The path to MarketingCamp Silicon Valley has been an interesting journey.
When I was in college, I thought my fraternity buddies and I could successfully run any business better than any of their managers. But then I was reminded of the words my older brother often said: “Old age and treachery will overcome youth and skill.” Armed with this knowledge, my college pals and I decided to wait until we could one day possess the knowledge that would prove our potential. And now, as current online recruiting strategies increasingly target youth, by such high fliers as Google and Facebook, I decided this was a good time to reflect and begin.
But my reflections were not about youth. Rather. I focused on the different approaches to learning then and learning now. For me, learning had always been a solitary experience: Crack the books, cram the knowledge, attend the classes, write the papers, take the tests. All of it mostly accomplished in silence — and alone.
While in grad school, I was introduced to the concept of the campaign class. It was during these sessions that I learned how much of marketing work was about team effort. Rather than being the rule, this class format was, unfortunately, the exception. And though I am certain that singular achievements will always be crucial, I sense that group accomplishments are contributing to business success much more prominently than ever before.
As the co-chair of SVForum’s Marketing Special Interest Group , I believe now is the time to tap into the significance of collective wisdom and use it as a guide to make more informed business decisions.
A few years ago, I was fortunate to meet Dave Nielsen, the leader behind Cloud Camp. During his career, Dave has presented more than 300 unconferences. It was through his work that I realized I needed to contribute to developing an unconference in my field of expertise.
The concept of the unconference is at the heart of Harrison Owen’s Open Space Technology. This unique, Zen-like, and thoroughly stimulating form of connecting and learning reminds me of the excitement I felt in graduate school. It’s a thrill I experience each month while attending MarketingCamp Silicon Valley’s SIG meetings. But such meetings are simply too short and too structured.
With Dave’s encouragement, as well as encouragement from other SVForum volunteers, I came to embrace the value of offering unconferences. And soon after, I got hooked. The idea of presenting an unconference, and in promoting it, took hold and I began talking about it to anyone who would listen.
My obvious audience was the SVForum’s Marketing SIG. Through this group of knowledgeable professionals, I began to generate support and subsequently attract the help of several very talented individuals. Not until I tweeted at the ProductCamp Silicon Valley unconference did the pieces start to fall into place. I engaged yet another group of very talented professionals. And with them, advanced my discussions and evolved my ideas. This is all very similar to how an unconference works.
And from all of these conversations a new leadership team came together: MarketingCamp Silicon Valley. With these individuals I have learned how to create an event designed to encourage — among the event’s participants — sharing, learning, and maturing lessons learned as well as innovative ideas.
Learn more about how MarketingCamp Silicon Valley can help you! Then register to join us at our inaugural unconference on November 3, 2012. This year’s event is taking place at Nokia’s campus in Sunnyvale, CA.
I’m looking forward to meeting you and learning more about your ideas. Until then, check out the infographic I prepared for the event. And pass the word to your friends and networks: The more participants that join us, the more engaging will be our conversation because of the diversity of voices involved.