IABC 2010 World Conference

I’m back at my desk, trying to turn my brain back to reality after another terrific IABC World Conference.

Once again, I was able to put faces to names of people met online, mostly on Twitter, and reconnect with others met at previous conferences, friends and colleagues. As always, the professional development was solid, the people warm and welcoming, and the social events good fun. We had a great turnout of independents among the 1,400 participants and wore our indie ribbons proudly. And our shopping guide appeared to be a hit!

The official conference start featured the energetic drumming of the Drum Cafe; my hands were sore for a day after joining in! Next came the elegant opening reception at the Royal Ontario Museum Sunday night, followed by the traditional Canada party (sponsored by CNW Group). Unfortunately, I missed the party, but apparently my fellow Canucks held up our reputation with dancing until 2 a.m.

I have to confess that this year’s EXCEL award winner, Xerox’s Kevin Warren, did not generate the same enthusiasm in me as previous recipients did. His speech was very scripted and full of jargon; anyone playing “buzzword bingo” would have achieved bingo in the first 5 minutes. However, his more engaging and casual self emerged during the question-and-answer session.

Tuesday’s general session featured an inspiring talk by Craig Kielburger, co-founder of Free The Children and Me to We, talking about the value of bringing the non-profit perspective to the business world.

“People are desperate for meaning and want to know their jobs make a difference,” he said. Tap into that by building a culture of empathy (listen, don’t make assumptions), community (work together for the common good), meaning (celebrate success) and legacy (build a team and plant the seeds).

Guy Kawasaki closed the conference on Wednesday talking about the Art of Innovation, gaining enormous Canadian brownie points by sharing his love of hockey. He also earned applause by repeating his 10-20-30 rule of pitching: the optimum number of slides in a presentation is 10, given in 20 minutes, using no smaller than 30-point type.

Although he had a few more than 10 slides, there were 10+1 main points about innovation, including make meaning (be motivated by how you can change the world, not just how you can make money); don’t worry, be crappy (when your product is revolutionary, don’t wait for perfection, fix the crappy parts in version 1.2); and let 100 flowers blossom (people who aren’t your intended prospects will buy and use your product for unintended purposes; let them).

As happened in New York and San Francisco, I roomed this year with my friend, colleague and podcasting expert Donna Papacosta. Even though the conference was local this year, staying at the hotel saved us from horrible commutes and we split both the costs and the fun. Thanks, Donna!

In all, it was time well spent. Now it’s back to work to make up for all that time away from my desk, and I’ll share some of the session highlights another day.

Interested in my past IABC World Conference adventures?