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Silicon Beach 2017 Day One

  • Written By Marcus
  • Posted September 28, 2017
  • 4 minutes Read Time

that he proudly calls a ‘selfish conference’ in order for him to listen to great speakers. He hasn’t disappointed me yet and day one of Silicon Beach 2017 has lived up to the expectations set by previous years.

I have written about the event a number of times and have previously made the mistake of summarising each talk in one mammoth piece of dull writing. In the past, I probably didn’t do the speakers or their content any justice and I offered no personal thoughts or actions that I took from the day, so this year I’ll do things a little differently!

I’m going to talk about the three things that I’ve taken from today and that I will be paying serious attention to in the coming weeks and months. It’s important to say that there could’ve been far more but if I’ve learned one thing from previous years, it’s that a list of actions too long never even gets started.

If there’s parts of the day I’ve not documented fully or certain elements that don’t make sense, perhaps you should’ve come along but there’s plenty of links for further reading and research…

For me, the first talk of the day kicked things off brilliantly with Richard Gerver taking to the stage in a fetching pink that nearly coordinated with Matt’s delightful Romper! Richard gave me a lesson (pun intended) in simplicity over complexity and an insight into how I might think differently and look at things from a different perspective. Richard talked about how complexity is sometimes favoured over simplicity unnecessarily and how we should all approach things more from the point of view of a five-year-old. The wide-eyed, uninhibited thinking of children is awesome and if we could recapture that thinking in our businesses and when approaching new projects, it would be such a creative move. My main takeaway from the talk was the message from Richard’s friend Sébastien Foucan that we should look at the space between the buildings. We spend so much time looking at the buildings and obstacles in our way that we miss the beautiful spaces in between which is where interesting journeys can begin.


It’s no surprise that a hot topic today was social media, influencer marketing authenticity, and we were treated to not one, but two speakers who certainly hit home some important points for me. Enter Vikki Chowney and Sedge Beswick. In two fantastic talks covering many different points but with some overlapping and reinforcing themes, we saw incredible examples of working with influencers in the wrong way followed by some stark warnings and useful advice. While I was aware of some of the pitfalls of influencer marketing already, the importance of genuine authenticity, shared value and real trust were something I perhaps took for granted and our responsibility to future generations shouldn’t be forgotten. I particularly liked the point Vikki made about ‘perfect’ being overrated and that imperfection is far more interesting.

As someone with an advertising background, Paul Armstrong’s talk was really useful for me and although his message about emerging technology and how our focus should be on the actionable (AR) instead of the sensationalised (VR) was interesting and insightful, his comments on the use of voice search had an impact on me. Paul made it clear that Alexa or any voice activated smart device might not be all we’d hope it to be, both as consumers and marketers. A video of Scott Galloway (that played perfectly) really made Paul’s point about the impending death of brand based searches and this is something that I really need to put more thought into. It was also surprising for me for ‘entire audience participation’ to be anything other than cringe-worthy and awkward but when I came away with a real sense of urgency about what I need to achieve because of how little time I have left to make an impact I was thankful.

It was an action-packed day full of insight and energy and although I’ve only picked out a few key points for this post, I can’t omit the incredible work of Scarlett Montanaro and her Crack & Cider social impact project or the always spectacular and darkly intriguing theatrics of Marcus Brown which once again blew me away!

So that’s day one of Silicon Beach 2017.

There’s additional talks going on tonight as I write this and another fantastic lineup for tomorrow. You’ve got to love Matt Desmier and Silicon Beach.

See also: Silicon Beach 2017 Day Two