So, I’m beginning this post on the runway. I will likely finish it back home tonight after my daughter goes to sleep. As I look out the window and see the Luxor, Paris, New York, New York and the rest of the Vegas skyline; I suddenly realize that I really didn’t leave the Aria for six days. So engaged with manning the registration desk, scanning badges, moderating a lunch-and-learn and directing wayward attendees back towards the conference action; I really had no reason to leave. Great food, great people-watching and great networking were all around me all of the time. And I even managed to lose $3 in the penny slots without ever breaking route from my room to the meeting floor. The unmentionable stories I alluded to yesterday weren’t really mine, I just overheard them. Generally, I spent the past six days getting to know our clients, my co-workers and myself in a very strange setting. And, surprisingly, I’m a little sad about leaving, though very happy about heading home. Anyway, this will be a brief but I hope somewhat informative post.
Day Three was a no-frills send-off. With no keynote speaker, no evening activities planned and an early shut-down for the exhibit hall; Thursday was dedicated to ADUC “meat-and-potatoes”: labs, lectures and certification exams. There were technical and targeted sessions until 3:00 in all programs. In the final timeslot, legal track attendees could either attempt the Summation Certified End-user (SCE) exam or attend a preview of AD’s highly-anticipated Summation version update (expected to roll-out very soon). I find it noteworthy that, even with the last day being cut short in many ways, the same number of courses were delivered as on the other days. While one goal of ADUC is obviously to promote our products and connect with our users, I am proud to be part of a group that is also committed to educating its customers in how best to make use of our solution.
I will leave you now with another set of observations and testimony as to why ADUC is not your average trade-show, conference or think tank. As our legal product marketing manager, I was tasked with what seemed to me the unenviable duty of arranging a “comments booth” where our videographer and I would seek and record video testimony of attendees. While I am somewhat of a ham and, from time-to-time, a “Chatty Cathy”; I can also be subject to stage fright, stranger danger, and general social anxiety. I did not relish the idea of video-capturing that awkwardness for our web audience. But, here’s the thing: I really love this company. I truly respect what our engineers and thought leaders are trying to accomplish. So, actually, it was not difficult at all by Day Three to sit down with an attendee and ask some basic questions about their AD experience in general and about their ADUC experience in particular. I was comfortable that the responses would be positive and enthusiatic about hearing them. (Though it was difficult to have been rejected by twice as many individuals as ultimately accepted. I underestimated the discomfort of the public at large in regards to video testimony!)
Anyway, I’m tired and digressing. Here are my top five take-aways from the interviews:
1) Clients experiencing their first ADUC were impressed and, frankly, shocked to have such ground-level access to our C-level execs and most senior developers, directors and engineers — AD has an unusually “flat” organizational structure and our clients really appreciate this
2) Clients were impressed by the level of training they were given, by the practical value of that training and by the sense that our instructors truly wanted to help them better use our tools
3) Clients (and partners) were glad to have the opportunity to network among themselves and to have impromptu meetings where they could discuss and evolve workflows, without feeling pressured to by a time-share and without feeling oversold on products they already use
4) Clients were impressed by the currency of material, the “leading edge” factor, the sense that, AD had evolved with them over the past year
5) Many were already signed up for the “Early Bird” registration for ADUC 2014 and they looked forward to finding out whatever we’d have for them then!
All-in-all, this was by many accounts, our best ADUC yet. We thank EVERYONE who attended for making it possible to meet all of you in one location for a few days out of our busy work-lives. While the ADUC team will no doubt lay low this weekend and recover our strength, you can trust that gears are already spinning in our collective mind as we set our sights on next year — even as we prepare to dive into our over-stuffed and under-attended in-boxes on Monday.
Thank you all again, we had a blast and we hope you did too!