Symposium Top 10 List

04 October 2006

The first Symposium I attended was in 1987.  Actually, back then, it was called the Scenario conference, was only three days long and was held at various locations.  Since then, I’ve attended almost every Symposium.  If I had to distill what I’ve learned into 10 things for the benefit of AR practitioners, here’s what I’d tell you.


Before the Show

1. Survival

a. Extra laptop batteries.  WiFi access can really suck down your battery, all the more so if you’re blogging in real-time.

b. Comfortable shoes.  I once wore a new pair of shoes to Symposium.  Big mistake.  BIG mistake.

2. Parking at the Dolphin/Swan.  If you’re stuck at one of the outlying hotels, be aware that for the first few days of the event, if you’re not registered at the Swan or Dolphin, you can’t park your car at the hotel.  Find a friend who’s registered at one of those hotels and avail yourself of their parking privileges.

3. Schedule evening activities with analysts.  Gartner continues to try to curtail these activities.  The analysts continue to enjoy good times (and good company).

4. Plan your agenda.  Be sensitive to hotel locations of sessions.  It’s one thing to go from the Swan to the Dolphin and back again.  It’s a whole other thing to head over to the Yacht & Beach, especially with forecast highs in the upper 80’s.  Trust me, you won’t want to be going back and forth.  Plan in advance.

At the Show

5. Book your 1:1s.  Pre-registration is now closed so book these as soon as you’re registered onsite.  If you can get to your key analysts before their presentations, all the better.  And at the session, sit in the front row.  Introduce yourself.  Yes it’s blatant…and yes it’s effective.  In my analyst days, when I knew a vendor was in the audience, I was more guarded in my comments than when I thought I was all alone.

6. Enjoy the theme park event with your target analysts but resist the temptation to talk more business.  Between sessions, 1:1s, hallway meetings and, heaven forbid, even bathroom breaks, the analysts are bombarded with inquiries and questions.  Contrary to popular belief, analysts are people too and they’re looking for an escape.  If you talk about baseball instead of BI, weather instead of Web 2.0, yes you may have missed an influence opportunity but more importantly, you may have solidified an effective working relationship.

7. Exploit the AR opportunities.  Find the AR workroom at the Swan.  It’s a great place to recharge yourself, your batteries and meet your colleagues.  And if you’re staying at a distant hotel, this can become your base of operations.  Be sure to attend the Tuesday 2 p.m. meeting with Gene Hall.  He’s the driving force behind many of the changes that have been met with, shall we say, mixed reception in the vendor community.  He needs to hear our concerns.

8. Talk to attendees.  Symposium is not just an analyst influence opportunity.  This is your best opportunity to learn directly from attendees what they think of your company and its products, and to learn what they think of the analysts and who they value.  If you’re not getting direct customer feedback at Symposium, you’re missing an opportunity.

 After the Show

9. Follow up.  So many AR activities are focused on obtaining positive Symposium outcomes.  There’s a natural tendency to fall off the face of the earth after the show (as we all catch our collective breath).  This is actually an important time to solidify your gains (and don’t forget, there are various other Symposia to come).  Weeks and months of prep can be undone if through lack of follow-up you leave the analysts with the impression that they’ve been abandoned.

10. Start planning for 2007. 
Anyone who’s been in this job for more than a year or two realizes how
important the planning for Symposium is.  For many analysts, the
research creation process for Symposium drives much of their research agenda for
the subsequent six months (and is also a significant determinant of their Spring
Symposium presentation the following year).  If you’re not
beginning your influence planning now, you’re already late.


See you at the show!!


One Response to “Symposium Top 10 List”

  1. lory

    I tested this camera for a client. I didn’t have the light running for more than 15 minutes. The battery lasted approximately 6 hours before recharging. The LCD, however, had a few dead pixels – never saw this before. Tried returning for exchange and had to put up quite a fight. Anyone else seen this?


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