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Collision 2018: Tech, Innovation, and Conversation

Collision 2018: Tech, Innovation, and Conversation

Élodie Doua

Élodie Doua

May 14, 2018

Havas Montréal’s Élodie Doua brings us the highlights from one of the fastest-growing tech conferences in North America.

"We can’t take the human out of an algorithm."

The third annual Collision conference in New Orleans turned out to be just as colorful as the host city: diverse, vibrant, and authentic. Considered to be a Mecca for the tech community, Collision enables different specialties and interests to converge—combining knowledge to produce innovation. In just three days, and featuring more than 250 panels and events, attendees felt that they were at the center of something special, a place where ideas were being born. On the program: creativity, technology, content, and yes, security (Hello, Facebook).

During the non-stop wave of ideas, encounters, and presentations, I took in as much information as possible from big-name speakers, including former Vice President and environmental activist Al Gore and music artist and producer Wyclef Jean, and stepped out of my comfort zones.

 

Here are my Collision 2018 highlights.

1. Sell in the mobile universe first.

“In 2015, 38% of people preferred not having sex for a year over giving up their smartphone.” Ian Wilson, Senior Director of Global, Digital and Marketing Development at ‎Heineken, opened his panel with that statement. His message was clear: The future of marketing is mobile, and there are seven clear steps to accelerate integration.

(Video) Heineken | Marketing in a mobile-first world

 

2. Who would have thought that artificial intelligence (AI) could be biased?

One thing’s for certain: AI is becoming more prominent. AI is expected to take on certain human tasks, so we must proceed with caution. According to ThoughtWorks CTO Rebecca Parsons. we have to abandon the fanciful notion that the algorithm is neutral—because the person who coded the algorithm has his or her own biases. Parsons shared examples of how, despite our best efforts, we can’t take the human out of an algorithm.

(Video) ThoughtWorks | Diversity, coding, and bias in AI

 

3. Step away from classic cultural innovation.

For Richard Marks, PlayStation’s Research Fellow & Head of Magic Lab, innovation is, above all, a process—a process that’s executed with four ideas that must be adopted by an entire team: consistency, constraints, cooperation, and engagement.

(Video) PlayStation | The magic of innovation

"The ideal image that we project on social media has a negative impact on our self-esteem."

4. One year of SEO in 20 minutes

How effective is video? Is YouTube essential to your SEO strategy? Spoiler alert: Google is, and will always be, the king of SEO, so what really matters is how you use it. What’s interesting in the presentation by Moz CEO Sarah Bird is the way in which she deconstructs the myths surrounding recent SEO trends.

(Video) Moz | What you need to know about SEO in 2018

 

5. and 6. Comedy is saving content.

Double header. That Lot Founder and Creative Director David Schneider offered up the ABCs of funny in two conferences that drew concrete examples from brand social media activations and shared winning, and relevant, formulas. To the point, simple and effective, Schneider reminded us to use a formula to create funny messages. Some of Schneider’s suggestions for a winning comedic style: the elements of surprise, authenticity, and specificity.

(Video) That Lot | Show me the funny: Tips for comedy on social

That Lot | Disasters and triumphs on social: A (fairly) complete guide for brands

 

7. Rebuilt is bad.

These words haunted the Reddit team when it came time to redesign their web platform. How did they approach redesigning a website considered to be the Internet’s front page? How was new technology integrated while still maintaining a strong sense of community during the transition? Chris Slowe, CTO at Reddit, explains their process and pitfalls.

tl;dr: Listen to consumers.

(Video) Reddit | Rebuilding Reddit

 

8. Where is the authenticity on social media?

Let’s pull our heads out of the sand and admit it: The ideal image that we project on social media has a negative impact on our self-esteem. But it’s hard to say it when you’re enjoying a wave of likes on Instagram. During his presentation, Imgur Founder and CEO Alan Schaaf presented a happiness scale and showed how it can have a direct impact for business. Disappointing news, yes, but relevant.

(Video) Imgur | Net Positive

It’s easy to suffer from FOMO (fear of missing out) at Collision. Is this the most exhaustive list of what went down last week? Probably not. But it does give you a sense of the caliber of presentations during this three-day experience. Next year’s event is in Toronto.

