Pivot 2012 is fast approaching. So fast, in fact, that there’s less than a week left to register for the premier conference for those working at the intersection of Social and commerce. It’s going to be a hotbed of innovative ideas and prescient glimpses of the future. It’s also a great opportunity to rub elbows with all those decision makers and visionaries that you read about in Fast Company. That’s why we jumped at the chance to sit down with Pivot President Mike Edelhart to talk about the conference, the future of Social, and the changing face of business.
Let’s pretend that our readers haven’t heard of Pivot. What would you tell someone who’s new to the conference?
Pivot is a unique two-day conference focused on the challenges big brands and agencies face in a world transformed by Social consumers. The change in human behavior engendered by the emergence of Social has impacted audience and buyer behaviors, and it’s changed the way companies must interact with employees. Brands and agencies have to seek new approaches for this new era. Pivot brings brands together with peers, experts from science and academia, and entertainers and celebrities in an intense two-day, face-to-face community. There’s nothing else like Pivot.
Where did the original idea for Pivot come from?
We created Pivot three years ago because we saw the tectonic impact of Social in the market and knew there would be great anxiety as a result. Our team was part of the founding team at Ziff-Davis back during the PC revolution and we really couldn’t ignore the similarities. We knew we could create a company that could and would help both vendors and customers build the new market in Social.
“Social Business” is a term that gets kicked around a lot these days. What does “Social Business” mean to the minds behind Pivot?
A Social Business is essentially one that recognizes the holistic impact Social can and does have on commerce. Social began in marketing and was focused on outbound conversation with customers and prospects. But now that Social has matured, many businesses have come to recognize that the same connections and resulting data that impact marketing have potentially even deeper impacts on customer service, product development, employee communication and motivation. In some cases, it even impacts basic business management. Companies that have made this recognition have moved to the next phase of Social and are Social Businesses. That’s why the theme at Pivot 2012 is “From Social Brands to Social Business.”
As I was reading through Pivot’s site, I was struck by the line, “purely Social strategies will increasingly prove fruitless.” Why?
As Pivot host Brian Solis says, “Social isn’t a thing.” In other words, Social doesn’t stand alone. Rather, it alters the context for everything. Instead of choosing between an online store or a physical store. A true solution most often will involve both. It isn’t Social marketing or traditional marketing. It is simply marketing, which has been transformed by Social.
So who’s the audience here? Who will get the most out of attending Pivot?
Pivot isn’t for everyone. It’s for senior execs from brands and agencies that stand at, or that want to stand at, the forefront of Social change in business.
What do you hope that your audience will gain from attending?
We expect Pivot’s audience to leave with their heads well-shaken, full of new ideas, new options, and new connections that they can use to keep their organizations at the forefront of innovation for the next year.
What is the future of Pivot? What does the Pivot team want this event to look like in the next few years?
Each year, Pivot has a different theme based on the greatest needs for brands and agencies at that time. We will continue that in the future. Pivot will always focus at the emerging edge of Social. And Social is young, so we’ve a long way to go in this revolution.
Last question: who is Mike Edelhart? What does your background in both traditional and startup businesses tell you about the future of online commerce?
I’m an old school geek. I helped launch and lead PC Magazine way back when and oversaw the creation of most of the magazines, labs and events in the original Ziff-Davis Company during the PC revolution. I’m also a former VC and startup exec and an experienced author. All those experiences go into the Tomorrow Project, the company I run that produces Pivot and directs Social Week in NY and other activities to support the companies building the new market in Social. This is now my third tech revolution (PC, early Internet, now Social). With my varied background I understand tech, brands, media and other areas in turmoil today. And, as one of the team that once ran the world’s largest tech events company (Comdex, Interop, Seybold, etc.), I know how to create the kinds of events that have true value and deep market impact.
Registration for Pivot closes on Monday, October 15. Trust us: you don’t want to miss this.
Follow Mike on Twitter @MikeEdelhart.