Websummit 2014 - A recap or follow the no-asshole-rule

21.11.2014
Fanny Pittack

Websummit was huge. 20000 people attending one conference for almost four days. The summit was divided into marketing, builders, enterprise, music , investors and sports summit etc. Every market you can imagine, with connections to web and digital. For details about the conference look for yourself at http://websummit.net/ . I will focus on my take aways.

Some founders around the topic digital publishing had a similar message.

Keys are

  1. The movement is going away from Google to Facebook. Bury your hope that Google will send you traffic. Instead try to listen to your audience and measure data by using engagement metrics.

  2. Buckle Up! The homepage itself is dead. People are not loyal to a brand for a specific site, they are loyal to their interest. The advice here is to focus on content and find the balance between quality and volume. You may have heard of it already: „Content is king“

  3. Be brave and say no to your marketing managers. If you hear them say „Let’s optimize for the distribution channel!“ and you do so, you end up in a world of hurt.

  4. Last but not least advertisement: Assure that ads are adding value to your readers and therefore, again, listen to your users. Otherwise skip it.

The main stage was a hub for CXO’s of all the big names. It was quite interesting how important company culture was for all of them and seemed to be common goal number one. Dave Goldbury introduced the audience to the company culture of Survey Monkey. Let me shortly summarize his advice:

  1. Be aware! You have to work hard for your culture. No other option than hard work to create the right turn to change your working environment.

  2. Hire the right people! How to find the right people? Try to find people you trust, do real reference checks and gather real information. Talk to people who have worked together.

  3. Build the right team! It needs the right mixture of experience, talent, skills and, no-brainer, gender (of course!).

  4. Follow the No-Asshole-Rule! Short and easy to remember: „You don’t need people who are talented but jerks.“ Fire your dev lead if he is a diva.

  5. And of course ask your employees. Do regular surveys and work with the results. Make them visible.

Every stage had one key message in common: Listen to your user and get to know them. Ask always:

  1. What is relevant for your audience?

  2. What is the relation to your audience?

And stop predicting the future. It’s dangerous. Instead look at the people and observe their behavior. Focus on the now!

As Lorraine Twohill, Global CMO of Google, summarized it. „We try to get into the heads of users and engineers. We help to translate what engineers think and bring it to the world by thinking human. We tell a beautiful story with emotions and feelings. This way we make out of a system a thing, a movement.“

An Important point to mention is that the agile movement has thrived. The talks, keynotes and conversations were not only about do’s and dont’s. Many speakers pointed out that reaching your goals in small iterations i.e. test your idea, test your prototype, test your marketing strategy and implement your learnings fast, is the key.

To wrap up the web summit is an extraordinary event to attend. Everything that has to do with digital and the future of the web was there and it is still a tech conference.

For us, as kreuzwerker, here back in Berlin, it has opened the horizon and was like a foresight 5 years ahead. It confirms our strategy to bring fast and flexible software solutions and people with a hands-on agile mindset to our clients.

One site note: Let’s hope for better WiFi in 2015! Imagine all 20000 people could tweet like they wanted to.

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Fanny Pittack
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