Equator at Connected Path Unconference

The Equator Affiliate Team were on the road last week as we travelled down to London for the inaugural Connected Path Unconference. Connected Path is a specialist digital marketing consultancy founded by former Awin staff and all-round affiliate industry legends Anjulie Blunden and Anthony Clements. I was initially approached by the team a few months ago to submit a talk for the Unconference event they were putting together. An Unconference is a kind of agenda-less, participant driven conference where the attendees can vote for the talks they would like to hear. The theme picked for the event was ‘The Marriage of Service and Technology: destined for love or divorce?’ As Anjulie so succinctly put it:

3 hours. 103 people. 12 proposed talks. 6 voted-for speakers. 82 litres of drink.

As someone who has been around the block a few times (I first entered the Affiliate Marketing industry way back in 2008), I have attended my fair share of events and conferences. By now it’s a fairly established pattern – whether it’s the slickly disguised sales pitch, or the genuinely enlightening insight into how others are operating in the affiliate space. Having also spoken at a number of events myself over the years, I’d like to think I’m fairly confident with getting up there and delivering my presentation complete with Equator-approved fonts and colour schemes. What really caught my attention with the Unconference was the idea that we should do away with our Powerpoint decks and instead rely solely upon our oratory skills, if and when our colleagues voted for us!

Seeing your name up on a screen with a sliding real-time scale of the votes received by your peers is a sobering experience for anyone, regardless of their standing in this industry. However, I think the event really encouraged honest discussion and the savvy audience were able to vote for the talks they would like to hear, as opposed to having to sit through a 30min sales pitch. The talks themselves were all quite unique and personal to the speakers delivering them, and I really found the format refreshing. Having enjoyed 5 of the talks delivered expertly by my colleagues, I thought I was off the hook. However, a flurry of last minute voting saw my talk – ‘Face to Face - the importance of human relationships in the new era of Service and Technology’ voted as the last talk. Working across a multitude of clients, sectors and networks in my role as Affiliate Team Leader at Equator, I feel that the human service element is one of the biggest oversights that affiliate networks are guilty of in their attempt to differentiate themselves in an increasingly competitive marketplace. It was an honour to close out the show and I would like to thank Anj and Ant for giving me this opportunity and also for organising a genuinely refreshing and new approach to affiliate events. I think I speak for everyone when I say it was a thoroughly enjoyable evening and I definitely look forward to the next one!