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Thoughts on Pulse 2018 -- I’m Fired Up!

It’s been two weeks since Pulse 2018, and I’m still reflecting on this awesome event.

Standing room only at the Case Study TheaterStanding room only at the Case Study Theater

I’ve attended every Pulse conference for six years – ever since it began. Way back in 2013, I more or less stumbled upon it by accident. I happened to be in San Francisco at the time, and Nick invited me to drop by and check out that first gathering of customer success advocates.

(If you don’t know Nick Mehta, he’s CEO of Gainsight, which hosts Pulse and is the Bay Area’s fastest-growing tech firm).

In 2013, about 300 people were at Pulse. Compare that to this year, when more than 5,000 gathered from across North America and beyond to be inspired by the speakers, the breakouts, the networking, the buzz, and of course, Nick’s signature motivator: “Who’s fired up!!”

Inside the San Mateo County Event Center for the opening keynoteInside the San Mateo County Event Center for the opening keynote.

Let me share a few highlights with you.

  • The Case Study Theater. In my role as emcee for the Case Study Theater, I introduced 10 case studies presented by some very smart, inventive people. I found it very rich to interact with each of the speakers and facilitate the audience Q&A. We were in a central place in the exhibit hall, and the case studies created quite a buzz – nearly every talk was standing room only. I’ve committed to doing something similar next year and I’m already looking forward to it.
  • Nick’s talk. He revisited the theme of vulnerability, building on what he shared last year and which I found very moving. This year, I felt the whole event went so far as to actually embody that theme, especially given the emphasis on being “human-first” in business.
  • Geoffrey Moore on Zone to Win. This is a gamechanger on the level of Crossing the Chasm. I first heard Geoffrey present this talk at Gainsight’s COO event in February and I liked it so much that I got my team back home to watch it during a lunch ‘n learn session. We’re already using a lot of the Zone to Win concepts.
  • Happy customers. I took some short and informal videos of Elaine and Louis telling me how they benefited from Eigenworks’ services. Thanks both!
  • The entertainment. With a Ferris wheel spinning over the grounds and a band playing Purple Rain, what more could you ask for?

The Pulse Ferris WheelThe Pulse Ferris Wheel

Gainsight has made this a not-to-be-missed event, and they’ve done it by focusing on the customer success movement and not on themselves. People are responding to the spirit and intent of Pulse and that’s why it’s growing so rapidly.

I’m a big fan of the Zen saying, “Start where you are.” As it relates to customer success, every organization simply needs to get going no matter what their starting point. Companies are all over the spectrum, with some working on retention and health scores, and others starting to link customer success with advocacy (“advocacy” was a big buzzword at the event, by the way). Kudos to Gainsight for the support they offer for all capacity levels through services like Maturity Model Assessment or their new Elements.

For me personally, I’d say one of the most gratifying parts of Pulse was coaxing stories and questions out of the Case Study Theater presenters and the audience. And that’s really the reason Eigenworks exists: to dig deep into customer stories and deliver the “5 Whys” of insights. You can use our technique too – see our Buyer as Hero Toolkit for Customer Success.

Are you fired up? I am!

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