If you thought that after day one of Spark.me 2019 things just couldn’t get any better and that speakers couldn’t possibly introduce any new topics and ideas… you couldn’t be more wrong! 🙂
Even though we partied in style the night before at the Spark.me cocktail party, we greeted the second day of the conference with much enthusiasm and notebooks at the ready. Here are the key messages that found their way into our notebook!
Are You Ready for the Future?
Jeremiah Owyang, Silicon Valley-based corporate innovation, autonomous technology and modern wellbeing wiz, was the opening keynote speaker of the day and he made sure to energise up right from the start by making us chant this year’s slogan “Blaze the trail”. His talk was one of the most awaited as we were eager to see the business outlook through the eyes of the industry insider, and he more than delivered.
The creator of the six digital eras roadmap aimed to help us navigate the current and upcoming phases of technological development by pointing out how each one affects our jobs and life in general.
Claiming that tech has become rooted in all aspects of our lives, Jeremiah encouraged us to compare our phone to an infant, as they seek (and sadly, get) the same amount of our attention. Aside from technology becoming, even more, integral to our lives, including literally becoming a part of our biology, we can also expect every repetitive human task to be automated. Jeremiah’s message to those afraid of losing their job to automation (and, as he has shown, that can be any of us) is to use his map and think about the ways we can provide value in this era of digital uncertainty.
Connect and Build Trust
The award for the best-dressed keynote speaker goes to… (drum roll) Brian Fanzo! Bringing some pink freshness to Spark.me, he got our attention just by stepping on the stage. Other than being really cool (obviously :)), Brian is working with some of the most iconic global brands in creating and launching digital and influencer strategies with his unique #ThinkLikeAFan philosophy, which he shared with us.
Brian shared that customers need more empathy – digital empathy, to be exact. The gap between online and offline should be shrinking, and marketers are the ones who can help businesses obtain their human touch. This means making sure you walk the talk both online and offline, talking with the audience instead of at them, and provide great content. Here he made a distinction between great and perfect – perfect is not the key, being relatable, even if imperfect, is.
Something to ReThink About
Then, Tom Goodwin stepped on the stage and made us rethink most of what we heard these last two days. The author of “Digital Darwinism”, number #1 Voice in Marketing and Social Media on LinkedIn and self-proclaimed provocateur, talked about all the nonsense and misconceptions we believe in.
According to Tom, one of the key misconceptions we have is that technological development is taking us forward, which he claims is not true. It’s also not faster than ever, only messier. In a situation like this, we can decide to either lead the change, or continue doing the same old things. It is our duty to rethink the choices we make because one can raise us up to the stars and another might take us a long way backwards.
Referring back to technology, Tom reminded us that we should not be waiting for the revolutionary change to happen, but use existing technology to rethink the customer experience we provide. We already have the technology we need to make a change, we now need imagination.
Living in the World of Wanderlust
Do you find yourself endlessly scrolling through Instagram, Facebook or Pinterest posts and admiring vivid displays of places you want to visit? Us too! Thanks to travel bloggers, it has never been easier to find those hidden sights and must-have experiences in all corners of the world. We had the privilege of having one with us at Spark.me 2019 – the founder and editor of the world-famous travel blog World of Wanderlust, Brooke Saward.
This charming and humble solo traveler, who visited more than 80 countries in seven years, claims that even bad experiences can turn into exciting adventures. Every new experience changes something in us, as Brooke witnessed herself. After all, her travels and experiences led her to start three successful local businesses back home in Australia.
She also shared how the industry changed since she started blogging, with the level of expectations gradually rising. Not many people, especially brands, think about what it takes to take that perfect sunset photo at the top of the mountain in Pakistan. Instead, people see numbers, when she invited everyone to think about the effort and context as well.
Brick by Brick: Starting from Scratch
Think about your favourite childhood toy. It’s made of LEGOs, right? 🙂
Well, this is a story about a man who got the toy manufacturing giant on its social network feet.
Lars Silberbauer led LEGO’s global success on digital media, even though when he started working for the company when it didn’t even have a website. Starting from zero to the number one brand on Social Media and YouTube in the toy industry, the key idea behind this success was to keep the product still relevant. His advice on how to deal with disruption is to be the best at adapting to, predicting and creating change in the digital landscape. And who are the world champions of adapting to change? The kids. Last reminded us that you don’t need to know the landscape (platform) well, but you do need to know the audience and how they use it.
That’s how, without a marketing budget, Lars succeeded in birthing a digital leader in the industry. Thanks to this, he has been named one of the 25 most innovative and influential marketers in Europe.
The Technology Won’t Save Us, That Is Our Job
Andrew Keen, the controversial commentator on the digital revolution, gave the final speech on this year’s Spark.me stage. In his words, the digital world failed to create the promised cultural renaissance. On the contrary, it resulted in people losing their jobs, abandoning the idea of democratization and undermining their freedom. His solution to this problem is a society built on these 5 pillars:
- Regulation – regulated actions of tech giants;
- More innovation – learning from the mistakes of the first wave of digitalization;
- Consumers stepping forward – waking up to the harm this is doing them;
- Citizen engagement – people committing to cleaning up tech;
- Education – rethink the role of schools as children shouldn’t become algorithms;
If we want to fix the future, people should work together, and this is where Andrew suggests start.
With this, another run of incredible stories has come to an end. If people you had the opportunity to see and hear at Spark.me 2019, have, in the smallest of ways, changed the way you perceive the world around us, then this conference was a complete success! We wanted to challenge your thinking and wake us a trailblazer in you, so you can go and create change in your communities.
Want more? Here is the recap of Spark.me 2019 day one!
With a desire to continue fueling up your imagination and creativity, we promise to come back even better and stronger next year! How do we do it? Well, a magician never reveals his tricks. 😉
Spark.me conference has been organized annually since 2013, by Domain.ME, a private company in charge of operating Montenegro’s national Internet domain – .ME. Since then, it grew from a meeting point for a couple of dozens of tech enthusiasts and geeks to a must-visit tech and marketing event for the Balkan region and beyond.