SiriusDecisions Summit: Learning from Inside the Echo Chamber
Last week I attended the SiriusDecisions Summit 2015 in Nashville, TN. I have been before, and it was impressive to see how big it has become since 2006, with over 1800% growth in attendees and 1000% growth in sponsors.
One thing I always liked about the SiriusDecisions Summit was the feeling of belonging when I arrived because you are surrounded by “people who get it”. You could call it the Red Bull of marketing and sales growth operations. It’s a huge energy boost, because people understand the challenges you face, the unfairness of “growth of the growth” and you can crack jokes about MQLs and people actually laugh, or at least pretend to laugh.
SiriusDecisions is all about the “mekatronics” (if this isn’t a real word it sure should be, via Steve Woods) of B2B marketing and sales, and it has some of the best ideas, methodologies, case studies and people working at making this better. Many have years of experience trying to operationalize the growth function in a business, so they appreciate all aspects of this challenge. And yes it is great to see old colleagues and good friends, but as a technology vendor, there is a unique opportunity to talk about your solution “in the echo chamber”.
The Echo Chamber Gives You a Unique Perspective on the Future
Wikipedia defines Echo Chamber as this:
In media, an echo chamber is a situation in which information, ideas, or beliefs are amplified or reinforced by transmission and repetition inside an “enclosed” system, where different or competing views are censored, disallowed or otherwise underrepresented.
And often in business, being inside the echo chamber is thought of as dangerous practice. But I believe with the right perspective it can actually be very helpful.
“If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses” – maybe Henry Ford, maybe not ☺
One of the hardest things about building disruptive software, is that typically your potential customers don’t know, what they don’t know. They may have a challenge you can recognize, but it is up to you, the innovator, to figure out the next big step.
If you are getting feedback on your idea in an echo chamber of like-minded people, you have discussions further along the maturity curve than if you only talk to the masses. You still need to work with multiple customer segments to achieve product market fit, but the echo chamber enables you to have deeper discussions without having to spend tons of time on “why”.
As I walked the tradeshow market place, I must have had 30+ discussions on our new venture. All were great, with strong interest, and many had probing questions that were well beyond the “why would you do that? doesn’t X already do that?”. I wrote down a lot of notes, and then back in the office we have prioritized what we should focus on.
One big learning from our discussions is that events are real relationship building opportunities, where people saw huge upside potential, because there is so much “relationship leakage” at events. When you meet 100+ people in two days, it is hard to keep track of things you learn, and ensure you follow-up on commitments you made.
I would recommend everyone find your own echo chamber to discuss the next big thing you are working on.
Come to think of it, at 2,300+ attendees, maybe the SiriusDecision Summit is less of an echo chamber, and more of a crucible, just about to explode.