Thursday, March 3, 2016

A Long Day With Great Takeaways

Not a slide you usually see at a corporate event!
As I alluded to a couple of days ago, I spent the first part of this week away from my family on a business trip. I don’t travel much during the year but the spring usually brings about at least a couple of flights to various parts of the country with the most recent airport jaunt bringing me to Austin, Texas. And while there were many meetings during my day and a half in this interesting town, there are a couple of presentations that really made me think about some of the topic that I routinely encounter every day… money and public relations.

The first presentation that I attended was the keynote for the event by Peter, Lord of the Skies, Shankman. Over the years I have heard various opinions about this person from a plethora of people throughout our common industry. Some of those thoughts have been less than favorable while other endorsements have been, to put it mildly, glowing. Personally, I have had only the occasional correspondence with him over the years going back to the early days of HARO, so I never was really able to form any sort of strong opinion.

However, having now been present for one of his presentations I must, at the very least, give him a tremendous amount of credit for his ability to deliver a concise and easily digestible message. When it comes to PR, marketing, branding, and customer service there are great presentations and there are lectures that have you looking for the door, or the bar, about ten minutes into the talk. He was definitely in the former category. In fact, I can relate to much of what he said including the simple mantra to brand everything… I guess you could say that this blog goes a long way in achieving that goal. The other simple lesson gleaned from his ADOS style was that there is always a means to accomplish your goals as long as you are willing to put forth the effort and make time work for you.

The second session during the event that has left me with lingering thoughts was toward the end of the day when David Wolman, Contributing Editor of Wired, who spoke about “The End of Money”. His book by the same title is one that I will certainly have to pick up some time soon but the presentation was definitely enough to get me thinking. While the main impetus for this exploration was the simple fact that is costs the US government more to produce certain denominations of currency than the actual face value of that same coin, the historic as well as present perceptions of currency where a fascinating juxtaposition to the commonly accepted norms of money.

This immediately had me thinking about the value that information and access to information has in today’s society… a return to a norm not seen in nearly a hundred years. Also, given the publication for which he writes, another topic that kept forcing its way to the forefront of my mind is the simple irony that a publication named “Wired” focuses more on wireless and mobile rather than actually wired technology. I know, random thought.

Both Shankman and Wolman proved to be very engaging both from the stage and when I spoke with them one on one after the spotlights had dimmed. However, more importantly, they were engaging to a wide array of people in the audience and also provided me with many thoughts to process, posts to write, and projects to start. It was a long day on a short trip but one that was definitely successful and productive both personally and professionally. Don’t know if I could have asked to accomplish much more… well, a few more hours of sleep would have been nice and having my family with me would have been great.

I really had an early flight home.