Head in the Cloud: SaaStr Annual 2019

Head in the Cloud: SaaStr Annual 2019

These days, on every corner in the Bay Area you can spot a software-as-a-service (SaaS) company—B2B organizations firing up products through the cloud that impact the way we work and engage with one another.

Last week, more than 12,500 founders, entrepreneurs, senior executives, and VCs from the SaaS community gathered in downtown San Jose for the fifth iteration of SaaStr Annual 2019—the premiere SaaS conference in the Bay Area drawing in attendees from around the world. This was the  first year the conference took place at the San Jose McEnery Convention Center and the outcome showed the event is growing more than ever.  

credTen: Top Ten Conferences in Health

credTen: Top Ten Conferences in Health

Health care conferences attract attendees and speakers ranging from practicing physicians and hospital system executives to healthtech startup founders and members of the investment community. With global health spending expected to reach $8.7 trillion by 2020, it’s critical for stakeholders within the health care ecosystem and converging industries to have opportunities to come together to discuss innovations, improving patient care, and public health challenges.

In this edition of our credTen series, we’re highlighting 10 events shaping the future of health care.

Anatomy of a Speaking Opp

 
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Here at cred, we pride ourselves on securing the best speaking opportunities to meet the goals of our clients. To accomplish this with success, we’ve built an extensive process to make sure these goals are clearly defined, set, and reached.

The Planning

It all begins with the client kickoff. This is where we start our on-boarding process by diving into the company and speaker(s) to understand where speaking fits into their overall communication strategy. We've created our own process that asks the right questions to help us become successful.

Once we have an idea of the speaker’s high-level topics, we develop our speaking platform, which serves as the roadmap for our work.

The Day-to-Day

The bulk of our day-to-day work consists of content curation. We create numerous topics and speaking angles aligning our speaker’s expertise and background with key themes relevant to their industry and target audience.

Additionally, event research and outreach are the bread of butter of our speaker management. We’ve built a database of more than 10,000 events (and counting!) from scratch broken down by industry, deadline, past client feedback, and more, as one of our key research tools. It also helps us stay on top of any key deadlines, which we easily track on a weekly basis. We target high-value events that align with a client’s program goals, from conferences to webinars to meetups. We’ll even do opposition research to track where competitors or key partners are speaking.

Lastly, we’re constantly connecting with organizers early to understand what types of speakers they’re seeking, and fostering those relationships so we ensure we’re adding value to their agenda.

Our work isn’t only limited to engaging with our speakers and event organizers. We understand speaking is just one component of a company’s marketing/PR strategy, and are accustomed to collaborating with PR firms and marketing teams to ensure we maximize the impact of an opportunity. For highly competitive events, such as Cannes Lions and SXSW, we’ll work directly with our clients to develop a more curated session.

The Impact

Communication and planning are key. All event updates are updated in real time in our shared events trackers, so clients can see progress and a full picture of speaking activity.

Once a speaking opportunity is secured, we manage all event logistics—from confirming the session date, time, and topic, to managing prep calls, deadlines, and on-site details. We ensure speakers feel prepared and know what to expect before hitting the stage.

When an event is complete, we take feedback into consideration so we can iterate on future speaking opportunities. This allows us to refine and optimize future activity to build an impactful program. We’ll also gather feedback from the event organizer to help understand the audience’s take on our speaker’s session and how to make the next presentation stronger for future events.

Successful thought leadership comes from not one, but multiple successful speaking arrangements to target audiences, and we are passionate in helping speakers get to them.

Interested in working with us to help expand your speaking program? Connect with us at speak@credpr.com!

 
 
(Infographic: Gina King)

(Infographic: Gina King)

 

Reflecting on Illuminate 2019: How to Empower the Modern Workplace

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Last week, I attended Illuminate, a one-day people conference on a mission to make the manager-employee relationship better. Hosted by people management platform Reflektive, the event was filled with tactical takeaways to improve myself as a manager and contribute to the growth of cred’s culture and people.

Featuring speakers from Allbirds, Airbnb, Omada Health, AppAnnie, Pinterest, and 23andMe, Illuminate shined light on the employee journey and its expansion to include a company’s work environment, mission, values, culture, and wellness.

