’re trying complete.

Speaker 3: Ryan Holowaty, Jordan Schidlowsky, Ty Bader, and Lee Vermeulen

This session was my one personal choice for the conference. Video Games are a fairly large part of who I am so I had to take a few minutes to go to my roots. This Q/A session was run by Arlin Schaffel.

What I took away:

  • Testing on a fragmented marketplace (in regards to Android) - You simply cannot test on 1600+ devices, you just cant, but you can test weird edge cases on certain hardware/software combinations you are told about.
  • Making money on mobile - The first step is building a community. This typically involves giving games away for free. Later on, once you've built a name and brand for yourself, you can charge for new apps.
  • Other mobile money grabs - In-app purchases and producing 'lite' and 'full' versions of apps.

Speaker 4: Brendan King

Brendan gave us an interesting talk about managing your online reputation. In an effort to not repeat the lessons of speakers from the day before, a good chunk of his original talk was very quickly passed over. However, this gave us the opportunity to see his company's StepRep software. While he wasn't trying to turn the talk into a pitch about his product, it was pretty interesting to see what kind of data one of his real clients was receiving.

What I took away:

  • Online Reputation is what you say about yourself (digital footprint) and what others say about you (digital shadow).
  • Mistakes will happen - how they are dealt with is what can make/break you.
  • You don't have to participate in online interactions about your organization, but you need to at least know what's being said.

Speaker 5: Rob Swick, Albert Jame, M. Jackson Wilkinson, and Mark O’Sullivan

This "talk" was the speakers taking viewer's websites and critiquing them. Since it was an ever changing talk, I just noted some of the website building things that could apply to any site

Random Points:

  • Main page carousels - make each slide more interesting so people will interact with them. Make buttons on carousel more easy to access (bigger).
  • A lot of sites will "degrade" the further into them you get. Ensure inner pages look the same as main pages.
  • Ensure your corporate logo is easy to read!
  • Who are you? What do you do? Are you taking advantage of H1s and H2s (they help SEO too)?
  • Don’t use too much text to describe who you are
  • Change default link colors, even if it is just to tone down their intensity
  • A/B testing is key!

Speaker 6: Saul Colt

The final presentation of the conference was all about influence and how to really make an impact on your audience. Saul, with his quirky fashion sense, gave us an excellent talk about how to make a statement by having your customers make it for you.

What I took away:

  • "People don’t like to be marketed to but they sure like to buy stuff." If you can create a great experience for your clients and they’ll market the product for you!
  • Do interesting things - People want to live your brand, they don’t want to hear features, they want to hear stories.
  • K.L.T. - To be truly influential, you have to truly Know, Like, and Trust someone.
  • 4 E’s - Execute Extraordinary Experiences Everyday
  • Having 100,000+ untargeted followers is not as influential as having 200 very targeted followers

All in all, I thought MosoConf was a very enlightening experience. I'd love to attend it again in future years. Thanks to my employer for covering the cost of the tickets.

My Social Experiment

I decided to run a social experiment on the second day of the conference. Seeing as the vast majority of attendees are smartphone wielding techies, I was certain if I put a QR-Code on my chest I would have people randomly walking up and snapping a shot of my nipple all day. I was very mistaken. The only person who actually 'clicked' my code was my coworker... and he only did it cause I told him to. So since the vast majority of people I talked to thought it was silly combined with fact that basically no one took advantage of it, perhaps its a sign that QR codes are in fact dead. On to the next big thing I suppose.

MosoConf Day #1

Today was my first opportunity to attend a conference since leaving University. And I have to say, it has been quite a lot of fun, informative, and insightful.

Speaker 1: Duncan Stewart

Duncan is a "futurist" from Deloitte Canada who's role it is to predict what trends are going to happen. What differentiates them from people with lofty predictions of the future is their accuracy. All their predictions contain the following: What, Who, and When. What his company does aside, Duncan's talk was very entertaining and eye-opening at the same time.

