One of the advantages of the new job I have is getting to attend varying and interesting conferences. On Tuesday I was invited to IBM, Dublin to attend Tec Xpose. When I told some of the lads in the office where I was going, the conversation went a bit like this.
“Will Glenda be there?”
“Why would she be there?”
“You said Expose?
“TEC Expose, TEC!”
“Yeah, so will she be there?”
Anyway, I tweeted that story and Glenda herself favourited it, so that was good!
Driving up to IBM made me feel like I was in California, arriving on campus, young, hip, ready to be all coporationed up. The sun was beating down, so that helped the fornia vibes. Here’s what greeted us when we arrived at building 6.
3,500 people work at IBM. It’s like a little city, and we’re really very lucky in Ireland to have such large knowledge based companies employing so many people in high-end jobs. It’s all about the cloud by the way. And don’t be taking flash keys off strangers. More on that later.
For once, I was pretty much on time, so had lots of time to network and I got speaking to Sandra Maguire and Dervilla O’Brien, who are members of the DCU Ryan Academy and the Female High Flyers Club. The day was all about female entrepreneurs. There were high flyers everywhere.
We were joined by Andrew Keogh who was flying high himself at about six foot four and a half and there was a strong battle of words about public transport versus the car. Andrew is a strong advocate of the bus, but the two high flying ladies were not stepping out of their cars (or putting their wings down) for trains or trams anytime soon.
Andrew was the first speaker up and he led us in a session on how to pitch your business. It was great. Here are the top five things I learned from TecXpose, kicking off with Andrew himself.
- How to pitch your business
Never stand up and just say your name. Open with a killer one liner. Be remembered. Have a conversation, don’t sell! Tell people about who you are and what you can do – your background is important. Leave with a call to action. Don’t walk out of a room without asking people to follow up with you, check your website, ask to close the deal. Easy!
- Female Entrepreneurship is on the rise
I sat beside Jean O’ Sullivan at lunch, who is Manager of Female Entrepreneurship at Enterprise Ireland and doing a great job. Female entrepreneurship had grown from 7% of new businesses in Ireland to 24% in just two years. Now that’s an impressive statistic. Businesses led by women also tend to be very successful in their own right. They can be slow to start, but once they get going, they rise and rise. I’m guessing this is to do with how women approach risk. Careful now.
- People don’t buy from brands, they buy from people
John Collins, Digital Sales Transformation Manager at IBM walked us through how the company has moved their sales completely online and how they train and motivate their staff to stay on top. It’s all about personality and they encourage all their sales team to keep twitter and Linked In profiles that are personable, knowledgeable and user friendly. While people may go a brand first, it’s the person they meet that makes the sale. I had a great chat with John later. He’s from Drogheda (always a plus!) and heads up IBM staff member blog www.offthegrid.eu
- Google yourself
Marie Wallace gave a fantastic talk about a social media experiment she’s been carrying out over the past three years. She decided to see how far up the social media food chain she could get and set about promoting herself through as many social media channels she could find. She is now ranked on the first page of google in her career and has given a Ted talk. She reckons more good people should be heard on social media and she encouraged anyone who had anything meaningful to say to get on board to drown out the nonsense. Her method involves a period of listening to the social media scape, sharing your own thoughts and ideas, engaging with others and growing your following and then contributing in a meaningful way like a blog or Linked In posts. Here’s a slide on some of the tools that can help you along the way.
- This is what hackers look like.
These are some of the members of the White Hat team at IBM and they told some pretty scary stories of people having data encrypted or wiped and entire systems being lost. One story they told us involved hackers sending or leaving flash keys in work places where employees simply plugged them in, not knowing where they’d come from and infected or brought down the network. So the moral of the story is… use the cloud. You can find out more about IBM’s cloud services, including some free trials at: Bluemix.
Finally I met the team at TanOrganic, who were super excited as they’d just launched in Boots Uk that very day. I hope they do great and company founder Noelle even offered some product for review so next time you see me I might be glowing brown and flying high. Or at least on the runway. Flapping those wings.