Tag Archive #SLUSH15

ByMichael Ambjorn

11 conference ideas from #SLUSH15

This week I’ve been at #SLUSH15 in Helsinki – a start-up focused event that has grown from a few hundred people to 15,000 in less than seven years.

So whoever tells you that people no longer go to conferences are wrong. People are just expecting a different format than they used to – and here are a few ideas I took away from this monster-one:

People come because of people

1: Because they can meet likeminded people. Not just the fancy keynotes and all that.

SLUSH gets it – they’ve put the whole shebang in one hangar-sized space: 15,000 people milling, talking, connecting – all at once.

2: They’ve also dispensed with the bright lights – making an airport-sized experience feel intimate. Oh and they have lasers. And smoke machines. But I digress.

A good conference is a marketplace for connection

Not just content.

3: SLUSH have a great space set aside for connecting – where people can meet, discuss and kick off new collaborations. Because innovation is all about cross-pollination of ideas.

4: Also, speakers such as Google’s Sarah Drinkwater (Head of their London Campus) offer to spend time with people 1:1 to share advice. Adds a nice peer-to-peer touch – making everybody behave in a more accessible manner.

5: Many come to events to find a new gig. SLUSH have grabbed this challenge by the horns: they have a whole area dedicated to recruiters. Example? Exhibitor TransferWise is looking for all of these: CopywriterDigital Content ProducerEuropean Community ManagerPaid Social Marketing ManagerVideo ProducerHead Of Government RelationsHead Of PR – APACHead Of PR – Europe, Head Of PR – UKInternal Communications Manager, PR Intern (Paid, Immediate Start)Press Officer (Europe)

Technology accelerates the experience

6: Yet the experience is still human. A set of apps help play a part: the main SLUSH one providing the agenda etc. + clever real-time help via the folk at Ninchat.

7: Then there’s the swipe-right-left networking-app GRIP – which promises to work long after the event is over. Let’s see.

8: For those using Twitter (and at #SLUSH15 that is a lot of people) it always helps when slides have hashtags and handles so information can easily be tagged on the fly.

A few Old School things still worth the while

9: The humble business card is definitively not dead. I get mine from Moo.

10: Nor are name tags with nice big, clear and legible lettering. Font size 30+ or bigger. Some of us wear glasses.

11: Decent coffee helps. A lot. Thanks forbetter.coffee/

If this might be useful to somebody organising a conference near you, feel free to share it.

Meanwhile, I hope to see you in Sydney later this month, Los Angeles in February, Rotterdam in April and New Orleans in June 2016 – or somewhere in-between.

Let’s #createconnection like never before.

Michael Ambjorn


ByMichael Ambjorn

What communicators can learn from start-ups: paper folding segmentation

This week I’ve been at #SLUSH15 – an event that brings together 15,000 people interested in start-ups: entrepreneurs, investors, academics and of course the raw talent who power it all.

Here’s one of the things I took away – advice given to start-ups, but just as applicable to communicators operating at the strategic advisor level:

Paper folding segmentation

‘Impossible is nothing’ said Muhammad Ali – and whilst that is true, he did take a rather meticulous approach.

The same goes for start-ups (and communicators) who succeed: they don’t try their luck across all the weight classes.

They pick their fights carefully.

The first step? Segmentation.

Kim Väisänen

Kim Väisänen

Kim Väisänen brilliantly brought this to life with a visual shorthand: and no, I’m not talking about boxing gloves. Rather, something you’ll most likely have to hand: a plain sheet of paper.

From Wikipedia: A size chart illustrating the ISO A series and a comparison with American letter and legal formats

From Wikipedia: A size chart illustrating the ISO A series and a comparison with American letter and legal formats

Now just imagine that piece of paper is the whole world.

Tempting, yet hopefully obvious that you can’t address all of it.

Kim’s advice? Keep folding until you have enough specificity to make it meaningful – but also realise that you can’t fold infinitely.

The average piece of paper can only be folded 7-8 times.

If you want to geek out on more on start-up advice – including Rachleff’s Law of Start-up Success, then there’s a useful write-up here. For those just starting out, this simple ‘business plan basics’ Prezi which I’ve taken on the road in the past may also be useful.

Or, if you simply want to prove that you’re a world class communicator who knows how to target what you do… the time is now to enter the 2015 Gold Quills.


2015 Gold Quill - IMAGINE

Share your good practice: let’s #createconnection like never before.

Michael Ambjorn