Yesterday I had the pleasure of speaking at the annual Communitech conference in the Kitchener-Waterloo area on the subject of public relations and social media. I thought it was an exceptionally orchestrated event, with some terrific keynotes and panel discussions throughout the day.
Chris Anderson, editor of Wired Magazine and author of The Long Tail, was there to kick things off. Chris started right in showing his famous Long Tail graph and discussing the Pareto 80:20 rule. He was great, of course, but as soon as there is math involved before 11 a.m. my head hurts. I left after 20 minutes cuz I had to set up for my breakout session anywas.
And speaking of my session, I had an enthusiastic, standing-room-only crowd who listened attentively as I discussed the onslaught of social media tools shaping our traditional PR world. For those who wanted my PowerPoint presentation, please email me to request a copy cuz I can’t remember who wanted it from all the business cards I collected yesterday.
I stayed for lunch (the chocolate tart at the end was delish!) and sat with a patent lawyer who works in the Waterloo region and an old acquaintance of mine, Eric from DECODE. The lunchtime keynote was Chris Sacca, a former bigwig at Google who headed up Special Initiatives for the company. He’s now a VC investing in very early stage companies in the consumer web, mobile, and wireless space. I had no idea who he was so I asked Mr. Patent Lawyer what Chris invests in. To which he replied: “Oh, he was an early stage investor in Twister.” Huh? The ‘60s contortionist game? I quickly surmised he meant Twitter and corrected the dear man. (at least I found someone in the joint who knew less than I did about Twitter!)
I listened intently as Mr. Sacca took the stage. I had no idea what to expect from this guy and well, he blew me away. I was so impressed with him: his humility, his intellect and his mild-mannered approach to public speaking. He had a kick-ass presentation (the word kick-ass was used so much yesterday, I wanted to shout out to the audience that we use that word liberally in our mission statement!).
Chris did an awesome impression of a southern Baptist Republican senator, and got a rousing applause when he told his story of confronting the Bush administration and winning key decisions for Google. But perhaps what I liked most about Chris’ address was the endearing way he spoke of his old bosses at Google, Larry and Sergey, and the culture they built at the Google Campus. His fondness for the company he used to work for came through loud and clear. It was so refreshing to see such ambassadorship of a brand from a former employee (yes, I know, he made a gazillion dollars out of Google, but still …). Without a doubt, the mythology of the Google brand certainly lives up to the tales of great free food from 18 cafes, pet insurance and open mic sessions for all 17,500 employees every Friday afternoon complete with pizza, beer and snacks. And that’s just scratching the surface.
Chris Sacca certainly has a great talent for storytelling. As for that Twitter thingie of his, I still don’t know ….