Part 2 of a 4-part series of posts on Qlik’s Qonnections 2018 Worldwide User Conference.
If I had to describe Qonnections in one word, it would be ‘enthusiastic’ or ‘energetic’ – OK, I know that’s technically two words! The enthusiasm and energy is visible in customers, partners and Qlik employees alike. It’s a shared, positive feeling, which permeates the venue from arrival to departure, from dawn until dusk. It’s infectious too – just when you are grabbing a quick coffee, or a quick breather, you are liable to run into someone who’ll ask, “So, what are you doing with Qlik?”. Speaking personally, that’s another open invitation for me to tell our story, and each time, it’s received with genuine interest. Then the question is reciprocated, and so it continues.
In turn, these feelings and interactions breed a deep sense of community, which is fuelled by liberal contact with Qlik colleagues, and further strengthened by specific initiatives such as the Qlik Luminary programme – of which I’m extremely proud to be part. This latter group are particularly visible and vocal throughout the year, but especially so at Qonnections, making passionate pleas to Qlik across a broad range of topics. I certainly feel that there is a bond within this group, which is beautifully orchestrated and supported by a dedicated Qlik team. This caught me completely by surprise, and it’s truly a humbling experience to spend time with such a talented, committed group. There was a high level of Luminary attendance this year, which made it all the more special.
In addition to the time, effort and expense it takes to host this kind of event, Qlik makes a clear commitment in another obvious way – employee attendance and contribution. Whilst everyone would expect the senior leadership team to lead from the front (and they do, particularly when it comes to the keynote sessions, of course), there are numerous Qlik colleagues from all areas of the company – doing everything from hosting, presenting and supporting the breakout sessions to working with partners and industry analysts and manning stands at the Expo event. Though their roles vary considerably, the Qlik team have one thing in common – their accessibility. It’s a simple matter to approach someone and ask a question, get an opinion, or make a point. Importantly, I genuinely believe that Qlik listens to the community – and I’ll use the announcement about licencing (“One User, One Entitlement, One Experience”) from this event, to back this up. I’ve heard discussions on this topic over the last year or so – and I’ve personally raised a question on a couple of occasions during the same period. Now, I’m certainly not claiming that I’m responsible for this strategic decision on Qlik’s part, but it does demonstrate my point. It’s something I’ll be following up on, since I’m keen to understand how this will be implemented. For us, it could make a difference when it comes to using parts of the Qlik platform we’ve not fully explored as yet.
Coming back to the Keynote Sessions, the choice of guest speakers was again inspired, although very different from 2017. I still remember the intensity of Jason Silva’s delivery, and the emotion induced by Jake Porway’s subject matter, from last year, which demonstrates the impact of those sessions. Difficult acts to follow, both. However, the insightful, thought-provoking, humorous and hugely entertaining hour and some, hosted by Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner (of Freakonomics fame) was certainly a highlight for me. It was delivered in such a matter-of-fact, almost under-stated manner, that it felt akin to a friendly chat in your front room – assuming you have a large front room! The stories they shared were extremely interesting, imparting relevant lessons I’m taking back to our everyday work. Whilst I’m pretty sure this wasn’t a promotional event on their part, I’m happy to admit that I have just placed a multi-book order with a certain on-line retailer!
And finally, to the meat of the event – the Breakout Sessions, which run continuously throughout the entire two and half days, filling virtually every available room in the venue. Here, there is absolutely something for everyone, so much so, that you are spoiled for choice. The challenge begins in the lead-up to the event, where you can (in reality, must) pre-register for the sessions which interest you. Choosing around 10 to fill your agenda, from a collection of almost 300, is tough. Choosing 10 which don’t include a schedule clash is nigh-on impossible. Do your best – and check out my top tips for coping with some of this in the next post!
Qlik – if you are still listening, here’s a request from me! Whilst the session material download is very useful, even allowing for the odd animated slide which doesn’t work (picky, I know!) what are the chances of recording some/all of the sessions for later viewing? I understand that there would be complexities involved in terms of the logistics and technical setup (and probably more besides) but I felt like I should ask anyway!
Next up, in part 3, some simple, practical tips for getting the most out of Qonnections!
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