Paul Gilliham is Lithium's Director of Community & Digital Strategy, responsible for Lithium's online properties including our own community, the Lithosphere and Lithium.com. He has close to 17 years experience managing .com, community and blogging environments across multinational technology companies. An avid tea drinking Brit, he has way too many guitars...
He is a regular blogger for Lithium and in the Lithosphere you'll see him as PaulGi. You can follow him on Twitter at @lithiumtech or @bladefrog
If you have ever attended LiNC, you'd know it's a pretty special event.
With five annual customer conferences behind us, I was reminiscing about the first event at the Woodfin in Emeryville in 2008.
From my recollection it was about 35 customers in a hotel meeting room for the day talking with the Lithium team.
Counter that with the event we have just wrapped, 500+ customers, partners and influencers, taking up two full floors of the InterCon in San Francisco, keynotes from customers, industry leaders and our own teams. Things have come a long way.
Wednesday at LiNC
For those of you who missed it (or would like a recap), we kicked things off on Wednesday.
Joe Cothrel, Sherry Quinn, Brian Oblinger and Aubrey Lund held the first every Lithium Community Manager Certification workshop for 41 super keen community managers and community professionals from round the world. It was an intense day, but based on the feedback we are planning on more of these workshops in the future. For more info Joe's blog recap of the class is here
Also on Wednesday we held the Social Strategist Workshop with Jeremiah Owyang from Altimeter. This is the second year we ran this workshop with Jeremiah's help and input, and yet again the class was sold out and had a waiting list. I guess you guys like it! It's certainly becoming a fixture of the event.
Wednesday evening is our Opening Reception, fun, food, friends and the perfect low key way to start the event off officially.
Thursday at LiNC
This is the big day. General session, keynotes, breakout sessions, guest speakers and the LiNC party of course. Plus Decadance, our Glee club performers from Berkeley!
This year was no exception. Keynotes in the morning from Rob Tarkoff and Lyle Fong who were joined by a host of great customer guest speakers, from Fox, Cisco, Skype, Ipsos and VMWare. Brian Solis from Altimeter took the stage just before lunch for a fantastic keynote on the End of Business as Usual.
Copious amounts of food is always on the menu at LiNC, and after another huge lunch, it was straight back into afternoon breakout sessions with customers talking about their implementations, their successes and how they are infusing community into all aspects of their business.
Speakers from HP, giffgaff, Sephora, AT&T, Aruba Networks, Autodesk, Golin Harris and Cisco were joined by analysts from IDC and Gartner, as well as Ant's Eye View and some of the Lithium team to give real examples of usecases in their organizations.
In the true spirit of keeping things exciting for people, our guest speaker for the afternoon was Jane McGonigal. We have known Jane for a little while and we're definitely fans of her approach to gamification of real world activities. She gave a great keynote and held a lively Q&A too. Though some people may not know that there was quite a lot of excitement behind the scenes too. That morning Jane was in Portland giving a presentation and was flying in to SFO to join us in the afternoon. Cutting it close right?
Well yes, particularly when all of a sudden you have weather delays in San Francisco. In true rockstar style, Jane makes it just in time, delivers her preso with aplomb and no one was the wiser. I think our event manager's heart rate didn't drop below 150bpm for the entire day!
Yep. We had a party. Thanks to everyone for making our evening at Bimbos365 a great event. Tainted Love, a staple San Francisco 80s cover band rocked the night away for us.
If you're a fan, they are actually playing at Bimbos again this Friday evening - May 18th.
Afterparties did happen... they always do.
Friday at LiNC
The last day at LiNC fired up with general session keynotes from Melissa Parrish, of Forrester and Adam Bain, the President of Twitter.
Great presentations from them both and we rolled right into the Agency Panel moderated by Mark Fidelman of Forbes.com. Thanks to our panelists from Acquity Group, Ogilvy Digital, and Sapient Nitro.
Super Katy finished the general sessions with the LiNC awards ceremony, featuring the Lithy winners, as well as our VIP council and the top kudo'd user of the year presentations.
Our traditional unconference sessions were skillfully moderated by Peter Kim of Dachis and Chris Carfi of Ant's Eye View (thanks gentlemen!) and the Lithium product team rounded things off with great roadmap sessions on our support and marketing solutions and core platform.
Thank you to everyone who contributed on the event - content, production, logistics, for the great attitude and the healthy debate. It takes a a lot to run events like this and when they turn out like this, there is a massive sense of accomplishment. But it also takes a great attitude and level of participation from you, our customers and friends. LiNC is as much for you to connect with peers and colleagues as it is for us. Thank you.
If you missed our LiNC roundup video, check it out. It's a fun round up of Thursday at LiNC. The only question becomes - what do we do next year!?