Top tips from the Data Geeks on Conference Etiquette in the US!

May 8, 2020

We were lucky to recently attend the Google Marketing Partner Summit, in San Francisco.

It was our first time to the US and our first time to a networking event of this magnitude! We were super excited. It was a wonderful experience, there were 600 partners from over 63 countries across the globe, we learnt a lot and networked with a lot of industry experts on the various different trending topics of the web analytics world!

We thought it might be cool to share some of our musings from our trip…

Learnings & Tips

  • Don’t worry about the language barrier
  • We found “Data” was a common unifying bond across participants as even though we come from different countries and backgrounds – we all speak the same language!

  • Don’t be shy when it comes to talking to an industry expert…Don’t be intimidated, it’s always good to network!
  • If you are too shy to ask a question during a session, you can approach the speaker in private at the end and still have it clarified! Also do try to listen to some of the other questions that are being asked as well – there are a ton of people facing the same technical issues as you are so you will highly benefit from this!

  • Get ready to Hustle!
  • What’s your personal pitch? Have a clear crisp description about yourself and your role ready! This is highly useful as you will find yourself giving a lot of introductions about yourself, your company and your role in the US!

  • Talk Solutions & Impact – not Product
  • Once you’ve introduced yourself, you can change gear and start talking about your company. Breaking down silos is a good approach when you are explaining yourself and what your firm does. Don’t talk products/tools, talk solutions & impact first!

  • Scope out the “competition”
  • Talk to Partners from the rest of the world. This helps you get to understand the ecosystem there, learn from their experiences – especially those from more “developed” Data markets
  • Consider how you can take learnings from other partners and see how that can scale to your daily work – an example of this was hearing Partners share some of their approaches which gave us inspiration and was a great foundation piece for us to reflect on when developing future solutions

  • Value your time
  • If you feel you are part of a networking meeting where there is not much value, gently excuse yourself, take full control of the situation. Same is true for the actual conference sessions…which leads us to the next tips!

  • At the conference itself :
  • Divide & Conquer: If you have a conference buddy, split up the day’s activities and work out who is going to what, and check in. If you don’t have a buddy, make a friend and offer to co-share notes on Google Docs!

  • Attend all Demo Booth sessions : as it’s pretty cool as you get to interact 1:1 with the product managers & engineers & understand a lot of the product updates that are going to be released soon!

  • Talk to product managers about the tools you used so you can provide feedback and gain an understanding on what’s on the roadmap / product vision (The Google team actually inserts this back into their product roadmap and you get to see feature releases for these.. It might take a while but it does get implemented if its a common concern!)

Notes on US Culture

  • Everyone is super friendly and generally greets you with pleasantries whenever you buy your food or get into a lyft , etc. Relak lah. Smile 🙂
  • There is huge diversity in culture and ideas which creates an environment where ideas are freely shared and innovation is highly-regarded and that is reflected in how advanced our US counterparts are in activating their data insights to improve client’s business. Take advantage of the opportunity to debate ideas with different mindsets!
  • Coffee in the US is not all that great 😀 but Starbucks was awesome !
  • SF is really really really cold ! Go to Uniqlo beforehand and buy some thermals!
  • Portion sizes are huuuuugeeeeee! Be careful when you order 😀
  • Don’t forget to tip when you eat out in US! (There are “tipping” apps / calculators you can download beforehand).

We hope these tips help. If anyone has any other great hacks, experiences to share on how they navigate Conferencing we’d love to hear – please post below!!!

Stay tuned for our next blog where we will cover the GMP Summit 2018 in detail!

Madhu Bakthavatsalam and Khairul Anwar – Sparkline Superheroes!