Omada Health CPO Jo Dennis and CEO Sean Duffy weighed the pros and cons of anonymous feedback before concluding their business is better off without it, opting for a transparent culture of feedback. Transparent feedback limits confusion, has ownership, and provides context. While not easy for anyone, giving constructive feedback does gets better with practice.

In addition to sessions discussing diversity and inclusion and coaching culture at scale, Illuminate offered attendees a chance to win a pair of Allbirds following the event. While I didn’t win the Allbirds giveaway, I walked away with a deeper look into what it takes to be a better manager and overall a better team.

More thoughts from the stage:

  • Fairness is the foundation of feedback. Create an equal playing field by offering tools and resources that ensure everyone is speaking the same feedback language.

  • Peer-to-peer feedback is just as important as manager-to-employee feedback.

  • No one quits because they received too much praise from leadership. Top communication issues that prevent effective leadership include failure to recognize employee achievements, offer clear directions, and carve out time to meet with employees.

  • People development and culture is a work in progress. It can be rewarding, challenging, messy and constantly has to be worked on.

  • For more, here’s Reflektive’s official event recaps.

Interested in continuing your learning and fostering a culture of #nobadmanagers? Check out these four books that stood out and were recommended by speakers and other attendees. I’ve added them to my reading queue, what about you?

Gathering Around Modern Campfires at TEDxSoMa

 

There’s nothing like sitting around a campfire sharing stories and creating conversation—but is it possible to recreate this warm and whimsical experience in a tech-obsessed city like San Francisco on a Tuesday night? TEDxSoMa thought so.

On January 15, about 700 attendees braved rainy weather to gather in the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts to receive inspiration from six hand-selected speakers, each with an idea worth spreading. The TEDx event theme? Modern Campfires. The TEDxSoMa website creatively elaborated on this theme of choice sharing, “The campfire has been a place for people to come together - a place to tell stories, learn from each other, and gain a sense of belonging and community.

A handful of us from the cred team had the pleasure of volunteering at TEDxSoMa. We loved interacting with other San Franciscans passionate about attending a “modern campfire” to create community and connection.

Ideas Worth Spreading

After months of coaching and training, six speakers took the TEDx stage for a night of modern campfire conversation. Here’s a recap of TEDxSoMa’s 2019 speakers:

  1. Juliana Delgado, an award-winning Colombian writer, spoke about the language hierarchy in the United States and how it limits a group’s access to opportunities and social acceptance.

    • “...staying up late to practice pronouncing words so the kids at school wouldn't make fun of me. I hated myself for not fitting in, not realizing that there was a hierarchy much bigger than me at play here. I felt I was the one who was wrong.”

  2. Mazin Jamal, founder and director of Holistic Underground, spoke about masculinity in today's culture and how to redefine what it means to "be a man."

    • “When I was hopeless, I was useless to everyone, and I was making things worse. And that’s what happens, men feel useless and hopeless so they double down on the problem. And everyone pays the price-especially women and transgender people.”

  3. fnnch, an artist who believes art is for everyone, spoke about how street art is art for the masses. He shared the importance of looking for canvases everywhere, taking back public spaces, and investigating your town's local regulations around public art.

    • “Public space is our space...our way to communicate with each other. To express ourselves. To be heard. To listen. To inspire each other. To comfort each other....And you do not need to be a professional artist to join in….”

  4. Chief Sylvia Moir, a California native who serves as the Chief of Police in Tempe, Arizona, spoke about mindfulness.

    • “There was plenty of Resistance. To some it meant that by encouraging the practice of mindfulness, I was softening policing. The science and research suggested that building resilience to trauma and toxicity was hard work, and changing culture and climate is tough.“

  5. Dr. Yoni Alkan, a professional cuddler, sexual educator, and consultant, spoke about the power of platonic touch.

    • “Rejection feels so searing to us, that we try to avoid hearing ‘No’ at all costs and stop asking. Rejection is hard, but I’d much rather have an honest ‘NO’ than a ‘YES’ you don’t mean.

  6. Bishop William Swing, the former Bishop of San Francisco and current President and Founding Trustee of United Religions Initiative (URI), spoke about unity within community.

    • “I thought: ‘If the world has a United Nations, then most likely the world needs a United Religions. Someone should do something about that.  Why not me?’ The question captured my heart.”