"We can’t take the human out of an algorithm."

The third annual Collision conference in New Orleans turned out to be just as colorful as the host city: diverse, vibrant, and authentic. Considered to be a Mecca for the tech community, Collision enables different specialties and interests to converge—combining knowledge to produce innovation. In just three days, and featuring more than 250 panels and events, attendees felt that they were at the center of something special, a place where ideas were being born. On the program: creativity, technology, content, and yes, security (Hello, Facebook).

During the non-stop wave of ideas, encounters, and presentations, I took in as much information as possible from big-name speakers, including former Vice President and environmental activist Al Gore and music artist and producer Wyclef Jean, and stepped out of my comfort zones.

 

Here are my Collision 2018 highlights.

1. Sell in the mobile universe first.

“In 2015, 38% of people preferred not having sex for a year over giving up their smartphone.” Ian Wilson, Senior Director of Global, Digital and Marketing Development at ‎Heineken, opened his panel with that statement. His message was clear: The future of marketing is mobile, and there are seven clear steps to accelerate integration.

(Video) Heineken | Marketing in a mobile-first world

 

2. Who would have thought that artificial intelligence (AI) could be biased?

One thing’s for certain: AI is becoming more prominent. AI is expected to take on certain human tasks, so we must proceed with caution. According to ThoughtWorks CTO Rebecca Parsons. we have to abandon the fanciful notion that the algorithm is neutral—because the person who coded the algorithm has his or her own biases. Parsons shared examples of how, despite our best efforts, we can’t take the human out of an algorithm.

(Video) ThoughtWorks | Diversity, coding, and bias in AI

 

3. Step away from classic cultural innovation.

For Richard Marks, PlayStation’s Research Fellow & Head of Magic Lab, innovation is, above all, a process—a process that’s executed with four ideas that must be adopted by an entire team: consistency, constraints, cooperation, and engagement.

(Video) PlayStation | The magic of innovation

"The ideal image that we project on social media has a negative impact on our self-esteem."

4. One year of SEO in 20 minutes

How effective is video? Is YouTube essential to your SEO strategy? Spoiler alert: Google is, and will always be, the king of SEO, so what really matters is how you use it. What’s interesting in the presentation by Moz CEO Sarah Bird is the way in which she deconstructs the myths surrounding recent SEO trends.

(Video) Moz | What you need to know about SEO in 2018

 

5. and 6. Comedy is saving content.

Double header. That Lot Founder and Creative Director David Schneider offered up the ABCs of funny in two conferences that drew concrete examples from brand social media activations and shared winning, and relevant, formulas. To the point, simple and effective, Schneider reminded us to use a formula to create funny messages. Some of Schneider’s suggestions for a winning comedic style: the elements of surprise, authenticity, and specificity.

(Video) That Lot | Show me the funny: Tips for comedy on social

That Lot | Disasters and triumphs on social: A (fairly) complete guide for brands

 

7. Rebuilt is bad.

These words haunted the Reddit team when it came time to redesign their web platform. How did they approach redesigning a website considered to be the Internet’s front page? How was new technology integrated while still maintaining a strong sense of community during the transition? Chris Slowe, CTO at Reddit, explains their process and pitfalls.

tl;dr: Listen to consumers.

(Video) Reddit | Rebuilding Reddit

 

8. Where is the authenticity on social media?

Let’s pull our heads out of the sand and admit it: The ideal image that we project on social media has a negative impact on our self-esteem. But it’s hard to say it when you’re enjoying a wave of likes on Instagram. During his presentation, Imgur Founder and CEO Alan Schaaf presented a happiness scale and showed how it can have a direct impact for business. Disappointing news, yes, but relevant.

(Video) Imgur | Net Positive

It’s easy to suffer from FOMO (fear of missing out) at Collision. Is this the most exhaustive list of what went down last week? Probably not. But it does give you a sense of the caliber of presentations during this three-day experience. Next year’s event is in Toronto.

Élodie Doua is truly passionate about new technologies and believes that finding pleasure in your work is a winning proposition for all.

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