What started as a clever way of getting our Market Analysts and Product Managers in front of a crowd and sharpen their presentation skills, turned out to be one of the day’s biggest events in San Diego – gapCon 2011.
gap intelligence started two internal initiatives at the beginning of the year. The first was to encourage professional growth within the company, a program of sorts that would inspire our more senior staff to educate the younger members of the team. The topics that needed to be taught were many including methodology best practices, personal management tips, analytical training, public speaking, and presentation skills. Most companies would tackle this teaching challenge the old fashioned way – boring mandatory meetings that would do little but make people long to get back to their normal day-to-day job.
gap intelligence is not a normal company.
Instead of mandatory meetings, gap intelligence wanted to create a fun environment to share knowledge and learn from the experiences of each other and formed gap University, our own institution for higher education. gapU has bi-weekly meetings on a variety of topics, both work and non-work related, a Fraternity (gamma alpha pi), and our own Athletic Department.
The second initiative born from our January round table was to create a venue for our team to practice presentation giving. We have a stable of Market Analysts who have fresh material to present to our clients and a small army of Product Managers who develop specialized projects that few folks know of both internally and externally. Again, most companies would hold mandatory presentation meetings, where an analyst would give a market presentation to a crowd of three co-workers. That’s boring.
gap intelligence is not a boring company.
A committee was formed and the first order of business was to develop a grand “vision” for gapCon. We want to do more than give boring old presentations to a half empty room of disgruntled co-workers. We wanted gapCon to be a “real” conference.
Vision: “gapCon is a bad ass event that encourages professional growth through shared learning and opening our culture to the outside world.”
So with that in mind, we ventured forth with what promised to be a bad ass event. gapCon would have all the bells and whistles and fanfare of your standard conference:
We’ll have attendee badges and stickers that indicate affiliation to gapCon.
We’ll have pens & notepads.
We’ll have schwag (trucker hats).
We’ll have signs.
We’ll have booths & exhibits.
We’ll have a raffle (sponsored).
Outside of the material goods often spotted at conferences and trade shows, gapCon also needed speaking events to tie the day together.
First we asked some good friends at Hewlett-Packard to be part of our afternoon speaker panel. Hosted by gap University Professor Liana Hill, the three person panel shared their thoughts on the abundance of information in today’s society, how it has changed their jobs in the last five years, and how each envisioned the future use of social media to gather and distribute information. The speakers shared some fascinating insights with the crowd and many of their concepts will be embraced in future editions of our Data Center.
Have I mentioned that we have a new Data Center (version 3)?
Conference and trade shows always feature a keynote speaker and we asked our good friend, Kelly Abbott of 3Ones, to present at the inaugural gapCon. Kelly not only agreed to be our Keynote Speaker, but suggested that we use the event to launch 3Ones’ latest altruistic product – mygivingtweet.com
MyGivingTweet is a realtime social media cause marketing app that helps corporations gain exposure for their cause marketing efforts with a tool for setting up “friendraising” campaigns on Twitter and measuring the impact of these campaigns in realtime.
During Kelly’s keynote, gap intelligence christened mygivingtweet.com by being the first company to distribute a donation to San Diego Habitat for Humanity. Following our donation, gap intelligence employees will be part of a “build” on June 18th (stay tuned for more details).
Opening addresses are critical to launch a successful conference, as they set the mood of the day and give a “jolt” of adrenaline to the attendees. Typically, opening addresses are giving by celebrities or politicians and the gapCon committee decided to swing for the fences and ask our District 2 City Councilman, Kevin Faulconer, to open the show. To our amazement, after just a few emails and phone calls, the Great Councilman Faulconer agreed to be a part of gapCon. Inspired by gap intelligence’s unique culture and the launch of mygivingtweet.com, Councilman Faulconer spoke on the importance of small business in San Diego and how critical charitable giving is during these tough economic times.
Best Joke: “Gary, you have to realize that a group of eight people will draw the attention of a politician.”
Sarina Dahukey, Dean of gap University, presented Councilman Faulconer with a Honorary Degree from gap University and lifetime membership to the fraternity Gamma Alpha Pi, as a “Thank you” for his participation at gapCon. The good Councilman was thrilled:
While the HP panel, product launch, keynote, opening address, and three (3) television news crews filmed the event (stay tuned for video updates), the real stars of the show were our Market Analysts and Product Specialists who put together world class presentations on their work:
Deron Kershaw – Notebook Analyst
Deron Kershaw, our notebook computer analyst at gap, discussed emerging trends affecting the notebook market including the shift to color, the adoption of new processors (both Intel’s Sandy Bridge and AMD’s Fusion chips), and how netbooks are adapting to survive intensifying competition from tablets. The laptop market is changing rapidly and Deron will highlight how manufacturers and retailers are responding to consumers’ demands.
