Jun

13

2017

3 Inspire Conferences, 3 Different Employers — Don’t Judge

By: Jimmy Go

One of my recent social media posts got a bit more attention than I expected: “2015 as a customer, 2016 as an employee and now #alteryx17 as a partner!” Well, I’m probably over-exaggerating, but I’ll take my 26 likes on LinkedIn, dang it! 

I enjoy keeping up with social media, but I’m that friendwho you’ll rarely, if ever, see updates from — other than the occasional “like” or “Happy Birthday.” Heck, this is my first time writing a blog! Anyway, I digress…

Yes, I’ve attended the last three Alteryx Inspire user conferences, representing a different organization on each visit. (Perhaps not the best for my CV to publicize, but there you go.) As such, I’ve had the unique opportunity (maybe the only person?) to experience this event from three different lenses. I’d like to think I’m an extroverted introvert – I can certainly sway one way over the other depending on which drink number I’m on – and these events have always challenged me to step away from my comfort zone. Nothing says “waste of money” more than spotting their employee in the corner shying behind their laptop screen, right?

Near the end of the conference, I had a couple of people — I assume they’re two of the 26 people who liked my social media post — ask me questions referring to which “lens” I enjoyed most and what was different. (I’m sure the other 24 were wondering the same thing.) The exhaustion was undoubtedly exposing my introverted nature a bit more at the time, based on the quick answers I shot back. Now, after some much needed rest, the question still lingered in my mind and felt a bit compelled to elaborate further with more thought. Let’s get to it.

Three Reasons for Attending Conferences

As you would expect, there are some differences. However, let’s first lay out why we attend the conferences in the first place.

  1. Network, network, network! It doesn’t matter what your role is, a key element to why your employer was willing to foot the bill to ship you to these gatherings is because of the vast opportunity to network with other people and gain new insight.
  2. Learn! Yes, you’re already pretty good with Alteryx, but unless you’re Ned, there’ll be something about the product that you didn’t know existed – yes, even as an employee – or new enhancements coming soon to a download site near you.
  3. Have fun! Let’s be honest, this may be the No. 1 reason for you, but you’ll never admit it. Who could blame you? Free food, drinks, swag and an excuse to not do your normal work activities for a few days? Yes, please!

For real now, let’s get to the questions… what was different? Well, it might be obvious. As a customer, I’m there to learn. As an employee, to teach and help. As a partner, to sell. Underwhelming, I know. Instead, let me describe my perspective from the three roles I’ve played.

Three Lenses, Explained

Starting as a customer, the company I represented introduced me to this platform that I had actively been using for eight months. I was strongly encouraged by colleagues/management to submit my use case in hopes of being selected to attend the conference, which, as you may know, gives you free admission. Luckily for me, my submission was accepted and I was on my way to Boston. My focus was to absorb as much information as possible, which included seeing how other users are leveraging Alteryx and expanding my knowledge.

Fast forward a year, I find myself supporting the Professional Services team at Alteryx. (This, however, did not grant you automatic admission to the event.) As fate would have it, management rewarded an all-expense paid trip to San Diego to the new PS employees who hadn’t attended before (“new PS employee” being the key phrase for me J). While I did assist in a few training sessions, most of my time was spent working the Solution Center. For those who aren’t aware what the Solution Center is, anyone attending the conference can walk in and ask questions or request help on a use case with literally anything related to Alteryx. The Solutions Center, in my opinion, is one of the greatest reasons for attending Inspire.

Now, to last week: Inspire 17. The Friday before we were to depart to Sin City, the Teknion team had a meeting to discuss our game plan and reveal our team shirts that we were to wear throughout the conference. As Steve opens the box, BAM! Out comes these bright orange polo shirts. Think of the briefcase in Pulp Fiction when it’s swung open… it was kind of like that. Little did we know, they turned out to be a huge success. If you were there, we were hard to miss. As a consulting firm, our goal was to increase our brand recognition (CHECK! #TeamOrange) and to attract new business. As the chime from the Slack app on my phone sounded through, this reminded us that people were doing their job!

Conclusion

Now that you have my three perspectives to the conference, I’d like to conclude with which one did I like the most? Short answer: employee. Now, allow me to explain. As the new Alteryx marketing strategy suggests (“The Thrill of Solving”), that’s what I enjoy doing. I’m a problem solver. It’s why I love my job and when you’ll get the full, natural, extrovert out of me. Participating in the event as an employee, spending my time in the Solution Center, I was in my element. While it was extremely exhaustive work, to have customers allow me to help solve their problem, start the process, sometimes even completing their use case was very gratifying. Watching their face fill with amazement that the product could do that and the relief from no longer having to spend countless hours doing it manually anymore; well, that was just the cherry on top. That thrill of solving re-energized me to start helping the next person in line.

There you have it, my thoughtful answer! Hope to see you at Anaheim at Inspire 2018, still as a partner (I hope).

 New Call-to-action