Have you heard of the Collision Conference? If you haven’t and you live in Toronto, and love tech, then you must be hiding under a rock because it’s kinda a big deal.
For those of you who haven’t heard of Collision, it was coined the fastest growing tech conference in North America by Forbes, and is the sister event to Web Summit, co-founded by Paddy Cosgrave. In its fifth year, and the first year in Toronto, it was housed in the large Enercare Centre, and definitely took the city by storm. Opening Night, on Monday, May 20th, started off with a sold-out audience in conversation with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, and also included well-known names such as Seth Rogan, actor and founder of Houseplant, and Michelle Zatlyn, COO and co-founder of Cloudflare.
Lucky enough to attend, I wanted to make the most of my two days at the conference. The event included diverse topic tracks, such as the content and marketing stage weirdly named Panda Conf, or their SaaS focused stage aptly named SaaS Monster, as well as their Venture stage, Pitch stage, Q&A side stage and of course Centre Stage. In addition to their tracks, Collision also hosted tech startups and companies, large and small, including our partner Microsoft, on their trade show floor. My two favs being Magic Leap, who set up a booth in conjunction with H&M, where attendees had the opportunity to design their own t-shirt using an AR headset, and second being Hoame, that used noise cancelling headphones to allow attendees a chance to unwind through meditation from all the activities of the show.
Two obvious themes presented themselves throughout the conference.
The first was emphasized through almost every session that I attended; the collection and usage of data to allow for enhanced business decision making while keeping data privacy and ethicacy a priority.
Rubikloud is at the forefront of AI, data science and analytics, so we know a thing or two about data privacy and integrity, and the power that clean and concise data provides. Our enterprise retail clients trust us to automate their business decision processes, with the help of the abundance of data that they have at their disposal.
Armed with this knowledge, it was really interesting to listen to sessions such as the Sport Brands = Media Companies, with Steve Lacroix from the Minnesota Vikings, and Bill Manning and Humza Teherany from MLSE discuss the importance of data that they collect on the behaviours and play tactics of their players to help them gain a competitive edge and win, but also the data collected from their fans, to give their audience exactly what it is they crave, individual to their needs and how they consume information. The Marketing Multi-Platform Media Brands track, also discussed the importance of data for the purpose of deciding on what social media platform to market on. Meg Goldthwaite from NPR, Samantha Barry from Glamour and Kelly Day from Viacom, discussed the importance of using their audience’s interactions with each platform and medium, to understand where their fans are, how they are behaving and what each of their individual needs look like.
Our products predict and optimize decisions based using AI and machine learning on just that; what are retail consumers’ shopping habits, what are they buying and when, which shopping method are they using (email marketing, in-store promotions, etc.) and how do they like to be marketed to. We also work with our enterprise retail clients to automate their internal processes like promotion planning and demand forecasting through the data that they collect, based on the aforementioned consumer habits.
The second resounding theme was the idea of diversity and inclusion and keeping a positive company culture. Collision offered discounted tickets for women in tech and did an excellent job of bringing in speakers/panellists from across all disciplines, backgrounds, ages, and genders. Linda Boff, CMO of GE put it best “inclusion is inviting people from different views into the tent” gaining unique insights and perspectives to further innovation and collaboration. Joel Flory, CEO of VSCO discussed culture by explaining that he is very involved in all aspects of his business including culture and hiring and stated that VSCO “hires culture adds not culture fits”. Here at Rubikloud, we couldn’t agree more. We strive for a diverse environment, always hiring for and seeking out individuals that will add to our culture, and innovate our brand.
All in all, I was pretty impressed with Collision. I look forward to next year when Collision returns to Toronto, with what is rumoured to be an even bigger show than this year.
Maybe I’ll see you there?