PINK. The answer is still PINK.
PINK14 seem a long time ago now, and I have to confess that I am already secretly (although I guess it’s not a secret when I publish it in an article right?) planning my trip for PINK15.
There has already been a stream of blogs from people providing their thoughts on the conference:
- The IT Superhero – A recap of Pink 2014 – Ian Aitchison
- Pink14: was it worth it? – Aprill Allen
- Culture, value and astronauts, what more could you possibly want? – Rebecca Beach
- Strategy, IT value & buzzwords – is there an elephant in the room? – Earl Begley
- The future whispered to me at PINK14 – Rob England
- Something Pink – James Finister
- Another “Super” Pink14: A Recap of Last Week’s ITSM Conference – Jon Reynolds
So I guess I’m a little late to the ‘event review party’ (sheesh my legs are still tired from the theme park that was Vegas) but better late than never. So here goes my review.
My favourite sessions
The calibre of the sessions varied depending on the topic and the speaker, but two sessions in particular stood out for me:
- Slow IT: Meet in the Middle (MITM) – Rob England
- How to Create & Manage a Successful Service Catalog – Jack Probst
What I loved most about these two sessions was the audience. No offence to either presenter but there were times when I wasn’t giving them 100% of my attention, because I was too busy watching and listening to the delegates in the room.
Rob discussed the need to slow down the pace of business demands on IT to focus better on what matters, and to reduce the risk to what already exists (you can view Rob’s presentation as part of TFT here). His session was laden with common sense, and his message clearly resonated with the audience.
There were lots of nodding heads and signs of agreements. There were ‘oohs and ahh’s’ every 5 minutes (to the point that if any one entered the session late they probably wondered what the heck was going on). There were cries from the audience of ‘how?’ and ‘yes!’ It was very entertaining and enlightening to watch, and I think it’s fair to say that Rob had a few new groupies by the time his presentation was over.
Then there was Jack’s session on service catalog (let’s not have the argument about the spelling). And before I attended the conference a few people had recommended to me “if you only see one session make sure it’s one of Jack’s”, and I’m pleased to say that this will probably be the same advice I give to any new timers next year.
Jack is a very enthusiastic and passionate presenter. I confess that when I entered the room I thought I understood service catalog and when I left I wasn’t so convinced (it was a tad high level for little ol’ me), but nevertheless I thoroughly enjoyed it. There was question after question literally every five minutes from the audience (ok so maybe it wasn’t just me who found it high level) and once again the audience was very engaged. By the way if anyone saw my tweet about ITSM Review and service catalog, it was from this session.
— Sophie Danby (@SophieDanby) February 18, 2014
What I loved most about this particular presentation though was not the actual session or topic, it was what happened after. I wanted to introduce myself to Jack given that the previous week he had written an article for us, and I had to wait a considerable amount of time to be able to do so. There was a very long line of people with questions. All too often I see similar scenarios at events, and all too often I see very short responses given as answers, or occasionally no answers at all, but not with Jack. He gave clear answers and took contact details to provide even further information after the conference.
It’s interesting because many people raised the question of whether the PINK conference provided enough value to warrant the hefty conference price tag. My thoughts? If all the delegates did was attend these two sessions, then I would say they certainly got their money’s worth.
All the other sessions
A lot of people raised the suggestion that next year there should be less tracks and that presentations should be shorter, which I think is a fair comment. There were many occasions when it felt a bit like Sophie’s Choice deciding which presentation to go to, not least when I had to make a decision between James Finister and Karen Ferris. James won solely on the fact that it was less distance for me to walk (the Bellagio is HUGE and I only have little legs … although not as little as Gobby Midget).
The keynotes on day one were incredible, and I think that PINK has quite a challenge on its hands finding anyone to match them next year. The keynotes on day two were sadly not as impressive, and along with many women I found the session by Josh Klein particularly poor. It was stereotypical and offensive. I appreciate that all of said stereotypical/offensive comments that he made were meant in good humour, but this is 2014 and jokes about women knowing nothing about tech and only being interested in shoes are not acceptable. There again I’d question whether there was ever actually a time when they were acceptable (although I wasn’t alive in the 1970s).
Anyway, enough of my thoughts for a second, let’s hear from a practitioner:
Currently our main aim at South African Reserve Bank is to be more service focused as well as looking at managing change and so my aim coming to PINK14 was to go to these types of sessions.
I was especially looking forward to Expanding ITSM Beyond IT: Providing Real Value to the Business by Joshua Smith – IT Service Management Team Lead at Mohawk Industries and I think I have taken away some useful points from the session.
We are currently moving to a new Service Desk tool provider and so I am looking forward to visiting the stand and getting to know the people there.
My favourite keynote has definitely been Caroline Casey, she was fantastic and very inspirational [unlike the keynote of Joshua Klein which I walked out of].
On the whole I would say that I have not had the “WOW that’s amazing I will definitely take this back with me” moment I was hoping for but I still think that the conference has been worthwhile.
The theme was superheroes and I was suitably impressed with how PINK managed to ensure that the theme was present throughout the conference. The dressing up as superheroes and dancing through the ballroom wasn’t really my cup of tea, but that was simply a mismatch between American and British humour. It certainly drew plenty of laughs from the audience.
I won’t mention too much about the awards as you’ll be able to read articles from the winners here at ITSM Review over the coming weeks. However, what I will say is that at itSMF UK many of us complained that the award ceremony was too long and ‘went on a bit’, and yet at PINK we were complaining that the awards were a bit of a letdown (in terms of presentation not the actual winners) and too short. Safe to say that we (the ITSM critics) always have something to moan about and we’ll probably never be happy.
Finally, before I leave you with some photos of the exhibitors along with their views on the conference, there is one piece of feedback that I personally want to give to PINK for the 2015 conference. What I have to say is this:
Seriously, the man is an absolute breath of fresh air and there was a never a dull moment when he was on stage. Pretty please work even more George Spalding into the agenda for 2015.
I really shouldn’t miss out the vendors, given that without them PINK wouldn’t be able to run their conference. I personally felt that there was a nice atmosphere in the exhibition hall at this particular event. I’m not sure whether it was layout, the attendees or the fact that the vendors just generally seemed to be a lot more laid back and friendlier than I’ve seen them at other events – whatever the reason it was nice.
I particularly enjoyed assessing each vendors marketing efforts. From “spot me in a t-shirt” competitions to barbeque giveaways (yes you did read that correctly) there was certainly something for everyone. Anyone who knows me will know I get annoyed by vendors on booths very easily, but bar one minor incident that involved a finger (don’t ask) I never had a reason to complain!
Although talking of annoying, seriously, it’s time to stop tweeting about your PINK booth now people!
Before I finish up, here are some photos of a few* exhibitors looking all ‘dapper’ on their booths:
*Please note that no favouritism was involved in selecting which exhibitors to display here. I simply used all of the the professionals photographs provided to us by PINK.
The final finally
I just want to take this opportunity to thank Pink Elephant on behalf of everyone at ITSM Review for having us involved as media partner this year. We thoroughly enjoyed the conference and all of the amazing networking opportunities that the event presented us with.
So who else is going to PINK15?