Why Pulse 2019 Will Be Even Better Than Last Year
So this is crazy. Click here to read last year’s Pulse recap blog and scroll down to the bottom. I’ll wait!
Welcome back! So we’re weeks away from Pulse 2019, and guess where I’m drafting this blog post?
That’s right! The hospital. It turns out my yearly Pulse season calamity was another knee surgery. By the way, in case you didn’t feel like clicking on last year’s recap blog, this was a picture of me from the time I was writing it—from the hospital:
I won’t tempt the fates by speculating about my health around Pulse 2020.
Speaking of 2020, that’s the theme of Pulse 2019: 20/20. Whether you take 20/20 as a sign of your increasingly strong vision about your customers (you might say you’re “gaining sight”… I’ll be here all night!) or as a car model year-style prognostication of the future, 20/20 is all about looking ahead.
This year our sights are set to the future of not just customer success as a function, but also the bigger customer success strategy across your companies. And in our 20/20 strategy, we introduce a particular focus on the most important partner in driving enterprise-wide CS—Product teams.
At Pulse, we’re going to explore many questions. What’s your job going to look like in 2020 and beyond? What’s the marketplace going to look like? How will our industry and economy change? What will I find to embarrass myself on stage this year? Okay—you don’t need 20/20 to envision that last one.
With that in mind, we’ve identified five trends that we’re going to be exploring throughout the event. I’ll reveal them here, but you have to be at Pulse if you want to know more!
- Product Experience Takes Center Stage
- From Customer Success to Customer Growth
- Human-First Leadership
- Operationalizing Outcomes
- Customer Data Infrastructure
If you haven’t registered yet for Pulse, my personal discount code is good through the end of April. Just use the code PU-NICK300 to get $300 off when you register.
Anyway, I’m glad you have last year’s blog in front of you, because in this one I want to revisit it to talk about how we’re making changes to Pulse based on that feedback.
Just as a quick recap, we sent an NPS survey to all 5,212 attendees that included two open response questions:
- What were the best parts of Pulse 2018?
- What should we do differently for Pulse 2019?
We had an overwhelming 25% response rate (that’s really good for a post-event survey) and a blended total NPS of 48.55, which was a very small year-over-year increase. I made notes on seven pieces of recurring feedback that you liked and seven that you didn’t. In this blog, I want to drill down on what you wanted improved and go into detail on what exactly we’re doing this year to improve.
Didn’t Like #1: Food Truck Lines and Snack Availability
After six years of Pulse, we know as well as anyone that feeding the masses (6,000+ people) is one of the most challenging parts of pulling off an event. We wanted to make sure everyone has enough food available and getting it is seamless and easy. Last year we came up short, but this year we’re making sure:
- Snacks are available during breaks for full pass attendees.
- Coffee is always available during breaks.
- All full-pass attendees have the option to get an executive bento box lunch.
We’re also moving towards better sustainability in our food choices, sourcing, and packaging. But if that’s not to your liking, the new location this year at Moscone West has way better proximity to restaurants with a huge variety of foods and price ranges.
Didn’t Like #2: Venue / Chairs
Like I just mentioned, this year I am BEYOND excited to return to San Francisco and the world-class facilities at Moscone West! I have nothing but love for Oakland, and the San Mateo County Events Center had some really cool, non-traditional elements, but Moscone already feels like home. We’ve tested the chairs, and let me tell you—if the speakers weren’t so riveting, you could fall asleep in these things. In fact, all the amenities are top-notch. If you’ve never been before, you’re in for a real treat!
Didn’t Like #3: Party
Like I said, we’re looking ahead to the year 2020 and beyond (how crazy is it we’re about to live in the twenties), for the party, we’re looking back to the other twenties—the roaring ones. And for full-pass attendees, we’re really going all out! It’s going to be a cool speakeasy-style party at San Francisco’s historic City Hall. And taking into account last year’s feedback, we’ve made some improvements we think you’ll like:
- Open bar (with alcoholic and non-alcoholic choices)
- Inside (where it’s not so chilly)
- Appetizers and desserts a-plenty
- Did I mention the open bar?
