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Acquia Engage 2016: Day Two

Day two of Acquia Engage opened with a bang...or rather, a laugh. Best-selling author and Silicon Valley writer Dan Lyons took the stage to discuss his experience with tech start-ups. Lyons’ presentation was equal parts funny, myth-busting and foreboding as he pulled no punches talking about trends in the tech industry.

Dan Lyons

Nestle and govCMS

After Dan Lyons’ keynote, Nestlé’s Chief Digital Operations Officer Filippo Catalano took the stage to talk about digital transformation. Nestlé’s commitment to digital success is apparent; their Digital Services Unit is working with thousands of websites, hundreds of mobile apps, and thousands of social media properties and with hundreds of partners. What was most striking about Catalano’s presentation was how innovation and experimentation are a primary tenets in Nestlé’s culture.

Filippo Catalano

The morning’s general session theme of innovation continued with Australian Department of Finance Sharyn Clarkson’s presentation, GovCMS: Creating an Innovation Culture in Government. Clarkson, who traveled all the way from Australia, reviewed the challenges that the Australian government faced with their digital ecosystem. Just one of their cities had 350 different CMS, which translates to one for every 10,000 people living in the district. With virtually no budget, they realized they needed to get creative to solve the problem. Open source became the answer and govCMS was born.

“Going open source and cloud is a pretty big deal for government. When government makes a move, it mainstreams open source."

Clarkson also spoke about their process of iterating on everything and their goals for the future; Government as an API. Clarkson believes that through both open source and things like personalization, government can move closer to having a 1:1 relationship with every citizen.

Sharyn Clarkson

DigitasLBi and the “Big Ideas in Digital” Panel

The second general session of the day kicked off with DigitasLBi’s SVP of DLBi Studios George Hammer and SVP of Strategy & Analysis Christopher Blaydon taking the stage to talk about how brands and agencies think about content. George started off by encouraging brands to rely less on agencies for ideas; often, the best ideas come from internal sources. Filled with comic book and pop culture references (which I obviously appreciated!), Hammer challenged the audience to think about the following statement: What if content did more vs. making more content? Can we get away with creating less content if it’s more engaging? Blaydon followed Hammer with suggestions on how to better measure the impact of content.

George Hammer

Closing out day two’s general sessions was the Big Ideas in Digital panel, moderated by Acquia’s own Bryan House and featuring Holly Bounds, Digital Strategy Leader, GE Energy Management, Chris Desiano, Director of Digital Marketing, Pfizer, and Joel Meek, Vice President of Operations, reddit.

Each panelist spoke about the challenges their brands have faced with digital, like how Pfizer must always be cognizant of both FDA and regional regulations whenever they try new technology or launch on a new channel. The panelists also spoke of successes, like how reddit often becomes the default community for the hottest topics on the Internet like Pokemon Go.

Big Ideas in Digital

The panel ended with each presenter being asked what is their least favorite thing about technology (Bound: HD video, if you’re in front of the camera. Desiano: email because it’s never ending. Meek: wi-fi on the airplane because sometimes you need a break from the Internet). As for favorite technology, Desiano remarked that he really likes Sonos speakers and looks forward to more in home automation and Bounds looks forward to personalization helping to clear out some of the noise of the web.

All About Gin

What better way to end Acquia Engage 2016 than with a gin tasting! Naomi Levy, Founder of Beyond the Mixing Glass, walked the audience not through just the types of gin but also its ori-gins (last pun of the conference, I swear)!

Gin Tasting at Engage

Track Sessions

The second day of track sessions continued to highlight the incredible work that Acquia’s customers are driving. A panel of digital heroes, including Sharyn Clarkson from the Australian Department of Finance, Raul Jimenez of Nestle, and Jeremy Kutner from Warner Music Group, shared insights on how to be the champion of digital transformation in your organization. The Politics of Digital track featured another star-studded panel, with presenters from Trinity University, Pfizer, Flight Centre, PAC-12, and El Camino Hospital explaining how they adopted Drupal and Acquia for their business.

Acquia Engage Award Winners

Congrats to all of the winners of the Acquia Engage Awards that were announced yesterday! You can also view the full list here.


And that’s a wrap but mark your calendars for Acquia Engage 2017! A big thank you to all our partners, sponsors, customers and attendees! We’ll be back at the InterContinental October 16-18 next year!

Oct 16-18 | InterContinental Hotel | Boston, MA

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