Category Archives: Conferences

Internet Summit 2013: The Definitive Summary

Internet Summit 2013This week I attended the Internet Summit in Raleigh, a nice little event here in the Triangle that gathers together some of the brightest digital marketing folks in the area…and few stupid ones. Say what you will about New York, Silicon Valley, and Austin, but this little cow-town has some serious stuff going on and this event continues to grow every year. This year’s edition of the Summit brought the likes of Gary Vaynerchuk, Kevin Pollak, Ben Huh, and Coolio. I’m pretty confident you’ve heard of at least one of these people, but if you don’t, well, be assured that they haven’t heard of you either. The agenda was jam packed with keynotes, panel discussions, tech sessions, and rap music you haven’t heard in 20 years, and as the event was a virtual sellout, I know that many of my colleagues were unable to attend. The good news is that I have an awesome set of observations summarizing everything you need to know about this year’s conference. You’re welcome.

Here’s what you missed:

  • The most important thing on the planet that digital marketers need to know is “storytelling”. You can go home now.
  • Apple uses its market position to block innovation and uses “old technology” (note: a panel member who listed himself as a Blackberry consultant said this. Seriously.) RELATED: Is being a ‘Blackberry Consultant’ really something you want people to know about?
  • Gary Vaynerchuk swears a lot and the over/under on when he drops his first f-bomb in a keynote is currently 30 seconds.  Take the under.
  • Interesting subjects can be neutered by poor speakers.
  • Uninteresting subjects can be made to sound glorious by great speakers.
  • “Storytelling” is THE most important thing that digital marketers need to know.
  • Daft Punk + Duck Dynasty > Wearable Technology.
  • You need to understand Millennials. They want meaningful work, rapid advancement, flexible hours, and frequent accolades and rewards. Oddly enough, so do I, so they can just get the fuck in line behind me.
  • There is never enough coffee or power outlets at any conference. It;s the law of the Conference Gods. Get over it
  • It’s either going to be too hot or too cold. Bring a blanket and a tank top to cover your bases
  • Some companies still believe that tchotchkes are a business model. If the tchotchke flashes it indicates that it’s a high-tech business model.
  • All innovation is great until the Marketing Department gets a hold of it. Then it’s fucked.
  • Of all the things that digital marketers need to know “storytelling” is the most important of them all.
  • Coolio is still alive. Double check your Death Pool picks.

  • Whatever boundaries of technology Google Glass is eclipsing, the people who wear them look like attention-hungry douchebags.
  • Curiously, speakers who preach about the importance of building and cultivating relationships are usually bombarded with resume-wielding job-hunters immediately upon leaving the stage.
  • The preferred speaking attire these days is jeans, with an ill-fitting suit coat over a wrinkled button-down shirt that isn’t tucked in. Pros add a pair of shoes that look like they came from a hipster goodwill store.
  • “Storytelling” is very important.
  • The world desperately needs laws governing the use of PowerPoint slides and harsh penalties for those that offer slides that look like this:

Powerpoint slide

  • Social Media is huge!
  • Mobile is even huger!
  • Storytelling is the hugiest!
  • There’s a guy with a dozen bullet points on his slide telling you that you must be more visual.
  • You’re totally not going to get that booth babe’s number no matter how interested you pretend you are in the solution she knows nothing about.
  • It’s still in vogue for presenters to use tired examples of bad social media execution and tell the audience “what they would have done”.
  • The most popular person at the conference is the one who brought the power bar.
  • Once a rare siting, the person with the laptop, iPad and iPhone working concurrently is now sadly commonplace. Because you can never really be too connected.
  • Asking the audience to “Give it up” for the speaker should be illegal.
  • Asking the audience to raise their hands in response to your questions should be illegal.
  • Asking the audience the question, “How many of you are marketers?” followed by “Wrong! You are all marketers!” should be illegal and punishable by a swift kick in the nuts.
  • Box lunches suck, particularly the “sampler” pack of macaroni salad.


  • Sometimes the conversations on Twitter during a presentation are waaaaay more interesting than the presentation itself.
  • Once the conference ends everyone will enthusiastically go back to doing things exactly the way the presenters told them not to do it.
  • Oh. Almost forgot. Storytelling. Critical.

Well there you have it.  I betcha it feels like you sitting right there with me right?  I am sure one of the other attendees will claim that I missed a few things like, you know, key learnings, and new tools and techniques, and evolving digital trends, but I’m pretty damn sure I covered the most important parts. See you next year, when ‘storytelling’ will be soooo 2013 and gurus will laugh at the people who are still doing it.

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