Dscoop 11, held at the brand-new San Antonio Convention Center, was the best Dscoop ever, according to emails, chats, Facebook posts, personal conversations and more, both during and after the conference. Many conferences begin to lose their shine after a decade, but that clearly hasn’t happened with Dscoop. The challenge now will be topping this performance next year in Phoenix, March 2-4!
This conference saw double the number of companies attending as compared to last year, and some 400 more people there. The conference outgrew the Gaylord properties, where it had been held for the last several years, and made great use of the expanded space available in the convention center. Sessions were divided into five well-defined tracks that made it easier for attendees to get the information and inspiration they needed:
- Leadership and Strategy, specifically designed for the C-suite executive and manager and focused on critical business issues technology and leadership strategies relevant to today’s leaders;
- Marketing and Sales, where sales and marketing professionals could rub shoulders with the best and brightest and gain new ideas for improving sales and marketing results;
- Operations, dedicated to improving operations and technical knowledge with fresh, cutting-edge material designed to help improve profits and efficiencies;
- Technology and Innovation, where attendees from a broad range of disciplines were able to explore the opportunities and challenges of various innovations at a global scale that can drive their business future; and
- Collaboration, a platform for industry thought leaders to share best practices successes and challenges, giving attendees the ability to hear first-hand how others in the trenches are building creative and unique businesses.
Always a highlight was the Solutions Showcase which again was sold out. Dscoop does a great job of engaging partners and encouraging attendees to spend time talking with partners in the Showcase and throughout the event, and that keeps partners coming back every year. Many choose Dscoop as a venue to launch new products and services, as well as to feature their integration with the HP portfolio.
HP also used this platform to highlight its amazing array of new products that will be featured at drupa, many of which were on display in the Solutions Showcase. Both Patrick Henry and David Zwang have written extensively about these. You can find Patrick’s insight here and here; and David’s here and here.
I expected the keynote by Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak to be the highlight of the conference for me (as a Silicon Valley groupie!), and it was … but he had some great competition! Wozniak was interviewed by author, TV commentator and master networker Laura Schwartz, and she did a fabulous job. She also presented an inspiring keynote herself that held the audience spellbound.
Other keynotes included Shark Tank’s Kevin O’Leary, ESPN football analyst Herm Edwards, producer and strategist Andrew Davis of The Today Show and Muppets fame, musician Rich Redmond and Innovation Catalyst Toni Newman. It was also great to hear from Alon Bar-Shany, VP and General Manager for the HP Indigo business. He was kind enough to join us in our video studio after his talk to share his thoughts about the evolution of HP Indigo and 11 years of Dscoop.
At Dscoop 11, there was also a huge focus on giving back, and the San Antonio community was the beneficiary. Charity events that were fun and engaging also generated gifts and donations to various recipients in the community. These included:
- A Build-a-Bike event creating 100 bicycles to be donated to local youth;
- A Texas Hold ‘Em charity event benefiting Habitat for Humanity of San Antonio;
- Personalized books, magazines and school supplies for more than 1,000 local students; and
- A surprise Flash Mob appearance orchestrated by students from St. Anthony Catholic school in San Antonio, joined by a number of Dscoop members. Dscoop provided a donation to the school as thanks for their participation. Yours truly participated, but I have to say, I certainly wasn’t the star! The kids were fabulous!
What has always impressed me the most about Dscoop is the level of involvement of its members on a volunteer basis. Board members, committee members and others, who are already very busy people running successful businesses, somehow find the time and energy to selflessly volunteer their time and energy to organizing the conference as well as to ensure that there are many other valuable activities going on 365 days a year. These volunteers, too many to name, are to be congratulated on the results their efforts deliver, year after year. It’s part of why Dscoop has stayed so fresh and vibrant for more than a decade.
A True Community
Dscoop has grown into a true global community with conferences, activities and member support around the globe. Global Executive Director John Rogers shared some of his thoughts about Dscoop 11 and the Dscoop community with us on video.
Another example of this community in action was shared by Conference Chair Mike Duggal. His business was devastated by Hurricane Sandy, and the Dscoop community rallied to keep him going during recovery efforts. This is the type of story you often hear from Dscoop members when they speak about why they are so dedicated to the community.
Dscoop members share experiences, advice and successes/failures with their fellow members, during the conference and on an ongoing basis, in an open manner that, quite frankly, is not the standard in our industry. They understand that by sharing in this way, they benefit the Dscoop community as well as the entire industry and spur others to do the same. In the end, this collaborative approach benefits everyone, and it is encouraging to see this in action year after year among the Dscoop community.
Setting the Bar High
Every year, Dscoop gets better, and every year, the members rise to the challenge of making the next conference even better. This time, the bar is set really high, but I’m going to stick my neck out and say that they are once again up to the challenge. We’ll see next year in Phoenix!