What I took away:

  • Despite how popular mobile is, 92% of internet traffic in the US is on a personal computer.
  • > 90% of tablet traffic is on an iOS device.
  • And, whatever your mobile strategy is, it must adhere to lower-tier smartphones. That is, not forgetting that a large number of smartphone users out there do not use the "Crème de la crème" devices available and your stuff should work with their devices as well.

Speaker : Darren Hailes

Darren is a Social Media expert at WestJet. He gave us an informative talk about how his company uses Social Media to help their customers. He also presented us with some pretty sweet videos his company put together.

Key points I got:

  • Don’t be afraid of negative feedback, complaints are time for you/your organization to step up.
  • Know your product intimately and expose the unique things in an interesting way.
  • Converse with your followers, and don't be a robot while you do it.

The videos he showed us:

Speaker 3: Julien Smith

Julien's presentation was called "You do not exist", but I preferred my title for it (a line he said near the beginning) - "Leveling you shit up!". I say that because his talk (at least I felt) was about how to grow your business and the path's you can take to get there... in a round-about way. He showed us some videos of the crazy things people do when they become truly in-tuned with their bodies and moving in ways most people don't today simply because they developed the skills that many humans have forgotten.

What I took away:

  • Persistence Hunting: What do you need to do to get to the next level? What is the thing that we can develop to out-last our competition?
  • "Once you’ve found your niche, you play it to the hilt… and let it turn you into a weapon"
  • “Our prison is our own ideas” Things have become such a pattern that you no longer feel stimulus.
  • Act on the inevitable today and innovate before everyone else does

Speaker 4: Rob Swick

This session was all about SEO. Rob had a twist on the regular idea of SEO by mixing it with some core principles from Feng Shui. While Feng Shui has 8 fundamentals that it is based on, Rob's SEO "Bagua" has nine broken up into three categories (order of importance left -> right):
  • Structure - Organization, Coding, Links
  • Identity - History, Focus, Location
  • Content - Targeting, Content, Social Media

A few points I took away:

  • Content: Targeting - What does your target want? Think about how these people see it.
  • Context: Competition - Study the successful competition and break things down to a general term level. If they’re winning certain terms, find out why.
  • Content: Social Media - It's important… but only 5% important.

Speaker 5: M. Jackson Wilkinson

(Michael) Jackson gave us an interesting talk about how you need to keep things consistent between all platforms your business operates on. Colors don't necessarily need to be the same from platform to platform, but the general layout and functionality should.

What I took away:

  • Rinse, Borrow, Repeat. Take what you’ve done, extend it to other platforms, you don’t necessarily need to change things.
  • Choose your platforms wisely
  • Don’t Ever skimp on quality!

Speaker 6: Mark O’Sullivan

This talk wasn't originally on my docket of presentations to see but there were schedule changes and this is what I went with. Mark is the creator of Vanilla forums and had many a lesson to teach us about online communities and how to manage them.

What I took away:

  • 90 / 9 / 1 rule - 90% of people know about a community, 9% of people have accounts, 1% are active users.
  • Sinking - Forcibly closing/locking discussions cause mad outbursts from people. Instead of deleting or closing a thread it causes bad/trolled posts to slowly disappear. Sinking causes the discussion to die… and no one knows they’re discussion was programmatically dropped in rank.
  • If you have a community for your organization, link to it from your main navigation.
  • Don't Engage Trolls... Ever. Trolls will poison a community.

Speaker 7: Dave Carroll

I'm sure just about everyone knows who Dave Carroll is, if not by name but by reputation. Dave is the United Breaks Guitars guy. Being a simple musician, who got thrusted into the world of Social Media seemingly by accident, he gave us fun, music-filled, informative talk.

What I took away:

  • Is social media relevant to your business? You need to embrace it… You need to know what your consumers can do and say, and you need a way to defend against them.
  • Don't get caught in the “statistically insignificant” trap. With attitudes like these, your bound to lose customers (a 5% disgruntled customer rate can cause quite a stir online!)
  • Branding - Companies no longer controls their brand exclusively. The stories behind the story are just as interesting. You co-create your brand with your customers.

That finished off day 1. I'm looking forward to day 2 which starts right away.

See: MosoConf Day #2