West McDonald here, super energized after getting back from the 2023 Executive Connection Summit (ECS). This is arguably the best event of the year for those in the office equipment channel looking to expand their expertise and offerings beyond the printed page. If you didn’t make it to this one, you missed out! Mike Stramaglio and his team definitely knocked it out of the park.
Here are my Top 5 takeaways from an exceptional educational and networking event:
AI is Going Mainstream
Those who know me well know my thoughts on AI going mainstream in 2023: It’s going to revolutionize how we access, manage, and create content. Tami Beach, Head of MPS Channel Sales at HP, who is also an educator, shared how she is embracing tools like ChatGPT to assist in how she educates. Of course, the most anticipated session on AI was given by Brian Evergreen, Global Head of Autonomous AI Co-Innovation at Microsoft. Considering Microsoft just announced a third round of investment in AI startup OpenAI, this was a session that business leaders were hungry for. Brian gave a great look “under the hood” of how AI and automation work together to create workflows of the future.
And of course in a section on AI I can’t resist using a little. I plugged this paragraph into ChatGPT with the following prompt:
“Rewrite the paragraph in the voice of Robin Williams and add a relevant joke.”
“You know folks, when Tami Beach from HP and Brian Evergreen from Microsoft start talking about AI, you know it’s going mainstream! It’s like the ultimate game of chess, but with computers that can actually beat you! And let me tell ya, with those two leading the charge, it’s gonna be one wild ride!
But let’s not forget, with great power, comes great responsibility. Just imagine if we give AI the power to make coffee, it might just take over the world! And can you imagine the chaos if ChatGPT start grading papers instead of Tami Beach? Oh the humanity!”
Diversity Takes Center Stage
The workforce has a diversity problem, even in 2023, and ECS brought together a panel of female leaders to showcase ways we can all make it better. Jennie Fisher, SVP/General Manager Office Equipment Group at GreatAmerica Financial Services Corporation, led a fireside chat that included Stephanie Keating-Phillips, Director of Solutions at AIS, Melani Patterson, Associate VP of Sales Strategy at Sharp, Natalie Cumberbatch, VP of Human Resources at Kyocera, and Patricia Ames, Publisher at BPO Media. It was great to hear from these important leaders on their thoughts about why we have a diversity problem in the channel, and ways we can work together to make it a problem of the past.
Hear Me Now
One of the coolest innovations that took center stage at ECS was one that is near and dear to Mike Stramaglio, as he suffers from hearing loss. Hiro Ueda and Mike are looking to bring a technology to life that acts in similar ways to a Cochlear implant without the need for invasive and complicated surgery. I personally got to test the device and was blown away by how well it works. Hopefully we’ll see this come to market soon!
SHIFT thinking essentials
Tami Beach from HP wasn’t talking printers, but rather data and SHIFT thinking. She highlighted the importance of using the rich data sets we are all a part of to help make better decisions about how we serve our customers. She did an excellent job of illustrating that by shifting our thinking away from the device and more on the needs of the users, we all stand a much better chance of prospering in an economic and technological landscape that is changing at breakneck speed.
MPS Top 100 out in force
How could a gathering of 22 members of the Tigerpaw Top 100 not make the Top 5 of ECS? T100 members were out in force at ECS, which isn’t really a surprise as part of the rating criteria to be named in the group is how many industry events members speak at and attend. It was great to have the opportunity to get a photo with the T100 members, including the man himself, Mike Stramaglio!
Of course, an event like this warrants a lot more than a Top 5 list! Were you there? What were some of your favorite sessions? What things do you think deserve to be on this list and why?
If you would like to experience a bit of the event for yourself, check out this video I put together which was presented at the end of day 3. Enjoy!