Cisco Live 2014 was a rollicking fun ride from start to finish this year. Lots of people to see and things to do. The social media aspect of Cisco has come full circle as well. No longer are social folks trying to borrow chairs at lunch tables or finding spots to camp out for keynotes. Social is integrated into everything now at all levels. And that’s because of the people. But I’m getting ahead of myself here.
Cisco Live seemed a bit spread out this year. But that’s not the fault of Cisco. It’s because Moscone wasn’t designed to handle an influx of people like this. Who has a 25,000 attendee convention? Cisco Live overwhelmed the place. You couldn’t walk on the streets without seeing CLUS badges. Mel’s Drive-In was packed every day. Moscone was built for a day when 10,000 people was a lot. Now it’s just too small. Sessions spread across three buildings. People loading for the keynote through the tunnels. Moscone needs an upgrade before CLUS comes back again.
That being said, the location of the Social Media Hub (upgraded to the Social Media Routed Bridge on Foursqure) and the Tweetup area were spot on this year. Right inside the doors at Moscone South. Easy to find. Great to hangout within. Easy access to keynote monitors. Except for the ever-present DJ, it was close to perfect. Seeing how the hub has grown really makes me proud. Social is starting to be a bigger part of everything. And that’s because of the people.
People make the event. Plain and simple. Cisco Live is like the biggest family reunion you’ll ever get to attend. Catching up with old friends. Meeting new ones. Staying out until the wee hours of the morning discussing routing design with four people you met two hours ago. Those are the kinds of memories you won’t forget any time soon.
This year was packed with greatness. People that wanted to get involved. People that helped make the event bigger than it’s ever been. The first introduction of the Cisco Champions at Cisco Live. The Tech Field Day roundtables. Even walking the show floor and bumping into friends working the booths. That shows me that the power of a single person on Twitter or on a blog is starting to have a huge impact on the perception of a brand.
One voice makes a difference. One person can influence a group and bring about change. Sometimes it’s small, like getting getting friends to meet up to got to lunch. Other times it’s the CLUS Scavenger Hunt, where dozens of people competed for prizes. Still bigger is the Sunday evening tweetup, where 150 social media rockstars showed how powerful our voices can be. It’s important to remember that people are watching the things you say. You can have an impact. When you realize that, you’ll know just how powerful you can truly be.
I was talking with Amy Lewis (@CommsNinja) during the Customer Appreciation Event about how far we’ve come since Tom’s Corner just a few years ago. In fact, we took a pic that someone remarked “made us look like proud parents”.
We are proud parents. But only because our kids, namely you, have shown everyone how to make it on their own in the crazy social media world. We’re a community now. This isn’t a club or a clique. This is about awesome people coming together to be a part of something greater. That’s what gestalt means. We’re greater than the sum of our parts. Cisco Live is our chance to shine. Sure, we have goofy jokes. We give each other bats and t-shrts and tiaras. But that’s because we want to show each and every one how important they are.
Every year we have more people at Cisco Live. We have more and more people joining the community. But we also have those that can’t make it back for one reason or another. They are always missed. But it does show everyone how the community keeps going every year. And that’s what makes me the most proud. That the community can and will endure.
Thanks to everyone that said “hello” during Cisco Live. Thanks also to Cisco and their great staff for making CLUS 2014 so amazing. We always appreciate everything you do for us. Next year in San Diego is shaping up to be epic again. Let’s make our voices heard once more!