Besides the original content coming straight from the lips of these six  speakers, the audience enjoyed an intermission filled with a meditation session and  dance performance from Vancouver dance troupe TWObigsteps Collective. The dance titled “Veils” was influenced by W.E.B. Dubois' theory of “double consciousness.”

Takeaways

The original and carefully crafted TED talks from these speakers did not fall on deaf ears. There was a full house and the audience was extremely excited to be there. One cred team volunteer even took a photo for a man in front of the stage who he said that being there was "a dream come true."

While the speakers and topics were diverse, TEDxSoMa 2019 had the resounding theme of mindfulness as the common thread–the consistent theme about reframing how we think about our everyday lives.

 

Staying on Top of It: 5 Helpful Tools to Stay Organized

 
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We all come from different professional backgrounds. We hold different positions, work in different industries, have different titles and responsibilities, but one thing is the same: we all strive to stay organized.

Staying organized is an art form many of us struggle with. To kickoff the New Year, getting organized is essential. There are hundreds of fantastic tools to help you meet your organizational needs. Not sure where to start? Here is a breakdown of our top five favorites.

1. MixMax: MixMax is here to make your email life easier. If you are like us here at cred, then you live in your inbox. This gmail extension has great features to enhance and customize your inbox, including setting reminders, scheduling emails, and creating templates. It helps us keep our constant client communications in order, so important tasks don’t slip through the cracks.

2. Quip: When your to-do list needs a makeover, try Quip. This list can be used as an app for your phone and/or desktop, and can also be used in your browser. You can collaborate with other colleagues by sharing lists or tagging them in tasks, and you can add trackers, calendars, and spreadsheets to keep you ahead of your long list of to-dos (if that is even possible). We use Quip for some of our personal to do lists and for our team meeting agendas.

3. Zoom: If you haven’t heard yet, we started an office down in Sacramento! A huge part of our everyday schedules is utilizing video-calling tools like Zoom to stay connected to our long-distance friends. We use Zoom during one-on-one, team, and company-wide meetings and even use it for having virtual coffee dates to better get to know each other outside of work.

4. Slack: Slack is a must-have in our office. Collaboration is a huge part of our values, and we are constantly working together and communicating within our office. Slack allows us to chat individually, or in groups. We also have different channels, or group chats, where we post updates depending on the topic of interest for that channel. We utilize this tool for many reasons, especially for asking quick questions to those in and out of the office, and for updating each other on industry or personal news.

5. Google Calendar: Don’t we all love Google applications? We take advantage of all things Google, but a personal favorite is Google Calendar. Calendars are meant to keep track of important dates, calls, meetings, events, etc., but that’s nothing new. The great thing about Google Calendar is being able to share co-worker’s calendars, so we are always on the same page. We are always moving and shaking, and having a calendar that we can sync with other coworkers is a must.

The best part about organizational tools is there are a bunch to try and see how they work for you. We’ve listed a few of our many favorites, now what are yours?

 

No Bull at No Fleece: Bullpen Capital Talks the State of VC

 

On Dec. 12, Bullpen Capital hosted a new kind of venture capital conference, inviting 100 GPs from the Bay Area to discuss some of the most pressing topics in VC today. The conference, dubbed No Fleece Allowed, aimed to get everyone out of the closed door, portfolio-pitching mindset and into a collaborative discussion about what works in VC and what doesn’t.

To allow for this free-flowing, unbridled chat, the conference was kept off the record–no press, no social media, and anonymized stories. Breaking the typical conference mold, the room was arranged in two concentric circles of chairs to keep everyone engaged in the discussion with no place to hide behind a laptop or step away for a call.

Without microphones and without a stage, speakers sat together in a circle to kick off each session before the floor was opened to continue the conversation. To encourage everyone to add to the dialogue and keep the conference fun, participants voted on the MVP (Most Valuable Participant) of the day. The winner had the honor of taking a picture next to the six-foot winners trophy.

No Fleece Allowed would not have be complete without hosting an ugly fleece competition. Participants were invited to bring their ugliest fleece to compete, and the winner went home with bragging rights and a prized trophy photo opportunity.