We also have some cool roaring twenties theme elements like period costumes, prohibition cocktails, and the superbly-named jazz band Hella Fitzgerald.
Didn’t Like #4: Content for Non-CSMs and Other Personas
If you’re not a CSM, you still belong at Pulse. But last year, we didn’t do a good enough job specializing content to different roles and situations. This year, we’ve added additional tracks to empower attendees from across all functions. I encourage you to check out the full agenda, but I want to highlight a few content tracks designed to make sure everyone gets full value from Pulse:
- Human-first leadership track: Leadership today requires more than a combination of business acumen and technical knowledge. Lost in this equation is the human element; the ability to inspire individuals to go beyond social norms and expectations and treat each other as they would want to be treated. In this track, you’ll learn how to practice the skills necessary to be an ethical change agent and motivational leader for your company.
- Product experience track: It’s a business imperative to deliver intuitive, delightful, and impactful products in today’s customer-centric world. This track will spotlight product leaders who’ve developed user-centric products using thoughtful strategy, customer insights, and product analytics that have led to scalable growth.
- Enterprise track: Delivering customer success in an enterprise company is easier said than done. True customer success requires the efforts of not one department, but an entire company. In this track, you’ll learn strategies you can use to organize and implement customer success as a company-wide imperative.
We’ve also broken down each session by content level—beginner, intermediate, and advanced. In the spirit of Shoshin, you should consider attending sessions outside of your wheelhouse, but hopefully this gives you a sense of where you might find the most value.
Didn’t Like #5: Not Enough Content for Gainsight Customers and Admins
Pulse has never been a “user conference.” We’ve traditionally kept a relatively low profile for Gainsight and kept the focus on universal best practices and growing the customer success movement. But we’ve heard feedback from customers and admins and even from people who are just interested in what Gainsight and Gainsight customers are working on that we need more Gainsight-specific content. So this year at pulse we have three tracks that make that a reality:
- Customer showcase: Gainsight customers share their stories around planning, executing, and realizing value through customer success and product experience.
- Dedicated customer admin summit: Customer success operations takes the stage to share how they drive meaningful results for customers and businesses alike. Excited to see how the most knowledgeable Gainsight users are innovating with our product!
- Gainsight Elements workshop: Last year we introduced the Elements of Customer Success and they were a huge hit! The Elements are prescriptive CS processes based on hundreds of implementations and decades of experience. We’ve been refining them all year, and in these hands-on workshops, we’ll show you how to leverage them at your company.
Didn’t Like #6: Plastic!
Like a lot of you, I’m deeply concerned about the world we’re handing on to our children. With the 20/20 theme, I’ve been thinking so much about the future of our industry, and I can’t express just how excited and optimistic I am. I so badly want to have that same feeling about the future of our planet and our climate, but I know I’m a lot more anxious and scared right now. Last year we didn’t do good enough with our sustainability efforts. That was one of the biggest reasons we chose Moscone for this year. Moscone is very committed to environmental responsibility—please take a look at their policy and commitments here.
Didn’t Like #7: Too Much Time on Movement / Connection (for Some)
With this last criticism, I want to strike a balance between learning and improving and challenging you (if you felt this way) to see the other side of the coin. The crux of the feedback was that we spent too much time on motivational topics or on validating people—time that could have been spent on the nitty-gritty of how to do stuff better. And as I wrote last year, I’m conflicted, because I: A.) think there’s a lot of value in forming deeper connections with the community, and B.) recognize that there’s a broader range of experience levels and personalities than ever before as Pulse continues to grow. So in the spirit of Shoshin (one of our values, which means Beginners’ Mind), we’re taking a new approach and dialing up the “hard” content this year. But I hope you’ll do the same (if you resonated with this “Didn’t Like”) and give community a chance!
So that’s that! I’m beyond fired up for Pulse and I hope I’ve addressed your concerns if you’re on the fence about coming this year. Like I said, my personal discount code expires at the end of the month, so I hope you’ll make your decision before then. It’s PU-NICK300 and it gets you $300 off when you register.