Yes. This was my first time. I’d seen most of my colleagues head to TEAM last year but I was on desk-duty. I watched each keynote from my cubicle in the Herndon office and wondered – “were the partners and analysts on site really feeling the energy I felt back home?”
After just 18 months with Polycom, I got my chance to find out.
I landed on Monday afternoon and – like all of us – shared a shuttle bus with about a dozen others. The bus would ultimately take me to most likely the nicest resort I’ve ever been to, and four days of the most fun and exciting days I’ve had as a professional.
I would be lying to you if I said that excitement, that energy, was immediately born in Nashville. It started three months earlier – in a quaint little town known as New York City, where we not only celebrated our 25th anniversary in style, but also made the largest and most successful product launch this company has ever seen. And while I was extremely fortunate to be in attendance for that day in October, many who traveled to Nashville, had not.
So instead of rehashing the entire event, I would rather give you some observations I made while attending the best conference I’ve ever been to:
- As I just said, this is the best conference I’ve ever been to. From the Expo Hall, to the incredible guest speakers, to the energy in the room during EACH keynote. This was special.
- Tuesday night in the Expo Hall was incredible. It opened at 5pm and there was a line waiting to get in. Everyone had heard about RealPresence Centro and RealPresence Trio but many had not seen it. Like pre-schoolers running to their favorite toy each morning, the masses congregated around these devices quickly and waited to see them live and in action.
- Our partners are extremely gracious with their time and compliments. I had the honor of taping interviews with our 4 and 5-star partners and, on camera, they were very complimentary of Polycom’s channel and sales teams as well as the technology. Off-camera, they were just as effusive with praise, saying they couldn’t wait to hear more about huddle rooms, or how we can use the cloud together, and – my favorite - “Centro is a beast. I can’t wait to see that in action.”
- I don’t think anyone could have asked for two better guest speakers. Captain John “Sully” Sullenberger was beyond amazing. His story of courage during that flight that ultimately landed in the Hudson River was a great lesson, which was “exposure leads to composure.” In other words, practice for anything long enough, you’ll never be afraid to face it.
- Scott McKain is perhaps the best speaker I’ve heard in a long, long time. Very funny anecdotes that taught the audience how to stand out from your competitors. Brilliantly tailored and extremely well thought out.
- Polycom customer stories will sell our brand even more in 2016. Listening to the videos produced for the Seacrest Foundation, NATO and Home Away, you’d have to be a robot not to laugh, cry and be amazed but what our technology is doing.
- If you haven’t had an opportunity to sit down and have a chat with our Co-Founder Jeff Rodman, do yourself a favor and do so. I was fortunate to spend nearly an hour with him at lunch Wednesday and he’s as nice and kind as he is talented.
- Pride – the word I kept thinking as I watched our executives talk to our channel partners. There’s a lot of that right now and for good reason.
- RealPresence Clariti was a hit on Wednesday and Thursday. People are going to like this software solution. The hybrid cloud burst offering is truly game changing and when you pair with RealConnect and Polycom RealAccess, that’s a pretty strong combination.
- We’re lucky to work with the people we do. So many that I’d previously only met on video, I met in person in Nashville this week. What a treat to meet so many people that make this company the great place it is.
With each step I took this week – which I estimate was over 45,000 – I heard people talking. And it wasn’t always fun chit-chat, it was strategy, it was excitement about what they heard and saw. Some of the sessions were overflowing and they had to bring in more chairs.
TEAM Polycom 2016 was beyond a success. Like Ashan Willy and Michael Frendo noted in their presentation, the products we announced in October are a platform to future innovation. I like to think TEAM this year is a platform for which we can build and innovate the way we change the game for this year and years to come. I know my colleagues will ask me to take a breather (because of the tremendous amount of work that goes into this), but I can’t wait until next year.
What would you like to see at TEAM 2017?