2018 Adobe Summit – the testing guys perspective
The 2018 Adobe Summit season has officially closed. This year marked my 11th Summit with my first Summit dating back to 2008 when Omniture acquired Offermatica where I was an employee at the time. I continue to attend Summit for a variety of reasons but I especially enjoy spending time with some of my clients and catching up with many old friends. I also enjoy geeking out hardcore with the product and product marketing teams.
While I still very much miss the intimacy and the Friday ski day that Salt Lake City offered, I am warming much more than had I anticipated to Las Vegas. I also got the sense that others were as well. I also just learned that after Summit this year that quite a few folks have created their own Friday Funday if you will (totally down for Friday Motorcycle day next year!). The conference is bigger than ever with reported attendee numbers around 13,000. Topics, or Adobe Products, covered have grown quite a bit too. I am not sure if I got all the whole list but here are the products or topics, I saw covered at Summit:
- Advertising Cloud
- Audience Manager
- Cloud Platform
- Experience Manager
My world of testing mainly lives in the Adobe Target, Adobe Analytics and to varying degrees, Adobe Audience Manager, Adobe Experience Manager, and Adobe Launch worlds. It was cool to see and learn more about these other solutions but there was plenty in my testing and personalization world to keep me busy. I think I counted 31 full sessions and about 7 hands-on labs for testing. Here is a great write up of the personalization sessions this year broken down by category that was very helpful.
The conference hotel and venue are quite nice and make hosting 13,000 people feel like it is no big deal given its size. As nice as the hotel is, I still stay around the corner at the Westin. I like getting away and enjoy the walk to and from the event. And boy did I walk this year. According to my Apple Watch, in the four days (Monday – Thursday), I logged 63,665 steps and a mind-blowing 33.38 miles.
The sessions that I focused on where the AI ones given my considerable work with Automated Personalization, Auto-Allocate, and Recommendations. I also participated in a couple of sessions around optimization programs given my work with MiaProva.
Below was my week and lessons learned for next year.
I made a mistake this year and should have come in earlier on Monday or even Sunday for that matter. Monday is the Adobe Partner day and they have quite a few fun things to learn about in regards to the partnership and Adobe in general. It is also a nice time to hang out with the product teams at Adobe – before the storm of Summit begins. In fact, I was able to make it one great event that evening at Lavo in the Venetian. Over the last couple years at least, organizations that use Adobe solutions and agencies that help those organizations use Adobe solutions can be nominated for awards based on the impact of using Adobe solutions. That night, attendees got to hear about some great use cases including one from Rosetta Stone where they used testing to minimize any detriment going from boxed software to digital experiences (a very familiar story to Adobe:). If you find yourself part of a team that does something really cool or impactful with Adobe Experience Cloud solutions, consider nominating it for next year!
Also on that Monday is something called UnSummit. I have gone to UnSummit a few times and always enjoyed it. UnSummit is a great gathering of smart and fun people that share interesting presentations. Topics vary but they are mainly about Analytics and Testing which is reminiscent of the old days at the Grand America in Salt Lake City. I am not 100% sure why it is called UnSummit as that could leave the impression that it is a protest or rejection of Summit. I can assure you that it isn’t or at least I’ve never heard of any bashing or protest. In fact, all attendees are in town because of Summit. Again, great event and if you have the time next year, I recommend checking it out.
Opening day if you will. The general session followed up by many sessions and labs. This sounds silly but I always come early to have breakfast at the conference. I have had many a great conversation and met so many interesting people by simply joining them at the table. I do this for all the lunches each day as well. We are all pretty much there for similar reasons and have similar interests so it is nice to geek out a bit and network as well.
I also enjoy checking out the vendor booths as well and did so this year. Lots of great conversations and it was cool to run into many former colleagues and friends. Southwest Airlines even had a booth there but not sure why! Maybe to market to thousands of business folks?
On Tuesday nights, Adobe Target usually hosts an event for Adobe Target users to get together at. This year it was at the Brooklyn Bowl which is on the Linq Promenade, only a few blocks from the hotel. A very cool area if you haven’t been that way. They also have an In-n-out there too!
This event was great as I got to spend some time with some of my clients and enjoy some good food and music. There was a live band there that night so it was a bit loud but still a great venue and event. Lots of folks got to bowl which was awesome too. Of the nightly events, I usually enjoy this one the most.
Big day today! Breakfast networking, a session, the general session and then game time! I had the honor of presenting a session with Kaela Cusack of Adobe. We presented on how to power true personalization with Adobe Target and Adobe Analytics. The session was great as we got to share how organizations are using A4T and the bi-directional flow of data between the two solutions to empower organizations to make use of the data that they had in Adobe Analytics. Lots of really good feedback and I will be following up here with step by step instructions on how exactly organizations can do this for themselves. You can watch the presentation here.
After my session Q&A, it was Community Pavilion time which is basically snacks and alcohol in the vendor booth area. I also met with a couple of customers during this time.
Then it was time for Sneaks. I never heard of Leslie Jones before but she was absolutely hysterical. She had the crowd laughing like crazy. Lots of interesting sneaks but the one around Launch visually interpreting something and then inserting a tag, I found to be the most interesting. If Launch can receive inputs like that, then there should be no reason why Target can’t communicate or send triggers to Launch as well. I see some pretty cool use cases with Auto-Allocate, Automated Personalization and Launch here!
After Sneaks it was concert time! Awesome food, copious amounts of Miller Lite and lots of time to hang with clients and friends. Here is a short clip of Beck who headlined that night:
Last year I made the big mistake of booking a 3 pm flight out of Vegas on Thursday. It was a total pain to deal with the luggage and I missed out on two really great sessions that Thursday afternoon. I wasn’t going to make that mistake this year so I flew home first thing on Friday morning which I will do again next year too.
Thursday is a chill day. I had quite a few meetings for Demystified and MiaProva prospects and attended a few great sessions. Several people told me that the session called “The Future of Experience Optimization” was their favorite session of all of Summit and that took place on Thursday afternoon. I was disappointed that I couldn’t attend due to a client meeting but will definitely be watching the video of this session.
Thursday late afternoon and night were all about catching up on email and getting an early nights rest. Again, much more relaxing not rushing home. So that was my week which somehow now feels like it was many weeks ago.
There were many great sessions, far too many to catch live. Adobe though made every session available here for viewing.
There is quite a bit going on with Adobe Target and not just from a product and roadmap perspective. There is a lot of community work taking place as well. If you work with Target in any way, I recommend subscribing to both Target TV and the Adobe Target Forum. I was able to meet Amelia Waliany at Adobe Summit this year and she totally cool and fun. She runs these two initiatives for Adobe.
There are many changes and updates being made to Adobe Target and these two channels are great for staying up to date and for seeing what others are doing with the Product. I also highly recommend joining Adobe’s Personalization Thursdays as they go deep with the product and bring in some pretty cool guests from time to time.
Hope to see you next year!