Live from #BoloCon – Day 1: Cheat Sheet


From 8:00 AM to 8:00 PM, this Bolo Conference packs it in like a sonoran hot dog and leaves little in the way for an exhaustive blog. However, it was such a fantastic day, packed with whatever hot dogs are packed in, I’d be remiss not to highlight the festivities. Think of this rundown as if it were being read by the Micro Machines man


This is the first conference where they served breakfast burritos. And in no way do I have a problem with that. Gareth (my favorite British name) Kay kicked off with the sobering stat that only 5% of Americans think that brands make a positive contribution to their lives. Uh oh. So he’s on a relentless pursuit to make stuff better. He advises to start small and make things better incrementally. Like 1% better. In marketing, it’s ok to be a 1 percenter. Second speaker, Dr. Bob Deutsch, with a quote he glossed over quickly but stuck with me: “The more reasons people say they like a product, the more it’s not a brand.” He says we should find a way to enter someone’s narrative instead of interrupting it. James Nord turned a Tumblr blog into a full-time job and his own business. His take: Influencer marketing, so hot right now. The juxtaposition of James Nord and his presentation talking about Vogue to Nathan Safran‘s talking about graphs is what makes Bolo so great. Despite the mention of “empathy” in every presentation, Safran says that we still want cold, hard facts (which made me think of this tired segment) in our content when making a purchasing decision. Why? 3/4 of buyers are analytical, not creative. Then Matt Cronin was the only thing standing between me and lunch. But over my growling stomach, I heard that the single greatest influence on purchasing decisions IS…consumer opinions and recommendations online. This is why I don’t buy or eat Haribo gummy bears.


(Spotted: a Pied Piper shirt in the Bolo audience. Brilliant. I MUST HAVE ONE.)

Followed by Claire Friedman of Cards Against Humanity. Not sure what the lesson was. I think it was “Marketing is Death.” Either way, “Being Fucking Stupid” is a great presentation title. John Hall followed with “90% of data is crap” and “66% of people think he looks like Ryan Gosling”…this after mentioning his sample size was his daughter, wife and friend (his wife, the sole dissenter). He also dropped some math: “Trust + Top of Mind = Opportunity“. And then closed with a quote from the underrated marketer, John Quincey Adams. Rohit Bhargava can predict the future by empathizing with magazines. Essentially, be curious and read something outside your comfort zone. Loved this quote: “Collect ideas as momentary rewards for later redemption.” Erik Muendel went “yard” in this live demo. Christine Outram says we should “think like inventors.” Also “‘Fast, cheap, and awesome'”, the name of her presentation, is also a great name for a date (her joke, not mine). Greg Perlstein showed us how to market to millennials. And Jon Hodgman lookalike, Karl Sakas helped agencies deal with difficult clients like these. His advice: manage expectations. That sounds like a good note to go out on.

More from Day 2, tomorrow!  

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Pat Armitage

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