One of the many highlights of the day was the closing session with Bill Gurley of Benchmark. Following the format set by the previous sessions and speakers, he was an open-book and addressed crowd-sourced topics in what turned into a dynamic Q&A with eager attendees.

As the day wrapped up, the discussion moved into a networking and cocktail hour where attendees took in Commonwealth Club’s picturesque views of the Bay Bridge and SF Ferry Building.

 

2018: A Year in Review

 
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For cred, 2018 has been a year of winning. From January through December, we’ve achieved multiple milestones such as growing to a team of 20 people, opening an office in Sacramento, and ramping up our Events Management arm of the business. As we wrap up 2018, we’re excited to reflect on the year and highlight one win from each month.

January

We said hello to our new home at the brand new WeWork Montgomery Station in San Francisco’s Financial District. We love our new location, with easy access to BART and public transportation and endless lunch options.

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February

The blog launched the first post of our credTen series, which highlights the top 10 events across different industries. These lists have become the most popular posts on our blog and we look forward to building out more in the months to come. A few of our favorites include our credTen for events in marketing, blockchain, female entrepreneurship, and design.

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March

It was Pi Day (3.14) at cred and there was no shortage of pie at the office! Since the launch of our cred Culture Club, a group designed to plan events and sustain our strong company culture, we observe engaging holidays like Pi Day with a celebratory treat or activity in the office. To stay in the loop with our office culture (and office dogs), follow us on Instagram.

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April

We continued to partner with Hamilton Families, a San Francisco-based organization on a mission to end family homelessness. Having volunteered at their kid’s carnival and wrapped Christmas gifts in previous years, our team endearingly refers to the organization as “Ham Fam.”  Throughout 2018, cred volunteered with Hamilton Families by participating at Friday night bingo nights and donating Christmas stockings.

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May

cred turned 3! We took our birthday celebrations to Neyborly Union Square, a modern and chic art gallery here in San Francisco, and reflected on some of our major accomplishments, including confirming 1,800+ speaking opportunities for our clients, growing our team to 17, building a database of more than 7,500 events from scratch, and launching our first official internship program for summer 2018.

June

Our team had the pleasure of volunteering at Hustle Con, hosted at Oakland’s historic Paramount Theatre. Hustle Con is an annual event started in 2014 to answer the question: what does it mean to hustle? We’ve secured speaking opportunities at multiple events put on by The Hustle for our clients and love working with their team.


P.S. If you want to ramp up your speaking strategy, feel free to reach out to hello@credpr.com.

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July

Our fearless CEO Caitlin Bartley spoke on a panel of female founders at the She Leads breakfast hosted by WeWork. Caitlin shared insight on how she started cred and provided practical tips for female founders.

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August

We had our first cred Cupcake Wars in honor of Cupcake Day on August 19! Who knew there could be so many talented and competitive bakers (and cake lovers) on one team? With four judges and nine bakers, three winners were selected for best taste, best design, and best apron. We all enjoyed a week-long sugar rush due to endless homemade cupcakes, but agreed it was worth it.

Until next year, Cupcake Wars, until next year.

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September

September was a productive and memorable month for our Events Management team. We put on two events in one week— plus three events packed into one day shortly after! Check out Caitlin’s recap on one of these events here.

Going into 2018, one major focus was to grow the Event Management side of the company and we did just that! We worked with multiple clients to coordinate events, from one-day summits to multiple-day conferences. The team planned and managed a total of 19 events in 2018 alone.

Interested to learn more about how we can help you with your event? Email us at events@credpr.com.

October

We reached our largest team size to date with 20 employees strong. One reason for this growth was launching our brand new office in Sacramento! We’re thrilled to have expanded outside of the Bay Area in 2018.

November

We put on our first international event in cred history! Our Events Management team flew across the pond for RampUp London, which attracted more than 300 attendees at the prestigious Savoy Hotel, the sister property to Fairmont San Francisco where RampUp SF is hosted each year.


December

We took to Livermore Valley for cred’s Holiday Party. To commemorate our incredible growth and success this year, our team spent an afternoon at Rubino Estates Winery for wine tasting, lunch, bocce ball, and a Secret Santa gift exchange.

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Thanks for the memories, 2018! Looking forward to an epic 2019.