SAPPHIRE Day 1 thoughts

Our first day with bloggers at SAPPHIRE was a big hit with everyone involved ending the day on a high note. Keep an eye on posts coming out of SAPPHIRE on del.icio.us and technorati, as well as my digital images on Flickr.

What Worked:

1) The bloggers earned respect quickly with our executives coming out of the one-on-one meetings we had scheduled saying “damn, these guys really know what they are talking about”. I sat in on a couple of the meetings and was surprised to see our executives quickly dropping their media training and engaging in real conversations with give and take. One in particular I would point out is the talk that Vinnie Mirchandani had with Pascal Brosset about pricing and licensing, I’m sure that Vinnie will post that shortly.

2) The bloggers collaborate rather than compete. I would have never thought about this had I not seen it in action but the bloggers on their own initiatives rescheduled their one-on-one meetings to double up rather than have exclusive time. This contrasts with traditional press people who demand exclusive access and jealously guard their Q&A, the bloggers conspire together about questions and have a rich dialog among themselves about what they are hearing.

3) The respect that the bloggers earned on the first day reverberated throughout the company, with some of our most senior executives saying that bringing bloggers to sapphire was the most innovative thing we have done at this event in years. You also have to read this hilarious account from Niel Robertson about meeting Henning Kagermann at the press reception last night.

Lessons Learned:

1) Don’t expect bloggers to show up and start pumping out posts right away, there is a process of distillation before writing and that is reflected in a low posting rate on day 1.

2) Leave time in the schedule for ad-hoc meetings. When the SAP executives saw the intellectual power and reach that the bloggers were bringing to the press room they started rescheduling their time to allow for time to meet with bloggers. Suddenly, executives who were “too busy” 2 weeks ago to schedule time yesterday and today are coming up to me and telling me they have had their assistants reschedule them and they now want to come by the bloggers corner.

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