It’s been incredible and I’ve met so many amazing people and learned so much. If it’s like this every year it’s more than worthwhile attending for any business looking to improve the way they do things; even if you aren’t in the market for Sage software at the time.
I had a busy morning getting myself packed and ready as well as sorting out my updates for the Sage blog. Blue Eyed Sun is in the process of acquiring new premises to continue our expansion, so there were a few bits and pieces to take care of by email before I went into the conference.
The first keynote was with three business people that I was not familiar with and was entitled with Steve Jobs’ mantra: Stay hungry. Stay foolish. The panel (including William A. McDonough, Bre Pettis, and Dolly Singh) discussed how innovation by design drives new and breakthrough products and businesses. They were all brilliant, I particularly enjoyed Bre’s observation that a system without a feedback loop is stupid. Note to self: have plenty of feedback loops in my businesses. He also suggested that we should follow the laws of nature by eliminating waste, using free solar energy and celebrating diversity.
The second half of the keynote session focussed on finding your fan base. Matthew Weiner (creator of Mad Men), Trevor Noah (new host of The Daily Show), and Tony Hawk (professional skateboarder) discussed the fan bases who support their careers. The general consensus was that you shouldn’t reverse engineer your product offering. Focus on creating something new that you want to see in the world and be consistent in your output. As Trevor Noah pointed out, you need to focus on being good with your product and experience and not doing anything that makes people hate you. You can have bursts of excellence, but it’s not essential all the time. If a restaurant is good customers will come back. If they hate it they will never return.
After the talk I grabbed a quick photo with the speakers and then ran into social media whizz and boardroom business expert, Thomas Power, on my way out of the door. A chat turned into a conversation, which turned into a coaching session with Thomas taking me through an exercise called the core process. It’s just what I needed at this point in my life and I’m excited about having discovered a new way of thinking about my life, business and what I am doing going forward.
By the time we finished I had to head off to the airport to catch my flight to Atlanta and from there back to London. It’s been an incredible trip. I am very grateful to Sage for inviting me and for their wonderful hospitality throughout my stay in New Orleans.