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xPotomac in Less Than 180 Seconds


xPotomac was billed as an event “where the digital media future meets businesses. This groundbreaking conference features seven media technologies most likely to impact businesses and marketers in the immediate future.” xPotomac was held at The Source Theatre in Washington, DC on February 25, 2013. This post is taken from my notes and tweets:

Dino Dogan, “The New Groundswell”

  • Gutenberg democratized access to information.
  • 1% of blogs get 99% of attention. And they don’t deserve it.
  • Traffic + ads is an antiquated attention model.
  • The next big opportunity is in attention plus influence.
  •  If you could get attention without traffic, would you want it?
  • Google, Twitter, Facebook had a chance to do something different; they chose to show us ads.
  • Always cognitive dissonance when you try to match message w/ influencers who don’t mesh w/ your brand.
  • Empires crumble, whether you’re talking about Persian empire, Ottoman empire, or Facebook.
  • There’s a flaw in our logic about how to drive traffic. What if Google is not best way to drive traffic?
Dino Dogan, founder of Triberr, speaking at xPotomac

Dino Dogan, founder of Triberr, speaking at xPotomac

Ken Yarmosh, “Multiscreens: Anytime, Anywhere”

  • Too far-fetched to have screens on coffee tables for magazines or to download games?
  • What if calls could be seamlessly moved from screen to screen as you walk through your house?
  • Every device we have should have the same information without configuration.

Geoff Livingston and Patrick Ashamalla, “Looking through Google Glass”

  • A great user design doesn’t demand attention; it focuses it. -Patrick
  • Wearable computing technology will make smartphones obsolete in 5-6 years. -Geoff
Photo of Tinu taking a photo of Geoff Livingston with a tablet at xPotomac.

Photo of Tinu taking a photo of Geoff Livingston with a tablet at xPotomac.

Shonali Burke, “Social Scoring: Are You Worthy?”

  • Don’t look at numbers, look for context in influence.
  • Technology is not for technology per se.
  • Great champions beget more champions.

I was able to win a signed copy of Geoff Livingston’s book Welcome to the Fifth Estate at the beginning of this session when Shonali asked who knew their Klout score. I qualified it by stating that I don’t believe in Klout scores and said that mine was 57. I looked it up moments later to find that it had risen to 58, most likely due to xPotomac activities. As of the writing of this, my Klout is at 59. I’ve compared it to an SAT score. It’s a snapshot, but a number doesn’t tell you everything you need to know about a person. I’ve also compared it to college football rankings. I believe it reflects a certain American obsession with ranking and scoring everything- and on an ongoing, all-too-frequent basis.

Greg Verdino, “Digital Ubiquity”

  • Futurists do not predict the future. Who does? Crackpots.
  • 500 million devices connected to the internet 10 years ago. In 2008/2009, the number of devices exceeded human population.
  • Average home in the US has 20 connected devices.
  • Smart paint that tells you when your ceiling is going to crack exists today. It’s probably not in your house.
  • If you have a product, you better be prepared to be in the services business.
  • A refrigerator should be able to talk to a telephone, or we have a problem moving forward.
  • Big data should be looked at as a core asset for your business.
  • If you’re not paying for the product, you are the product.
  • As our population ages, more & more systems fail. We never see the Boomers coming.

Jen Consalvo, “Visual Revolution

  • Not a lot of brand activity yet on Vine’s 6-second videos platform.
  • 300 million photos uploaded to Facebook every day.
  • People connect with pictures. Images gain more engagement.

Andrew Keen, “Big Data Threatens Privacy”

  • No surprise photos are central to social media age. We’re in love with ourselves.
  • No coincidence that social networks came along as we need to sell ourselves with self-employment, etc. We are brands.

I wasn’t as personally offended at Andrew’s comments as some of my xPotomac associates were. I thought he provided some interesting counterpoints to what we had been hearing all day. Andrew Keen definitely came across as condescending, insulting, and egotistical. Was it a thought-provoking presentation? Yes. Would I want to listen to him again? Not really. Rather than end with his naysaying and the negative feelings that ensued, perhaps it would have been better instead to have started the day with Andrew Keen to merely temper the digital enthusiasm we all felt.

Other noteworthy quotes and insights:

  • You have two wallets: money & time. -Kathy Korman Frey, quoting Ted Leonsis
  • Social scoring is often more about popularity than it is about influence. -Tinu
  • Blogs- purposeful audience builders. These are what social scoring should be taking into account. -Dino Dogan

Also worth reading and reviewing:

Geoff Livingston’s Context Always Mattered, Now It’s Crucial

Sohini Baliga’s Augmented Reality: “Yo, Heads Up!

Jamie Notter’s The Dark Side of the Revolution

Mike Shaffer’s Andrew Keen and the Negative 180s

Geoff Livingston’s Flickr photos of xPotomac reveal the smile of Shonali, the halo effect of Ken Yarmosh, and everything in between.

Eventifier’s compilation of xPotomac photos, videos, tweets, and contributors.

I’d also like to thank other xPotomac attendees who aided my understanding with their insights, comments, questions, and/or tweets: Melanie Spring, Sohini Baliga, Mike Schaffer, Shashi Bellamkonda, Sarah Oyungu, Debbie Friez, Tammy Portnoy, Kiki L’Italien, Colin Storm, Maddie Grant, Jamie Notter, Jim Long, Kathy Korman Frey, Isabel Saldarriaga, RaShonda Rosier, and others.

What stood out to you from xPotomac? What were the memorable moments, quotable quotes, and retweetable tweets? What were the lessons learned? What will you do differently in your business?

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  1. February 27, 2013 at 12:21 pm

    Thanks for the shout-out and the great post!

  2. February 27, 2013 at 8:10 pm

    Great recap, Jay. I really appreciate the time you took to write this, and clearly you were engaged. Thanks again, and next time we hang out, even if it’s just for a few.

    • February 28, 2013 at 9:41 am

      Such a great day you organized Geoff. The man behind the curtain, in front of it, amazing. Thank you. Food for thought, curve balls, episodes of “Dr. Who” mixed w/ Minority Report that will become our lives…it had it all.

  3. February 27, 2013 at 8:33 pm

    What a great play by play. Thank you! I noticed: We can’t escape the sensationalism of the “anti Christ of Silicon Valley” and I saw two posts on it afterwards. We don’t like to report “50 million people drove safely today” – it’s not what gets people talking. It’s not the adrenaline rush (we get a mini-one, BTW, w/ every vmail, txt, email some studies show. Ahhh!) Consumers support “the bad news channel” in droves. Hey – I read Perez every now and then. Trash is an extreme sport and – like the frog in the boiling water analogy – it’s probably easy NOT to see the descent coming. However, my guess is all the stink was: The xPotomac13 folks are not your average bad news channel watchers, or makers. I know so many of them, and they are quite benevolent – literally creating the digital community of DC, and important subcommunities within that. So, kudos on rewarding the outstanding intellect of the day and not only pot-stirrer, but also the pot-creators and builders that allowed that dude a pot to stir in the first place. I remain very inspired by the group mojo, and am further impressed by your ability to capture it. Thank you.

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