A SHIFTing experience

Last weekend I attended the SHIFT 2010 conference in Lisbon and I’ll like to share with you some ideas from the talks I attended. Let me just start by saying that I had never heard of the event until a tweet from Lee Bryant caught my attention a couple of months ago. Knowing that Lee was one of the speakers was a key factor in deciding to attend since I’ve long followed his views on the social media and social business design scene. Unfortunately a rare event in the form of a furious volcano in Iceland prevented him from attending.

Day 1 started with a workshop by Sara Batalha entitled “Webcast yourself like a TV presenter” where she explained how the use of video as a personal communication tool is still not very explored, most of the times because people are shy or haven’t yet realized the possibilities of using video to present themselves. Some companies are already asking job applicants to submit video CVs and I personally believe that this trend will increase in the future.

Following lunch and the opening keynote by Manuel Heitor, Andrea Vascellari took the stage with contagious energy to talking about “Branding Today”.   Andrea rightly pointed to the fact that all the social buzz is taking our attention away from the brands, remembering us all that we are living in the attention economy (and to this topic I’ll dedicate a special post one of these days). Next came Kushtrim Xhakli from Kosovo that shared the personal story of his fight to educate his fellow citizens despite all critics (please check my previous post). Joshua Sierles then gave us a taste of life on the road with some very useful tips on travelling light and a really important message on what truly matters in life (ok, the fact that he had an IPad on his backpack sure caused a stir 🙂 ). And the day ended with Ricardo Tomé and Bruno Lima Santos presenting their experience on incorporating social media to create a real and ongoing interaction between 5 TV presenters and their audience using a cross-platform approach.

Day 2 kicked off with an amazing (and quite humorous) presentation from André Rabanea on “Guerilla Marketing” and how he incorporated his marketing techniques to surprise his girlfriend and to plan a unique wedding. Next came Yasmina Haryono and Rui Madeira explaining “How to stay soft in a world that’s gone hard”. This talk had a Seth-Godin-Linchpin feel to it which I found very appealing, and I remember drawing a smile next to the quote “don’t follow other people’s agendas, just create your own”. I particularly liked when Rui showed us a video of an interactive application installed in a children’s park where kids have to put all their energy to make virtual trees grow 😀

After another coffee I attended Simone Cortesi‘s talk on the OpenStreetMap project. Being a great admirer of the story behind Wikipedia and the concept of crowdsourcing I particularly enjoyed discovering this project that creates maps in a collaborative way using a wiki. Next up was Ana Neves speaking about the D.I.M bible. I had come across Ana’s blog a few times in the last years and was very curious to meet her which I finally got the chance to do at Shift. She delivered a storytelling-like presentation of her personal journey and the lessons learned which left me very moved.

The amazing Lane Becker from Getsatisfaction.com explained to us how businesses thrive on the network when they adapt to the network and not the other way around. He then went on to detail what differentiates a traditional business from a social business, providing one simple yet overwhelming proposition: “fail your way to the top”. I then saw Cennydd Bowles talk about “Undercover user experience” through web conferencing (Shift 1 – volcano 0 🙂 ) where he warned that companies were too focused on themselves or on the competition but not on user experience. He then went on to explain his Undercover manifesto (note to self: gotta do a manifesto one of these days). Online sharing continued with Tara Joyce speaking (recorded audio due to the travel chaos) about Innerpreneurship and once again Linchpin came to mind when she said that we need to “rethink the old notion of what it takes to be successful”.

Last (but not least!) was Ton Zijlstra with “Maker households” highlighting how the Web of today makes it easier for individuals to share, connect, create and organize without organization. The true do it yourself spirit that was the motto for this year’s Shift.

I must say that the conference was a really nice surprise, despite all hiccups. I didn’t quite know what to expect of it and ended up finding some top-notch people, an organizing team that deserves all my respect and love, lovely speakers and an informal environment of people with different backgrounds sharing experiences. Looking forward to the next edition 🙂


3 thoughts on “A SHIFTing experience

  1. Sounds like it was an interesting conference. I will have to make a point to check it out next time.

    Is the material from Sara Batalha’s workshop available online somewhere? I have recently become interested in this topic. 🙂


  2. oh btw, recently I have noticed that more and more talks have the Seth-Godin-Linchpin feel to them. Not sure if the trend started after the book was published or is it that the trend existed before and I just started to notice it after reading the book……

  3. Hello Saqib! The material from Sara’s workshop is not available (yet) but please check her blog (http://sarabatalha.blogspot.com/) there are some tips in English.

    Regarding the Seth-Godin-Linchpin factor in my case I believe it is actually the result of reading the book. I’m much more aware of certain details in people’s talks and actions. But I also believe that some of us are trying to live a more meaningful and passionate live by acknowledging, and exploring, our art whatever that art is.

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