Here I am, back from Berlin, after what was I think a great first edition for X Change in Europe. I just read Gary Angel’s account, which is quite on the money; Gary’s firm, Semphonic, was the conference main organizer.
I thought the general atmosphere was excellent, and particularly interesting with people from a wider variety of countries than what we have at the US editions. As usual, the event was flawless, and the evening on the Spree was quite exotic; it wasn’t always easy to pay attention to the conversation about Digital Analytics while the Berlin landscape passed us by.
As for the huddles I attended, I thought most of them were good, in the sense that the leader had prepared enough, managed the flow well, and participants did their part. Yes, in some cases, the discussion was a little less, shall I say, “advanced” compared with the US. I didn’t mind, however, because I have always been more interested in the questions were asking themselves than trying to find answers to my own. And, as Gary says in his account, many people are doing really cool stuff there as well. This is something I really like about X Change; nobody is there to tell anyone what to do and how to do it. It’s all, at its core, people thinking together, sharing experiences, and searching for the best options.
I thought the huddle I lead, “Metrics Are Politics”, went well. I wasn’t sure if participants would readily engage with a topic that is rarely discussed in Digital Analytics, which is by far dominated by technical topics, and debate about the political context of measurement. It turned out that they were quite interested, and several of them offered examples of internal political forces influencing the analytics processes. I believe more thoughts should be devoted to analytics context, and how it determines whether a company will be successful with analytics, or not.
Once the event was over, I went back to my hotel that evening, and tried my luck at getting a table at the restaurant sitting on top of it. Fortunately, they could take me, since I was still early. The view of Berlin from the 14th floor was astonishing. I had wanted to come to Germany since my teenage years, and here I was for the first time.
The short-term benefits of attending conferences are not always clearly identifiable, but admiring Berlin that night was certainly one.