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Old and New….so much to learn from one another.

Last week I attended two industry conferences. Going in, I thought there would be no similarities….boy, was I wrong!

The first was a “by invite only” summit hosted by a venture capital firm. It had approximately 100 entrepreneurs, advisors, and funders. Over two days the group presented to one another what their firms were focused on, some motivating words from firms who had exited profitably, and a few market observations that they could apply to their businesses. It was a great event full of youth, raw energy, belief, and hope.

The second was a paid conference for the automotive industry put on by a professional conference company. It had approximately three hundred attendees from almost all facets of the automotive industry and many large systems integrators. Over three days the group explored three of the largest trends affecting that industry today – electrification, connecting the vehicle to the internet, and safety. It was a conference full of many of the same discussions that have been had for the last few years, but fun ones nonetheless. In summary, it was a great event filled with experience, energy, belief, and hope.

I had three significant a-ha moments between the two conferences (and not only during the Aha Radio presentation that my good friend, Rahul Misra, gave):

  1. Many automotive companies are interested in becoming a consumer electronics company. And here I thought they were focused on transportation.
  2. Ux (unified experience) is the new holy grail. Ok, it has always been a big deal, but it was the main theme of both of these conferences. No matter if you are a new firm trying to entice a part of the iPhone/Android market to download your app, or a traditional automotive company trying to entice buyers to choose your brand because it has the ability to download an app, both conferences stressed that it is all about Ux. (Now some of them confused HMI with UI with Ux….but that is for another day).
  3. The old industry guys have been talking about many things that the venture firms are now investing in. I was shocked to watch young entrepreneurs, many of which are basically digital natives, pick up pens and take serious notes about trends in mobility. (I thought everyone already knew that smart phones outsold feature phones for the first time in 2011. Or that phones are trending ahead of more traditional forms.) The auto executives have been studying this for years. The question is, have they been on the sideline too long?

What a great time to be in the heart of innovation!

Innovate, connect, and grow with no regrets.