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10 Things I Learned at #SIC2015 and You Can Too!

The beauty of hanging out at SIC is you get to rub elbows with the smartest people in the room. And by room, I mean world. These are the folks who make a living looking around corners, who chew on things like ‘data sets’ and ‘content measurement’. Who tell funny stories about exploding kittens (1) and then challenge you to ask ‘What will you preach to the world and what will you stand for?'(2).

It’s that kind of passion. About numbers. About content. All for better business – and, if you’re listening – for a better way of traversing the sheer walls of being.

And though I’m not going to jump on my hoverboard and/or ride a billion dollar unicorn into the sunset anytime soon, here’s ten things I learned and you can too:

  1. Everything you touch has to provide value. It’s getting harder and harder to hide behind ‘Soft ROI’ . Everything is calculated: Clicks, boxoffice, conversions, views, insert your ‘metric for success’ here. It’s the only chance you have of becoming the signal rather than the noise.
  2. If you’re not doing the above, i.e. if you’re not relevant, then you will be buried by Google. Forever. In a place deep and dark and populated by siths.
  3. The key metric for your business just might be one we often overlook: Subscriber Growth. If you have subscribers you can market to, you’re not at the whim or the vagaries of Google/Facebook. Or the next ‘sweep your finger to the right’ dating app. If you have subscribers, you have FANS. And that’s better than anything.
  4. Why the F$ck haven’t I been watching Whiteboard Friday over at SEOMOZ? Right? Because I’m an idiot. http://bit.ly/1km7kVn
  5. Virtual Reality is the now reality. We better brace ourselves. Or just plug in and forget to feed the kids.
  6. Marketing in three easy steps: 1) Create value. 2) Get that value front of as many people as possible. 3) Get those people to come back as much as possible. DONE! (Hat tip: @joannalord)
  7. You are competing against everything.
  8. The Oatmeal remains one of the coolest kids on the block.Talk about monetizing content to make dreams come true – here you go: http://theoatmeal.com/
  9. Agile and Scrum as a way of life. Start breathing this stuff as a philosophy. Pour it on your cereal in the morning.
  10. You too can get your app ranked in the app store. It just most likely will cost you half a million bucks (unless you’re #8, above).

Of course there was lots of talk about mobile – and people were indeed lost completely in their screens half the time. But this seems like so last year in a way. So – cute. Sure, it’s the undisputed king of platforms and knows more about the customer then ever (You’re in Seattle and it’s raining? Push an umbrella ad!).But the one thing that I was reminded of, more than anything, was that you need something worth pushing. People are demanding context, relevance, and credibility more than ever. So have a story worth telling. For all the fantastic stuff about technology (and the list is indeed infinite), you still have to know who you are and what you bring to the table.

They haven’t invented an app for that yet.

(1) @oatmeal
(2) @joannalord

Thanks also to @matthewjbrown@206andrew@gameofkittens, and Basil Shadid for some great insight and a great two days. Look these guys up, yo!