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The second and final day of iStrategy Amsterdam took flight yesterday, and it sure didn’t disappoint.
Saatchi & Saatchi kicked-off the day with its creative director, Tom Eslinger, hosting a panel of esteemed social media gurus including:
The topic of discussion included social monetisation, something Fresh Egg has been very proud of delivering to its social media clients over the last few years, so we were intrigued with this session.
It started with a Katy Perry video that showed how flashmob can work for an artist, produced by Saatchi & Saatchi. We could think of worse ways to start the morning.
Moving on to the serious stuff, as with other presentations and discussions, this one produced plenty to talk about. There were also little snippets of advice from the panel, mainly from Amber, and every time she spoke I found myself nodding my head.
One sound bite hit home with many people in the room, "If you don't have someone passionate about your product in your company...go find someone who is.” And Mr Eslinger gave us his own thoughts too, "Once you engage someone, you can't just leave them dangling," and yet this happens so often.
I was also pleased the panel generally agreed that the micro site should die, god rest its soul. Warner Music’s Ritch Sibthorpe also gave us something to think about, again something Fresh Egg has been saying for a long time, "The first 5,000 fans are the hardest to get, but also the most valuable."
Sibthorpe also gave us a fantastic example of social media usage. A man in the crowd at a Genesis concert 30 years ago caught a tambourine thrown by the band in to the crowd. This year, he contacted the band via its Facebook fan page to tell his story. The band arranged to collect the tambourine, sign it and send it back. That just wouldn’t have been possible, even five years ago.
Our final sound bite came from Tom Eslinger once again when he said, "Brands think social media is cheap and fast, but actually you need to do the research to get the most out of it first, and that takes time and money."
The next session was also a panel debate on engaging an audience with mobile apps. The four-strong panel included Noah Everett from Twitpic, Alex Musil from Shazam, Mark Boerrigter from Green Orange, and Konstantinos Papamilitiadis from Taptu. They had a tough act to follow, with some people getting more out of it than others.
In terms of statistics, the one that stuck out the most was regarding apps in the app store, where 80% of them are considered flops (i.e. less than 1,000 downloads). It was also interesting to note that Twitpic gets a 75% profit margin on display ads; that’s some going, Noah!
After lunch we split our camp and I headed for the, “How brands can work with start-ups” session with Chris Maples from Spotify, Thom Cummings from SoundCloud, and Anders Sjoman from Voddler.
All of these companies have one thing in common; they are all based around entertainment delivery either through music, sound or movies. They are all at different stages of start-up too, so very interesting to find out what challenges they faced and how they overcame them.
A personal chat with Chris Maples afterwards actually revealed the scale of the job ahead of Spotify as they attempt to launch in up to 25 more markets in the coming months. Six months ago they had 300 staff, today they have 450, and in a year from now they think they’ll need more than 1,000. Fresh Egg moved from 33 to 77 in a year and found that challenging, so we can only wonder how this will work for Spotify.
In fact, while the other speakers were engaging, Chris provided lots of insight for social media purposes throughout the debate, including the staggering admission regarding Justin Bieber. "Justin Bieber is a force of nature," Chris explained, having seen him tweet about Spotify and then witness more sign-ups in the five hours following the tweet than had signed-up in the previous seven days!
There was also room for a little irony as Chris explained that he really needed an iPad, which ironically, Spotify doesn’t currently support…
We also had a chuckle with the host, Adam Burns, who had a bit of a Freudian slip by calling the questions from Twitter, “Qwitters,”which rapidly became the buzzword for the day!
The Ninety10 presentation/workshop was up next. Sadly I didn’t manage to stay until the end…
Moving on, a ten minute pitch was our next presentation by a very engaging young man by the name of Simon Dixon.
Simon has a dream. He believes we deserve a better bank, and to be honest, he’s probably right. He believes that given the chance to build a bank from the ground-up, in the modern-day society of social media, we would do it differently.
I have to say, I agree entirely with him too, and his “pitch” was excellent considering he had just ten minutes to convince people. We left with the idea that the “social” bank could really work.
In essence, it would match people together who had opposing requirements. For example, a person who wanted to make 10% interest on their money would join the bank and be matched to people who wanted to borrow money at 10%, thus joining two people with simple requirements together. This means no money is lost, no overcharging occurs (10% loan is pretty good these days) and there would be no way you could get 10% on an investment from a bank right now.
He also had ideas that meant you would never need a government buy-out or hand-out and the “social” bank would never actually touch your money.
I personally hope this kicks-off and you can find out more about the project on the Bank to the Future site (though they really do need a new logo!).
The penultimate presentation was possibly the best of the entire two days, at least for me, as Yann Gourvennec, director of web and digital for Orange, presented a keynote covering social commerce.
In it, Yann revealed the Orange brand dashboard, which was excellent, and he was very open about which tools they use to measure the most important parts of their social media strategy. That alone was worth the flight from London.
In addition, he also revealed (perhaps inadvertently) that Google will be launching business pages on Google+ in the next few days, which – as you can imagine – got the Twitter conversations flowing nicely.
The final keynote was delivered by Wikipedia founder, and one of the most influential men on the internet, Jimmy Wales. As well as being a fabulous public speaker and very engaging, he also used plenty of humour in his delivery, making this possibly the most enjoyable speaker of the entire two days.
As he started his speech he also announced exclusively at iStrategy that Wikipedia had (just 20 minutes before he came on stage) surpassed 20 million articles for the first time, and went on to explain the site now has more than 420 million unique views every month.
The final sound bite from Jimmy that I enjoyed, just before I had to dash to the airport for my plane was this, “The current generation can be considered the WTF generation; they’ve grown up with Wikipedia, Twitter and Facebook.”
I thoroughly enjoyed the two days, with workshops, presentations, fantastic speakers and some brilliant insight throughout. Not to mention meeting some exceptionally talented and passionate people. I look forward to building those relationships further, long after the memories of an excellent conference fade.
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Twitter @PaulChaloner @FreshEgg