My first summit was in 2010. It was a simple affair, more like a meetup. There were about 120 people total all fitting in one room. It was fun and familial. I remember we had a thing called Marketo Idol where users would describe the coolest thing they did with a Smart Campaign. Alexandre Pelletier won. This week Alexandre was there as CEO of a Marketo consultancy. There were lots of blasts from the past including the first Marketo user Jodi Florence (who now works for Marketo) and a slew of Marketo Alumni. We even handed our Alumnus buttons to people to show their pride.
Since 2010, there have been a total of 6 summits. Each one has been bigger than the last. This time, it was roughly the same size as last year, but the venue was much bigger. It was the first non-California event of the 6; this one in Las Vegas at the MGM Grand hotel.
The MGM is enormous. The hallways go for eternity. It was so long, it created an illusion where you though the hallway disappeared into the horizon.
There were also a ton of hidden areas, like VIP lofts. That place is a little city unto itself.
The Keynote from Phil was OK. I didn’t hear anything earth-shattering. To be fair, it’s hard to earth-shatter every 12 months. There was a woman talking about climbing a mountain. At first, I thought she was a marketer and I couldn’t figure out how she was going to tie the mountain into marketing. Then I realized she was an inspirational speaker. (Ooops)
There was a guy from the Portland Trailblazers. As a Warriors fan, I had to boo him. (Sorry) He was kinda boring, so I don’t even mind.
Finally, the big man, Will Smith came on stage. He sang a song and got everyone on their feet. Great performance.
Then Sanjay (CMO from Marketo) did an interview. There were several tidbits from Will Smith that resonated with me.
- Focus on helping people (providing value) and you will make money.
- You can’t understand your audience unless you sit with them.
- Things move in waves, look for the next wave when the first is declining.
- Be where things are interesting and hot.
He is a super natural and nice guy. This was demonstrated in an impossible turn of events…here is the story:
Everstring is a company in Silicon Valley. They booked DJ Jazzy Jeff to be the entertainment for their pool party at Summit. A month later, Marketo announces that Will Smith is the keynote speaker. At Everstring, they wondered, “Do you think he will come to the party to be with Jeff??”
Well, miracles do happen. He not only showed up, he performed for about an hour. He took a jillion selfies with people and shook everyone’s hands. He focused all the attention on Jazzy Jeff. It was the nicest thing I have ever heard a celebrity do. (Not including charity).
That coincidence and party were “next level”. I couldn’t believe it. I thought the party was the highlight of the entire summit.
Engagio did spectacularly at the event. We are only a dozen people, but I think we presented ourselves much bigger than our size. We had water bottles that were one of the most popular giveaways. (Everyone was thirsty and loved the infused water.)
If we had 1000 more bottles, we still would have run out. The booth looked great, the demos were solid. We had great position in the hall, right where people entered the room. Everything went off without a hitch. “Account Based Everything” resonated as well as our other messaging.
Overall, it was a successful trip. However, I found it super weird to be there. It’s like going to a dinner party at your ex-spouses house. You feel like you just don’t belong there. It felt awkward the entire time for me.
I saw many of my old colleagues. Some were gracious and some didn’t even shake my hand. Some were awkward right back to me. To be fair, I am “not normal”, so I know it’s hard with me.
I wonder if this will be my last summit. Marketo has been such a big part of my life for the last decade. Who knows what the future will bring? I just hope it’s filled with more good than bad.
Oh, there was a mermaid and merman too.
The merman kept hearing the exact same joke, over and over and over.