Of course, I have a vested interest. I am the first hired employee and the head of UX for Marketo, but I feel I can be objective. Well, just take it with a grain of salt anyway.
It was awesome.
Last year, we had about a hundred and fifty people. I thought that was alot at the time. It blew my mind that all these people knew what “munchkin” meant and were using words that I had coined in the spur of the moment. The event last year was “home-brew” in that it clearly was a conference for a small well-knit community.
This year, I walked in and was a bit overwhelmed. It looked like a professional conference. There were professional signs with agendas and people pointing you in the right direction. It wasn’t home-brew any more. There were more people. Alot more…almost 700 people! All of them using Marketo. Hundreds of companies! I couldn’t possibly meet them all. This was big-time. I can hardly comprehend how this happened.
One co-worker said, “Is this us?” with a stunned look on his face? How could our little company achieve so much? How could we be so impressive? Are we as cool as this makes us seem? I need time to wrap my head around it all.
The first day was the training sessions. I figured alot of people would skip this portion to focus more on the traditional “presentation” portion of the summit on the next day. I was totally wrong. The training sessions were bigger draws. People were so animated by the product, they wanted to learn more and dig deeper into it with the experts. I gave one training session, which worked out well I think. The only down side was that internet access at the hotel was really spotty. Too many people trying to use the internet at once, I suppose.
The keynote by the CEO was very inspiring for me. I see the future he paints and truly believe it is logical and inevitable. I am so proud to be part of the team that is bringing that vision to reality. Another session I loved was Bill Binch and Jon Miller showing how Marketo uses Marketo in both marketing and sales. They were two peas in a pod; a seamless continuity between marketing and sales. Where else does that happen? The amount of detailed “golden” information they disclosed was astounding. I think everyone in the room was mesmerized.
The last talk by Avinash Kaushik was wonderful (as usual!). He is funny and powerful, smart and evocative. Everything you want in a speaker. He challenges your thinking and brings you along to a new better place. I think this was my favorite speech of his ever.
Everyone I spoke to was in love with Marketo. Sometimes, I fear the worst and am paranoid about every flaw, every blemish in the application. However, this was good to make me see that we are doing something very, very right.
Clearly, the next user summit is going to be more than twice as big. I am going to re-live the same crazy sensation year over year.
Some things I would love to see for next year:
- Genius Bar type of thing with the real support team. People love our support staff and I wish they could have been there more of the time.
- Panels. I would love interactive sessions with people on bar stools. Generally, I am a fan of this format. One conference I attended had the questions ranked with votes online.
- Avinash should see Marketo. Once he understands what it does, I think he will be inspired related to B2B Marketing, analytics and nurturing.
- More chairs. I can’t stand up that much time in a row. My back is not good. Having areas to gather, SIT and talk would be golden.
Overall, it was a damned fine piece of work. I am excited to be a part of Marketo for 2011.