Collision 2018: 7 conference highlights

The third annual Collision conference in New Orleans turned out to be just as colourful as the host city: diverse, vibrant and authentic. Considered to be a Mecca for the tech community, Collision enables different domains to converge and combine their knowledge in the interest of innovating. During this three-day event, featuring more than 250 conferences, you truly feel at the centre of something special, a place where ideas are being born. On the programme: creativity, technology, content and even security (Hello, Facebook!). Everything you could ever hope for!

During this non-stop wave of ideas, encounters and presentations, I tried to soak in as much information as possible from big name speakers (Al Gore! Wyclef Jean!) and step out of my comfort zones too. Grab your notebooks, here are my highlights from Collision 2018!

Sell in the mobile universe first

“In 2015, 38% of people preferred not having sex for a year over giving up their smartphone.” That’s the statement that Ian Wilson (Senior Director Global, Digital and Marketing Development, ‎Heineken) opened his conference with. His message was clear: the future of marketing is mobile and there are seven steps to help accelerate integration.

Full conference: Heineken | Marketing in a mobile first world

Who would of thought that AI could be biased?

One thing is for certain: artificial intelligence (AI) is becoming more prominent in our world. And in a context where AI is expected to take on certain human tasks, we must proceed with caution. According to Rebecca Parson (CTO, ThoughtWorks), we have to abandon the fanciful notion that the algorithm is neutral… because the person who did the coding has their own biases. Parson then shared examples of how, despite our best efforts, we can’t take the human out of an algorithm.

Full conference: ThoughtWorks | Diversity, coding and Bias in AI

Stepping away from classic cultural innovation

Innovation sometimes brings with it certain terms, such as the “culture of innovation”, that can be very… vague. For Richard Marks (Research Fellow & Head of Magic Lab, PlayStation), innovation is, above all, a process. A process that’s carried out with four cornerstones that must be applied to the whole team: consistency, constraints, cooperation and engagement.

Full conference: PlayStation | The magic of innovation

One year of SEO in 20 minutes

Do videos really work? Is YouTube truly the new titan of SEO? Spoiler alert… Google remains and will always be the king of SEO, so what really matters is how you use it! What’s interesting in the presentation by Sarah Bird (CEO, Moz) is the way in which she deconstructs the myths surrounding recent SEO trends.

Full conference: Moz | What you need to know about SEO in 2018

How comedy is saving content

Double header! David Schneider (That Lot) offered us the ABCs of funny in two conferences that drew concrete examples from brand activities on social media and shared winning (and relevant) formulas to adopt. To the point, simple and effective, he reminded us that the key to being funny is to use a formula. Some of Schneider’s suggestions for a winning comedic style includes the element of surprise, authenticity and specificity.

Full conference: That Lot | Show me the funny: Tips for comedy on social

Full conference: That Lot | Disasters and triumphs on social: A (fairly) complete guide for brands

Rebuilt is bad

These words haunted the Reddit team when it came time to redesign their web platform. How did they approach redesigning a website considered to be the Internet’s “front page”? How was new technology integrated while still maintaining a strong sense of community during the transition? Chris Slowe (CTO, Reddit) explains their process and pitfalls.

tl;dr: listen to your consumers

Full conference: Reddit | Rebuilding Reddit

Where is the authenticity on social media?

Let’s pull our heads out of the sand and admit it: the ideal image that we project on social media has a negative impact on our self esteem. But it’s hard to say it when you’re enjoying a wave of likes on Instagram. During his presentation, Alan Schaaf (IMGUR) presented a happiness scale and how it can have a direct impact for business. Disappointing news, yes, but very relevant stuff!

Full conference: Imgur | Net Positive

“Am I missing a better conference right now?” These words often echoed in my head during the Collision experience. It’s an intense time and so it’s easy to suffer from FOMO (fear of missing out). Is this the most exhaustive list of what went down last week? Probably not. But it does give you a sense of the caliber of presentations during this three-day conference. Want more? Next year’s edition is happening in Toronto!

Photo by Luc Brissette

Élodie Doua
Élodie Doua
Project Manager
Learn more about Élodie Doua


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