What I learned at the Internet Summit

As I attended the Internet Summit 2010 in Raleigh, I heard some definite themes:

People – It’s easy to concentrate on technology, process or devices. But never forget that people are primary. GoDaddy.com makes it clear that customer care is central. The #1 domain name registrar on the planet actually calls customers  to make sure they are satisfied. These customers may have bought a domain name for just $11, and they get a courtesy call. Wow. That kind of attention is not just for paying customers – President Warren Adelman offered conference attendees $50 gift certificates since CEO Bob Parsons, the original speaker, couldn’t be there.

Listening – Pay attention to what customers, prospects, employees, competitors are saying. Jenny Halasz of Acronym Media tweeted before her presentation to find out what people wanted to know about to inform her talk on SEO. Her mantra: Keywords are just a proxy for the customer. Listen to what they’re saying to know what they want. Dallas Lawrence of pointed out that unions, which are very good at organizing people, are now doing it in public using social media. So if you wonder if they’re going to boycott, now you can find out what corner they’re meeting at what time, what they’re going to wear and what signs they’ll carry. You just have to be listening.

Analytics – Measure, measure, measure. Then use what you find out to create your next step. Measure that too. Whole presentations on this – tip of the hat to our own Jim Hazen – but almost every speaker stressed this point as well. Which means we need to look at current metrics to decide what to do next and design what we do to be measurable.

Utility – Sure, people want to be entertained but they also want something they can really use. This word came up a lot in the sessions on mobile arena. A mobile app that streamlines a job and replaces a clunky appliance or process can be a homerun. Keeping mobile apps and sites simplified and easy to use is key. Also, check the usability of your applications – I loved the example of the Fox News app with navigation too big for real thumbs.

PowerPoint pain – Conferences can be one long, excruciating PowerPoint. Isn’t there a better way to present? Slides packed with crazy small type, clickers that aren’t intuitive, videos that won’t play…here's an opportunity for disruptive technology to change lives for the better.