I was asked recently by a good friend, “Why should I go to LISTEN this year?” My short answer was, “because it’s the one thing you should do this year”. As I thought about it that answer is not going to free up any budgets or to sway any executive to get on a plane. So why bother to LISTEN?
First let’s take a moment and talk about what LISTEN is. LISTEN is a user’s conference. A user’s conference is built with you, the user, in mind. CallMiner works really hard to provide valuable content to the user, you. This is different than a Product conference, where the goal is for product creators to sell you stuff or launch new product. Or a Networking Expo, where you pay to meet connections, and different from an Industry Conference, where sharks and remoras get together to do business. You know the conference types. Each has its place, I have been to so many, in too many industries, in too many cities.
Of all the conferences that I have attended, there have been some good ones and some interesting ones to say the least. Here is my best and worst list, total opinion here:
- Best: Consumer Electronics Show, Las Vegas. CES is like no other, it literally takes over Vegas. I have been several times; its scale and scope are incomparable.
- Worst: Merchandising Show, Chicago. I think it is defunct now or morphed into a new better convention. When I attended years ago, it was a show of “As seen on TV”, Tchotchkes, and all that stuff you don’t want to see in your credit card statements. How many flashlights that are emergency hammers do you need to see?
- Best: The DMA (Direct Marketers Association), San Fran is my favorite location for this one. This is a massive who’s who of marketers, tons to learn at this show.
- Worst: AFCC (American Fair Credit Council), Las Vegas. There is nothing wrong with the show, at all, but I was the largest “Customer” to this industry. Every attendee that was not a customer like me, was after my team and I to do one thing, give them a better deal. Imagine twelve to fifteen meetings every day for 3 straight days where all you are asked for is referrals and discounts.
- Best: LISTEN. I have attended the last three LISTENs as a user. I really like this show. Three simple reasons, size, openness, and heavy exposure to other users and the CallMiner team. Never seen it done better.
- Worst: Not LISTEN.
So this year’s LISTEN proves to be one for the ages. Here is what I know as an insider, from an outsiders perspective…
LISTEN is just the right size, you can’t really meet everyone, but almost. Okay I can’t, Charles Felsberg and Allyson Keown@ can, anyways, you get exposure to everyone you should or need to meet. The sales team and the CSD’s do an excellent job setting up your experience. I love this aspect, bouncing ideas off similar users, and gaining insight into new approaches. In addition, you get unparalleled exposure to CallMiner people, it is the perfect place to get the ear of the right resources to get over a hurdle, hear the product road maps, influence the direction and strategy. Sublime.
Tracks are going to be killer. 101, 201, and new this year 301 (masters) tracks. Having been in each one of these over the years, and now seen them from the inside, so excited for this year. The focus will be on use cases and how they were solved.
- 101 – The classic, “new to Eureka track”, this has been refined and is superb for new to Eureka clients, how to hit the ROI hard out of the gate and developing strong operational approaches
- 201 – Advanced clients, deeper dives on API’s, RealTime, and second order ROI. A grouping of content where sophistication increases, and uses cases are more discrete and transformational.
- 301 (Masters) – New this year, for the very sophisticated user. This track picks up as interaction analytics is part of the company’s DNA, advance API, predictive modeling, how to use the most advanced portions of Eureka Analytics. This is super user to super user advice, where we are also engaging our Evangelists, Content Creators, and the Research teams. I’m so excited to see these sessions!
Finally, the attendees. Like any show you get out of this what you put into it. Some clients are reserved, some are open. I have found the more transparent a client is at LISTEN the more they get back. When I was at Encore, we moved forward so rapidly by exchanging ideas with other advanced users. The push to AI and heavy adoption in our company would not have been possible without advice from other users on topics like text tiling, semantic stemming, data visualization, API advances, just too many to count. Attendees get to hear firsthand how others are using the tool; compare and contrast approaches and best practices. It is one thing to hear CallMiner people talk about our tool; quite another to hear how it is being used by a peer with a similar use case. Build thoseLISTEN relationships first hand.
Let me sum up it’s the industry-leading event for everyone using speech and customer engagement analytics. LISTEN brings together top organizations, and users who share best practices with one another in their collective quest to optimize intelligence from Customer Interactions. So that is my opinion, I know you have budgets, and internal approvals. Just know that as an outsider, now on the inside, I am even more impressed with LISTEN 2018. Hope to see you there.