At the Atlassian Summit 2015 in San Francisco, an entire //SEIBERT/MEDIA team presented our social intranet solution Linchpin (based on Atlassian Confluence) and made all sorts of contacts in the process. To turn these leads into project partners, our Linchpin and Atlassian consultant Eric Klein embarked on an exhausting but successful two-week tour through the U.S. last December. Here is his report.
Workshops and price shock in New York City
On December 5th, I landed at JFK airport around 8:30 PM. In the days ahead, I’ll meet with various customers and attend the first intranet dinner. I am busy with preparations and organizational matters.
A prospect I am visiting at a workshop in the upcoming days has his registered office right near the UN headquarters – quite impressive! At the workshop, we’ll work intensively on conceptual topics, and I am optimistic this meeting will turn into another business relationship.
The customer's reply:
Hi Eric, thanks again for brainstorming with us today. I learned a lot and think a project is definitely viable. Have a good trip home and talk to you soon!
Trip home? I still have a bit more ahead of me!
But the extremely high costs here left me speechless. Guess what you have to pay for the scrambled eggs, bowl of oatmeal, coffee and glass of juice in the photo on the lower left?
Also, the ride to the top of the Empire State Building costs a tidy sum. The selfie on the lower right cost $50. Insane! But hey, it's New York.
Meeting with customers in Liverpool
On December 7th, I made a trip to Liverpool, NY. Big name, small place (very picturesque and country) but that has its price. At the airport, you have to stand around because there are no taxis or Ubers (unless you reserved one in advance). A defective power adapter and only 20 percent battery on my phone only add to the stress.
The meeting with the customer we met at the summit went rather well. Unfortunately, there was no time for photos or sightseeing in this little salt-mining town. This Wikipedia picture gives a nice impression of what it looks like:
The first Intranet Dinner in New York City.
That same day, I returned to NYC for our first intranet dinner that evening. Our goal was to invite business people interested in the intranet complex out to dinner, drinks and conversation about intranets. In this setting, we presented current intranet trends, showed examples and best practices from real Linchpin projects and asked them about their individual requirements.
The intranet dinner with nearly 20 people was cool and was a great opportunity to meet people and network. We turned a few contracts into prospects. Among them, a large railway carrier based in Washington. We want to schedule a presentation as part of my U.S. tour. Let’s see if it works out!
Conference "Strategic Employee Engagement & Internal Brand Activation"
Since I was already there, I attended a two-day conference entitled "Strategic Employee Engagement & Internal Brand Activation" which //SEIBERT/MEDIA co-sponsored. The speakers were visible, but the schedule was terribly crowded and offered little time for networking. Also, our intranets really did not fit in terms of content. If we sponsor any events, we should make sure our solutions align with the topic. Kind of a shame.
Second intranet dinner in St. Louis
On December 12th, I said goodbye to New York and headed south to St. Louis. In the interim, I worked hard (assisted by colleagues in Germany) to arrange a meeting with the railway carrier in Washington. Coordination and organization were not exactly coming together.
I got a little nervous when my company credit card stopped working suddenly. Panicked phone calls with bank agents back home clear the matter up. Relief!
During the day, I met with colleagues from cPrime and Clearvision in St. Louis. Like us, they work in the Atlassian ecosystem and think Linchpin is cool. Then it was on to Schlafly Tap Room, the venue for the second intranet dinner. But no one there knew about our event. Oh man!
Luckily, it’s Monday, and we found enough time for a nice stroll with around a dozen participants. I generated two or three rather interesting leads.
Workshop in Kansas City
The last stage of the tour now was Kansas City, MO, where I made a pitch on December 15th. Did I say last stage? Hit the reset button because suddenly there was another reply from the control center. The meeting in Washington was on! Once more, my colleagues Inga, Steffi, and Emily in Wiesbaden pulled out all the stops to rebook my flights and find me a hotel.
In Kansas, I met up with some good friends and had a chance to unwind. But of course I was there to do business and I gave a Linchpin admin and user workshop for a customer.
Last stop: Washington
The real last stage of the trip was the U.S. capital where I landed on December 12th. The presentation with the railway company was great, and I am certain it will lead to a follow-up project. That's how things should go!
From here, I finally made my way home. I was pleased to be home before Christmas after such a jam-packed schedule.
A couple impressions so far of our //SEIBERT/MEDIA U.S. tour. We are happy there is so much interest in a comprehensive Atlassian-based social intranet solution in the States and that our partners and market confirmed our product strategy. To make a long story short:
No matter where you are in North America, we can visit you and even treat you to dinner!
Auf Deutsch lesen.
Social Intranet with Linchpin: Trailer video in 150 seconds
Differentiating between Confluence and Linchpin: Why you need Linchpin for your intranet
Social Intranet With LINCHPIN: Highlights & Features