Sunday, March 17, 2013

GTC - We were there...March 12-13, 2013, GVR

What a great show.  Not too large...not too small...but just right.
Huge thanks to Claudia Winkler.  Her time and experience in this business really stands out at events like these and she's a gracious host.  Special thanks to those at BNP Events for the fine effort and work they did to make this all happen.  As an attendee and sponsor, HITC Software is very pleased with what we took away from the conference.

I can't say there was too much about this show that I didn't like.  The content was relevant, the attendees were our target audience, and keynote addresses and most of the track sessions were spot on.  Attendance numbers seemed a little small in comparison to other events that I have attended, but far more saturated with the target audience we would expect to see at one of these gatherings - more "quality vs. quantity" if you will.  All in all it was the perfect venue for HITC Software to make its debut appearance on the expo floor.

I had 2 favorite keynotes at the conference.  One was Shawn Rorick's opening keynote address on Tuesday morning.  If you were there, you know what I'm talking about...but if you weren't you missed one of the most insightful and relevant speeches to our industry in a long time, and it certainly should have hit home with those industry giants that are still challenged with grouping market share and acquiring (and keeping!) talent with their mobile apps, as well as still paddling hard to catch the wave.   Shawn's keynote put into perspective not only the need for integrating existing technologies, but the need to integrate to the methods and practices that are being used by today's start-ups.  There are needs for better market analysis, where the current matrices are missing large portions of identifiable market potential.  I'll even take his message a step further:  The companies that are creating products that are taking progressive approaches to acquiring new market share, are a part of that customer base.  I had the opportunity to speak with Shawn during the Tuesday mixer, and even after the show was over...and it looks like we'll be talking more in the future.  Looking forward to that.

My second favorite was Staci Columbo Alonso's presentation during the Wednesday luncheon.  I've had the pleasure of working with Staci before at Station Casinos.  In fact, a large part of my experience in this industry, as well as a large part of the marketing knowledge I've gained in this industry I attribute to my years working with Staci at Stations.  Her presentation once again hit the mark.  It identified new trends in what was once thought to be the sure way to do things, identified new market share for socially aware player bases, and how technology plays a part in exploiting both the trends and the market share to gain profitability in our business.  But what struck me the most, is she did it using movie clips from one of my top ten movies of all time; Moneyball.  If you don't already know this, Moneyball was one of the most influential points of inspiration for me to move forward with this business.  So many businesses go into their venture to hit the home run...where doing so is a very costly undertaking.  What this movie was about was identifying basic attributes of success, and applying those attributes to the principles that won ball games...all for a very economical cost.  OBP...on base percentage, not home runs, wins ball games.  This is a principle that Staci feels drives what's next in our industry and this is a principle that we take to heart at HITC Software.  My most inspirational scene in this movie, by the way, is toward the end when Jonah shows Billy the clip of (the 265 lb catcher) Jeremy Brown of the Visalia Oaks - who's afraid to turn at first base and run to second when he gets a hit...and everyone finds out why...but to his surprise it's sixty feet over the fence.  If you haven't seen the movie, you should.  How can you not be romantic about anything worth doing?

Mixing it up at the conference was easy to do.  There were plenty of mainstay players in attendance.  I was graced with Allison Ploen's (IBM) company during a couple of sessions.  I was fortunate enough to share a table with Michael Caruso of Agilysys, and Simon Fothergill and Toni Pepper of Ameristar during the Wednesday keynote luncheon, and even had the chance shake hands with Matt Ryan of Pinnacle Entertainment to invite him by our booth...(no, he didn't stop by).  Saw friends from times past, and made some new acquaintances that I'm sure will evolve into lasting, meaningful relationships...and aside from enjoying every minute of it, got a lot of exposure doing it.

All in all...4 out of 5 stars...although I fall short of why the 5th star is not awarded, I look forward to next year's conference matching in quality and will be sure to award it on merits of consistency!

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