Fuel Conference

I was intrigued by Carsonified’s latest conference FUEL when it was announced as it seemed to span personal and professional interests – looking at both the power of community and the power of cloud computing and how companies can use both to fuel their business.

FUEL took place last Friday and was one of the best, if not the best conference I’ve been to. The conference itself was relatively small which made chatting and “networking” easier and more pleasant – no milling about in vast areas with endless queues for coffee.

The event was held at the RIBA building which itself added a lovely ambience; a wonderful contrast of last century architecture with the latest in online thinking.

It was that thinking I went for and I wasn’t disappointed. I haven’t felt as energised and motivated by a group of speakers since the first @Media back in 2005.

Highlights of the day were:

Tara Hunt – I wasn’t really aware of Tara before the FUEL but wow. Great ideas and a brilliant rapidfire presentation style – 260 slides in fast succession. Tara’s book The Whuffie Factor looks like it’s going to be a great read when it’s released.

Alex Hunter – Alex is from Virgin America and showed how a big brand can use communities and creativity to generate huge buzz and awareness for a new company. I’m still stunned that in the 21st Century the US can be allowed to be so restrictive on foreign ownership of an airline.

Ted Hunt – a brilliant case study into how Innocent Drinks have used a multitude of social networks and communities to help in building the “Innocent Family”. Awe inspiring creativity and commitment to genuine dialogue with their customers. If there is just one company to use as a role model – it’s Innocent.

Honourable mentions go to:

Paul Boag – entertaining as always with some sound advice for building a great website.

Richard Moross – of Moo fame. Richard showed how Moo have built a brand and style for Moo.

And last but no means least:

Ryan Carson – opened the day with a great session on the new rules for business – how you should think about and approach your customers and great ways of engaging with them.

Lowlights? Only the thinly veiled Microsoft pitch from Howard/Baines. I know Ryan likes to keep the cost of Carsonified conferences down with sponsorship but there must be a better way to allow a sponsor to get their message across. But enough of the lowlights.

It was great to finally meet and chat to Ryan. I also managed to meet up with Paul Fabretti who I’ve chatted to over Twitter for a while now and the internets Drew McLellan who I’ve not had the chance to speak with before. I would have loved a chance to chat with Tara Hunt but sadly she was struggling with jetlag and so not around for much of the day.

I’m sure that FUEL will quickly become one of the must attend conferences. Congratulations to Ryan and team for arranging a great event, thanks to the speakers for for a wealth of ideas and passion and thanks to my fellow attendees for adding to the buzz of the day.