You know you are not in Kansas anymore when the morning keynote begins with Malcolm Gladwell and the state of oncology circa 1955, and the evening keynote by President Bill Clinton makes you ponder what astrophysics will teach circa 2055 with new planetary discoveries and neutrinos speedier than light. And sandwiched in between are the CEO of American Electric Power who explains the challenge of balancing newer fossil fuel sources with wind, solar and other alternative fuels, and the CEO of Tibco presents a cameo of his latest book ‘The two second advantage” and many other varied points of view.
You know this is not your typical rubber chicken circuit when the customers you sit down at lunch or share a cocktail with have titles in product engineering, R&D and IT and represent banks, medical devices, aerospace and wide range of other industries.
You know you are not going to be saturated with typical vendor marketing when there are sessions on bartending, magic, disc jockeying and an elaborate Bollywood-style Indian wedding.
I spent 24 hours at HCL’s Unstructure event and came away not too much smarter about their various services (though thanks to Sadagopan, Sandeep Kishore and Rajarshee Dutta, my hosts I met most of its senior leadership) but feeling challenged and refreshed. And most customers I talked to felt the same and appreciated the low-key selling at the event.
Krishnan Chatterjee, Global Head of Marketing for HCL told me satisfaction scores of customers who had been to at least one of these meets was statistically better than those that had not, and those that were regulars to the event were even happier.
Less selling is more – something I have also noticed at Cognizant events. May be something for software vendors to consider at their events and reduce the demos and executive pitches they fill their agendas with.