Off the scale brilliance – psychokiller on the ukulele – and some other stories

And then the Business of Software Europe (#BoS2016) event was over.

So I went out into the Dublin night and came across an orchestra of Ukulele players jammed into the tiny upstairs room of a bar, singing unbelievable harmonies while furiously strumming on their little guitars. Off the scale brilliance.

And that’s what I think about BoS…

Off the scale brilliance.

It’s the most extraordinary, intimate gathering of some of the brightest people on the planet. The intensity of the stories that were told at this event is amazing. Stories that make you reconsider how you do things, why you do things. Personal stories about creating and running amazing businesses that were emotional, insightful, honest and full of wisdom.

We heard stories from the man who invented the Retweet button, (because Twitter didn’t realise how important that would be). He now uses data from the biggest social media platforms on the planet, and we heard how Joan Collins had a hissy fit with him because of it. Darling.


Rand Fishkin Business of Software Europe

We heard stories of how businesses can get too personal, how they can lead to depression. There is so little talked about this because apparently it’s a sign of weakness. Only the most exceptional human could talk about it on stage. And from him we learned how the Minimum Viable Product should be replaced by the Exceptional Viable Product.


Minimum Viable Product vs Exceptional Viable Product

We heard how retail giants are learning customer behaviours from heat-mapping their aisles, and how to spot trends in retail like thumbshopping. We heard the story of buying a $675k ransomed domain name (and how it blew the growth curve), and the story of the guy who turned down $100 million for his company. And another guy who just took a deal. You had to be there for that.


We heard a side story of a sales guru who got picked up from Dublin airport by one of his podcast listeners (he requests this wherever he goes). The driver was procrastinating about selling. For the return journey, he suggested a pick up time two hours early (unbeknownst to the driver) so they would go out and start selling together if they driver hadn’t got his act together by then. He had actually come to tell us the story of how to follow up 48 times until you get the sale. Never. Give. Up.

We heard the story of an email conversation with a factory in China intercepted by a fraudster, who created an email address so close to the original that he didn’t realise. His second payment disappeared into Nigeria. But he turned it around and it was a happy ending. Whiskey all round.


Rory Sutherland Value in the next fifty years

We heard how we are deceived all the time in the psychology of selling, but solving problems psychologically is perceived as cheating. So we are quietly deceived into buying wine in restaurants when we might prefer a gin and tonic. And how EuroStar could save big money on buying new faster trains by deceiving us to think its journey times are shorter. He deceived us into giving him half an hour extra by being simply unstoppably fascinating.

We heard about how Artificial Intelligence is going to change everything. Just in the same way that the Apple watch has more power than a Cray2 ‘Supercomputer’ from the 1980s. And that we create more transistors every 0.1s than there are stars in the galaxy.

He came to tell us not to be afraid of AI. Be afraid of missing out on AI.


This event isn’t just about the Business or Software.

It’s not just about technology and programming. It’s about running a business in our era, and that would clearly include ‘software’. But it’s more like a storytelling festival for our modern interconnected world. Every speaker would be a headline speaker at another event. The order is carefully chosen. Their topic is carefully chosen. It’s a curated show like no other. And the people who have already discovered this amazing event, are brilliant to attend with, talk to, learn from. The event name misleads somewhat, it is more like the Stories of Business and, as one of the speakers so perfectly explained, “stories are sneaky little bastards.”

Thanks to all the amazing storytellers this year. @nik @evapascoe @clarkeching @rorysutherland @steli @guymucklow@allottstephen @randfish @bridgettoday @irltopper @azeem @davidpeto @irislapinski

Ukuleles… and the fabulous Ukulele Tuesday Club performing Talking Heads Psychokiller.

This is a guest blog post from Ian Clifford, second time BoS Europe attendee. Original here.

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