Jake Fishman – Senior Analyst
The office printing space is undergoing numerous changes as page volumes fall, job runs shorten, and Managed Print Services force manufacturers and resellers to reevaluate what products and pricing practices are appropriate for specific usage environments. Jake Fishman, gap’s MFP-Copier analyst, highlighted how manufacturers are adjusting their products, pricing, and market strategies to adapt to these changes and how they have been received by both dealers and end users.
Gurpreet Kaur – Tablet Analyst
eBook reading and portable computing industry is changing rapidly. The 2 giant A’s, Amazon and Apple have changed the way people perceive eReading and mobile computing, respectively. The retail landscape is changing rapidly with consolidation in the eReader industry, while the Tablet category continues to expand almost exponentially. Tablet analyst, Gurpreet Kaur, presented an overview of the eReader and Tablet industries beginning 2008 and how the market scene is changing rapidly.
Keenan Thomson – Desktop Computing Analyst
Keenan Thomson, the desktop computer analyst at gap, discussed the evolution of desktops computers from simple tower systems into a multitude of form factors such as nettops (internet desktops), all-in-ones, and most recently touch/reclining AIOs. Furthermore, Keenan highlighted how the value and superior computing power of desktops continues to make them one of the largest revenue drivers in the industry.
Scott Peterson – Imaging Analyst
gap’s camera analyst Scott Peterson shared how the emergence of a new camera format, mirrorless SLD/CSC, has shaken up the industry. In a market place traditionally divided into two segments, these new cameras offer a unique third option over bulky and intimidating DSLRs and performance-lacking point and shoot cameras by offering consumers the best of both worlds. During his presentation, Scott explained the specific benefits of the format and what types of features can be found within these new industry-changing cameras. The presentation will outline the growth that the mirrorless segment has experienced since its creation and which manufacturers have identified the space as a viable segment to compete in.
Erin Vogelsanger – Product Manager
gap intelligence has a broad scope that has the ability to reach any product, any country, and any reseller. gap intelligence also has the exciting ability to execute customized projects. Erin Vogelsanger, a Product Analyst at gap, demonstrated how gap’s channel monitoring service allows us to use our broad scope to monitor product assortments, price fluctuations and promotions through a specific case study.
Katie Hess – TCO Senior Product Manager
The gap intelligence TCO solution is an intuitive, graphical user experience designed to allow simple and easy analysis of the Total Cost of Ownership of printer and MFP devices. The methodology behind gapTCO represents a true TCO calculation and is designed to mimic real world environments using up-to-date and current pricing and product information. Katie Hess, gap’s resident TCO expert, showcased the effectiveness and ease of use of gap’s TCO tool through a demonstration of both the Pro and Enterprise versions.
Ricardo Amador – PULSE Product Specialist
Ricardo Amador was eager to showcase the speed, capability and scalability of gap’s PULSE web-crawler. In a booth format, attendees will be presented information about what the PULSE crawler is, a glimpse into how PULSE gathers data, an overview of the multitude of data points, websites, and information that is crawled weekly, and some of the plans for the future of PULSE.
Taryn Popplewell – DCv3 Product Specialist
Taryn Popplewell is the heart and soul behind gap’s brand new Data Center version 3 (DCv3) web application. At the DCV3 booth, Taryn provided a walkthrough of the new Data Center’s client-side functionality and features, and a preview of what’s in store for future versions of the gap Data Center.
Conceived as a fun forum for practicing presentations, gapCon blossomed into something bigger than we ever dreamed. Beyond the pens, notepads, product launches, and new cameras, gapCon became a window for the outside world to see our very unique culture. Companies preach culture – work hard / play hard, “team work”, “family”, but beyond the florescent lights and occasional company BBQ, most slogans are just that – words.
gap intelligence lives it. We put our heart on our talk.
Check out our “Who we are” page:
“gap intelligence is a values-led corporation. We strive to deliver the highest quality of research and service to our clients, expand opportunities and professional growth for our team members, and operate a company that recognizes the central role that business plays in our community.
We are driven to contribute to something bigger than ourselves and trust that our hard work will turn into something great and that we’ll have fun along the way.”
Work hard (market presentations), contribute to something bigger than ourselves (Habitat for Humanity), and having fun along the way (gapCon) were all on display this May 6, 2011.
See you @gapCon2012
Many thanks to:
San Diego Councilman Kevin Faulconer @kevin_faulconer
Thom (@thomathp), Shamil (@smhargy), & Liz of HP (@lizatHP)
Solare – (@solaresandiego) Raffle Sponsor
Sail Ho Golf Course – Raffle Sponsor
Robert Cowen CPA
Russel Davis Esq
gap intelligence Analysts & Product Specialists
The gapCon Committee
The Fun Bunch
The letter g