Time flies during a summer in San Diego.  There are so many beaches to visit, so many outdoor events and activities to attend in San Diego that blogs often get overlooked…..or working in general is overlooked.  San Diegans are in such a hurry to get back to the beach that we had an 18 second 4th of July fireworks show:

On June 8, 2012, gap intelligence held its second annual gapCon, an event for shared education and learning.  Simply put, gap intelligence is a forum for our analysts and team members to practice giving public presentations and also serves as a celebration of our unique spirit and culture.

gapCon Stuff

gapCon was originally crafted to be an event for our analysts’ to get practice at giving public presentations before we throw them in front of our clients.  Instead of having our analysts present to a class filled with imprisoned co-workers, we give them a warm environment to practice in and try to make gapCon as close to a “real” conference as possible.  We have name lanyards, posters, conference schwag, opening speakers, keynotes, and panelists.  We have fun. We share. We Learn. We educate.

gapCon 2012 was attended by roughly 75 friends and family of gap (FoG) intelligence and included six market presentations, three technology presentations, an opening speaker, client panel, and a very special keynote speaker.

gapCon Lineup

The opening address was given by Dr. Ruben Garcia, the Director of the San Diego Branch of the US Small Business Administration.  Dr. Garcia spoke of his own upbringing in Southern California and how the funds currently available from today’s SBA could have helped his father’s gas station.  Dr. Garcia’s father owned a gas station near Los Angeles in the 1960’s and considered adding a grocery store to his station.  Largely because he couldn’t afford to do so, Dr. Garcia’s father passed on his idea and missed his chance to invent the modern day convenience store.

Our keynote speaker was the coup of the century.  After many, many months of online begging by yours truly, Vyomesh Joshi, HP’s Executive Vice President of its $29 billion Imaging & Printing Group, agreed to speak at gapCon.  For those of you who may be unfamiliar with Vyomesh Joshi, his career is without question, the most influential of the printing industry.  VJ’s appearance at gapCon was a career highlight for me as I consider his work to be as influential as Steve Jobs’.

My blog when I told HP to make VJ the CEO (here).
My blog when VJ retired (here).


Dr. Ruben Garcia & Vyomesh Joshi receiving honorary degrees from gapUniversity Dean Dahukey.

Given no agenda or talking points, VJ showed why he was the heart and soul of HP’s Imaging & Printing Group that held a virtual monopoly on the printing industry for three decades.  VJ, Steve Jobs, and Herb Kelleher have many differences in style and approach but all share the one critical ingredient that separates good leaders from the legendary ones: passion.

Two big take-aways from VJ’s talk (thanks to Katherine Fernelius of the Imaging Channel for taking detailed notes):

Vyomesh Joshi’s Five Factors for Success:

  • Understand the trends – “If it’s published, it’s not a trend; it’s already known.”
  • Have a solid business model – “You have to ask yourself, ‘How are we going to make money? What is our value proposition?’”
  • Partner – “It could be a technology partner, a distribution partner, a manufacturing partner. A partner can help you add value to your offering.”
  • Treat your people right – “Hire, train and retain the best people and them treat them right. … Your people are everything in business. … I don’t miss meetings, (and) I don’t miss the schedule; I miss the people. I really had a great time with the people I worked with.”
  • Be a good leader – “Your company should be first, your employees should come next, and then you – not the other way around.”

Following up on “Be a good leader”, VJ was asked to expand on the elements that make a great leader.  True to form, VJ gave an unexpected answer and one that gives perfect clarity on the topic.  Instead of focusing on leadership, VJ suggested that people should focus on “followership” and embrace the qualities that make people want to follow them.  VJ’s four “followership” qualities are extremely meaningful to me personally as I strive to be stronger in all four every day.

Vyomesh Joshi’s Keys to Strong “Followership”

  • Trust: Through everyday behavior, a leader constantly provides evidence that they can be trusted.
  • Stability: Great leaders remain calm in the face of panic and give a sense of confidence to those around them.
  • Compassion: A leader has unrelenting passion for people and shows empathy and compassion when those people are enduring hard times.
  • Hope: A leader has unwavering belief that their product / service will not only succeed, but will change lives.

VJ says ask yourself: “Why would anyone want to follow me?”

Analyst Line-up

Keenan Thomson – Consumer Inkjet


Keenan reviews the impact of wireless printing has had on the industry.

Liana Greetis – BRC Markets Analyst


Liana focuses on non-OEM consumables and their availability in third world economies.

Pizza Break!!!!


Katie Hess – Senior Product Manager


Katie shows off gapTCO and teases our upcoming gapMPS product launch.

Chris Barnes – VP of Research & Solutions


Chris talks about HP’s 900 pound gorilla.

The Tech Expo!!!

Scott Peterson – The Connected Camera


Scott gave an overview of how wireless technology is impacting the camera industry.

Michael Bastos – gapCrawler.com


Michael showed off our new and improved data collection software.

Karen Hartzman – gapCollections.com


Karen demoed our new gapApp technology that allows us to collect retail data from anywhere in the world!

Guest Technology Panel – Sony USA


Two members of Sony USA were kind enough to share their thoughts on retail, social media, and the future of electronics.

Deirdre Kennedy – Desktop Market Analyst

Deidre speaks to the growing popularity and reliance on All-in-One Desktops.

Gurpreet Kaur – Tablets Industry Analyst


Gurpreet highlights the efforts of companies not named Apple in the exploding tablet market.

Closing remarks:


I showed off our future software initiatives with a teaser trailer video, enjoy:

Many thanks to Rob Craghead and the Ten Stories team for putting this together.

gapCon 2012 was a massively successful day for gap intelligence.  We shared our smarts and culture with the outside world in a fun, warm environment and we were entertained by giants from our industry / city.

Based on the success of our first two gapCon events, we are considering opening gapCon 2013 attendance to all of our clients worldwide.  We’ll keep you posted when gapCon 2013 will happen and I can assure you of at least three things: 1) Admission will always be free, 2) No suits will be allowed, and 3) We’ll all have fun.

VJ gapCOn