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Fanny Le Béguec28.11.2018 12:257 min read

Should you attend Adobe Summit or Google Summit in 2019?

I was lucky enough this year to be asked by Quru to go as a representative to both annual events: Adobe Summit EMEA and Google Marketing Platform Summit (also known as GMP Summit). The Adobe Summit was held from May 3rd to the 4th in London. GMP Summit just took place last month, at the end of October (30th-31st) in San Francisco. On my trips, I was accompanied by fellow workmates. Simo joined me for the GMP Summit and Sampsa and Jarkko were with me at London for the Adobe Summit.  Please check out each link as they provide you all the schedule, speakers and details from the events!

What if you can only choose to go to one next year? Which one should you go to? Here are some of my observations that could be useful for decision making but before starting, I need to state that I’m restricted by the organizers of the events on what I can share openly. I’ll share as much as I can. Let’s get started with content!

1. Content

In both events you’re supposed to catch up with the next year roadmap, the team’s vision about their product and of course go deeper within the futures releases.

2018 was a major year for the GDPR so obviously in May 2018, for the Adobe Summit, it was a huge part of the conversation. On October 2018, for Google, the message was very different.

Both companies think that they are the best on the market, both are good from my opinion with both some strengths and weaknesses.

But for once, I was really surprised by the innovation part that Adobe was able to provide (even if it will take a couple years to get it to the end clients) where Google was mostly focusing on “stabilizing and improving the already existent tools”.

At any time during the day, you can have a personal demo of any tool at each event, have a potential direct contact with products teams and that makes the event more tailored for your everyday usage. In both, any need to be a nerd or a huge guru, but better to know the product suite quite well so you can get as much as possible from each session. Clearly, if you’ve just started to work with one of those products, then wait at least one/two full years of practice.

Another matter where I’m especially sensitive at the moment: AI and how it will affect any tools on those market.

Adobe AI tool is named “Sensei” (I do love that tool name). Google doesn’t really have a name for it. During all the Adobe Summit, Adobe speakers were really careful when it came to AI and Sensei, saying that AI should not be the one who takes the decision. Clearly, they seemed to me to not be ready yet to move forward.

I was really hoping for some major release from Google on that domain. None. If you want to do something like that you have to switch to Google Cloud Platform and use again different tools, different systems, different languages over there. Such a shame when it comes to adoption blockers.

2. Speakers

For Google, it’s mainly Google’s people that are on stage. So if you’re a huge fan of Justin Cutroni, then that’s the place to be. Not to mention that you can see and talk quite easily to all of them during the whole event, at break times especially. Other than that, and especially this year, it was not really “open” to clients, very small talk portion for some agencies… Clearly “Google First Focused”. The best keynote Google provides from my opinion was the last one (thanks Simo A. for suggesting to sit down cause it was supposed to be a good one).

For Adobe, completely another spirit. You were even able to see Victoria Beckham but also Anthony Joshua and especially Rob Brydon. Seriously I never laugh as much during a conference than with Bob Brydon. Those “external” people such as customer (Adobe also brought on stage Virgin Atlantic, Sky…) gives you another perspective of how those people that are not technical, not that much about SEO, SEM or Analytics at the beginning get into using those tools. They definitively have a more mindstream mindset, creative vision.

3. Audience

The Adobe Summit took place in London or usually in your market area. I mean that if you’re based in the US or Canada then you will have one based over there. They usually still have one “worldwide event” if you really want to have it global based in the US.

I do think they got a point here: the European market differs from the US market on many points. Which allow you to have targeted sessions, content, and networking.

Google is hosting only one event every year in San Francisco. All partners are reunited in the same place. That could be nice too, but honestly, when a woman advises us to have one lunch every two weeks with a new person as skilled as you are for extending our networking it feels like a joke to me. Surely doable in SF, but in Helsinki, even by extending it to Espoo, Turku, and Vantaa I’m pretty sure that by 6 months I’m done. Plus talking about Google Video 360 at nearly every session, it feels good. Except when the product is not available in your home country.

Regarding the size of venues/crowd: in both case it’s comparable. They had at least 3 floors, which were used for sessions, workshops, panels, vendor booths, stages, etc… It was truly a global affair for both events but definitely, a strong European audience that attended on the Adobe Summit, where it was more “worldwide” for Google (you were even able to specify with Team you were in on your badge: US, Latin, Europe…).

4. Location

For Adobe, as it’s in London the “only” good place to host the event is the ExCel, which is clearly not the city center. So just forget any plans about having a good small drink after your day in ones of the nice pub in London: it will take you at least 45 minutes to get there!

With Google it depends, it used to be in Mountain View, it was sometimes in SF – Airport area (which is not the best either from a tourist point of view) but this year it was hosted in a hotel in the financial district, in the city center. Clearly a huge point for those who want to extend their stay and visit around!

5. Goodies

I’m not the best to report on that as I do believe in the sustainable economy and especially as I’m a huge defendant of the “100 things challenge”.

For Adobe, you could get:
– a lot of different one from their partners: books, pen, balls, … anything you would like to have.
– from Adobe “Sign in” team: a custom-made cup, with either your own picture, your name or whatever you would like on it. Pretty impressive to see that it “stays” very well on the cup itself (even though we are only using the dishwasher at the office).
– from Adobe as a “Thank you” gift: a USB charger (that was useful for the GMP summit actually…).

During the GMP summit you were able to get a whole package:
– one shirt: only male size (thanks Google for bringing on the table the #IamRemarkable movement but not being able to provide women shirts)
– one water bottle
– a lot of stickers
– on a blue plastic bag (the same design that I used to have back in the ’90s).

For both of them, you have free lunches and breakfasts, free coffee/tea. On top of that, you usually have an evening “party” for networking: Adobe definitely won that one as they provided food, drinks, music, and attractions till 2 am the day after. At Google, it was supposed to stop by 7 pm. Definitively a huge win on Adobe for this one 🙂

So those are my takeaways from attending both events this year. If you can only pick one to go to, which one will it be?

Fanny Le Béguec is a Senior Web Analyst and Lead Data Scientist at Quru.

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