Phil Soffer is Vice President of Product Marketing at Lithium Technologies. He has held a number of positions at the company influencing the direction of the platform, most recently running Product Management.
This week I spent a few days down in Los Angeles at Gartner's Customer 360 Summit, and here are some personal impressions.
Lithium was there in force, with our new CMO Katy Keim leading the charge, along with Dan Ziman, Erin Korogodsky, and Alyce Lindquist. More importantly, our customers were there in force -- whether they knew it or not. Virtually every session I attended featured stories about things Lithium customers are doing in Social CRM, from Giff Gaff to Caterpillar to Best Buy.
Let me get the obligatory chest thumping out of the way. In his Tuesday session, Gartner's Adam Sarner unveiled this year's Social CRM rankings and, as Paul Greenberg reports, Lithium did really well.
Based on my in-person impressions, that's actually an even bigger deal than I had thought. Here's why:
That definitely helped make this conference more fun than the usual run of conferences. Some other fun moments:
Dinners. One night we went out with Paul Greenberg and got to hear about his adventures in politics and how they led him to CRM. Let's just say some street brawls were involved, which I will try to keep in mind next time our CEO Lyle Fong gets on my case. If you get a chance to go to dinner with Paul, do it. The next night we went out with Becky Carroll, who in addition to working for Verizon and blogging about social customers also teaches what must be the funnest class at UCSD. Note to Verizon: Becky paid her own way for that dinner!
Stalking. We finally got to meet Gartner's Michael Maoz, who was very much in demand at the conference. We did this by hiding in the lobby and jumping out from behind a pillar when he arrived at 11:45 PM the night before the conference started. Katy signaled her interest in meeting Michael by coyly spilling a glass of red wine in his direction but not actually hitting him -- a clever move. He turns out to be a really interesting guy. Anyone who can make jokes in English, German, and Hebrew within two minutes and is a fellow admirer of Michael Chabon is okay in my book, even if he didn't know off the top of his head that Richard Hofstadter taught at Columbia. (He could not have known that Hofstadter is sort of my intellectual grandfather).
* New Stuff. This was my first time in the field demonstrating the Scout Labs product, and it creates a lot of fun moments. I had one guy come by the booth and I did a search on one of his competitors. Thanks to our real-time quote extraction, I got to show him with two clicks that only moments before, a disgruntled customer had posted that his competitor, "Sucks A$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$." You can't buy that kind of goodness. Actually, you can -- and happily, Lithium did.
For all that, though, it's good to be home and back in the office. This is a lot to live up to, and we need to stay on it.
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