Opticon 2015

Educated and excited! A little bit exhausted … and extremely entertained. But don’t just take my word for it.

This post tells the story of Opticon, as it unfolded through attendees’ eyes.

Best of Opticon 2015

On Wednesday night, Opticon Eve was upon us. While some tuned into the NBA finals, others were gearing up for the two days to come.

Crazy excitement all over SF right now for #Opticon2015. Honking, cheering, hugging, even the bball team is celebrating.

— Grigoriy Kogan (@grigoriy_kogan) June 17, 2015

DAY ONE of Opticon kicked off with a huge announcement…

From Optimizely CEO and Co-founder Dan Siroker: Optimizely Personalization – a new product built to reinvent an old idea and, in the Optimizely tradition, make it easy and accessible for all.


Optimizely CEO Dan Siroker announces Optimizely Personalization.

Excitement-filled applause echoed throughout the room (and across the interwebs).

I feel like I'm at an early day Apple meeting. Geeking out at #Opticon2015 #personalization #predictiveanalytics

— Marissa Deslatte (@MarissaDeslatte) June 17, 2015

@Optimizely new personalization product will be game changing for so many companies #Opticon2015 #personalization

— Arpitha Timmaraju (@rpthat) June 17, 2015

After the keynote, Shana Rusonis shared the findings from our first industry Benchmark Report.

Shana walked through the methodology behind the report and gave an in-depth presentation on some of the most surprising and meaningful results.

a person standing next to a white board

Optimizely’s Shana Rusonis shares the findings from our first industry Benchmark Report.

Meanwhile, the live chalk mural was off to a strong start.

a person painting a wall

This chalk artist extraordinaire was just getting started…

Next up was Marc Andreessen…

Attendees flocked to the main stage for a fireside chat with Marc Andreessen, General Partner at Andreessen Horowitz. Marc answered tough questions on the future of technology, the term “disruption”… and killer robots.

a few men sitting in chairs

“I’m a big fan of reality, why should I care about virtual reality?” – Dan Siroker to Marc Andreessen, during their fireside chat.

"We haven't yet found a company that builds killer robots; if we had, we'd fund it." @pmarca on AI taking over the world #Opticon2015

— Segment (@segment) June 17, 2015

"The question isn't 'will it work?' It's 'if it does work, how important will it be'" @pmarca @dsiroker #Opticon2015 pic.twitter.com/8wRpYmvp1E

— Katie Rinkevich (@katierink) June 17, 2015

The rest of the afternoon was packed with engaging sessions on all-things-Experience-Optimization. (Stay tuned, we’ll be sharing full recordings and slides for each session soon!)

a group of people sitting in chairs

Panelists from Abercrombie & Fitch, Trulia, Scripps Network, and WiderFunnel shared wisdom on how to build an “optimization dream team” at any org.

a group of people sitting in chairs

Panelists from Fareportal, Pinterest, Credit Sesame, Everyday Health, and Optimizely talk mobile app optimization.

When not attending sessions…

Opticon-goers participated in intimate Optimization Roundtable discussions, chatted with peers in the Expo Experience, ate It’s-Its, and, kicked back to enjoy some San Francisco sunshine.

a group of people sitting at tables

a person lying in a hospital bed

Chillaxin’, Opticon-style.

Energized with new optimization knowledge (and fueled by ice cream) attendees took to the lawn to show off their bocce ball and corn hole skills.

a group of men standing on a deck

The competition heats up on the outdoor bocce ball court.

And as the competition heated up, so did the Opticon Bash…

With a rockin’ DJ, a live graffiti artist, and (my personal favorite) nitro margaritas.

a couple of men wearing helmets and goggles in a kitchen

Bartenders mixed up some interesting (and delicious) cocktails.

a collage of photos of people

Highlights from the Opticon Bash.

Pro-tip: No party is complete without a Bubble Man.

a person flying a kite

The Bubble Wizard in his element.

Meanwhile, back at the live chalk mural…



The most AMAZING video you'll see from #Opticon2015 #slomo pic.twitter.com/mio5lzDKP5

— ROI·DNA (@roidna) June 18, 2015

Caffeinated and ready for action, DAY TWO kicked off with excitement and…

a blue and white covered walkway


In her Thursday morning keynote address, Mary Hamilton, Managing Director of the Accenture Technology Labs, spoke about the transformative power of emerging technologies and hyper-connectivity in the way businesses deliver experiences to customers. Think: wearables, virtual reality, self-driving cars, eye-tracking… and more.

a woman standing in front of a blue wall

Mary Hamilton addresses the audience during her keynote address.

Amazing #Opticon2015 keynote from @maryqcontrary. The future looks bright…and enhanced by robots

— Robin Pam (@robinpam) June 18, 2015

IN SUMMARY, THE FUTURE IS HERE & I WANT TO GO TO THERE with @maryqcontrary @accenturelabs #opticon2015 pic.twitter.com/ze2nDmmGm2

— Tam Vo (@tamiam) June 18, 2015

We also celebrated the 2nd annual Optie Award winners!

The Opties are comprised of nine categories that highlight cutting-edge Experience Optimization programs.

a couple of men posing for a picture

Optimizely CEO Dan Siroker and Markis Taylor, winner of the Developer Extraordinaire Optie Award

After Mary’s keynote and the Optie Award ceremony, Opticon-goers split off to (grab snacks and) attend the day’s sessions of their choosing.

Panelists from 99Designs, Demandbase, Hipmunk, and Optimizely hosted a packed session on the 21st Century Marketing Stack & Team – discussing tools, martech, and team structures that today’s successful marketing organizations are investing in. Jon Miller, Co-founder and CEO of Engagio (formerly of Marketo) hosted a session on Account-Based Marketing; and Netflix’s Patrick McGrath spoke on programmatic ad buying and optimization.

At #Opticon2015 learning a ton about account based marketing from @jonmiller, cofounder of @marketo & @engagio pic.twitter.com/MGEVXHWqfL

— Bradley Heinz (@bbheinz) June 18, 2015

Agile works well for content and social teams @thehipmunk @roxyyoung #Opticon2015 #21stcenturymarketingstack

— EJ Lawless (@elawless) June 18, 2015

(Reminder: Stay tuned, we’ll be posting session recordings soon.)

a sign on a table

As DAY TWO came to a close...

It was time to say fond goodbyes to Opticon 2015, and the connections made over the course of the conference.

Thanks @Optimizely for throwing such a great conference! #Opticon2015 pic.twitter.com/quX3cNr9GB

— Sara (@saramarielittle) June 19, 2015

@Optimizely thank YOU for having us! we had a blast — best conference experience so far, hands down #Opticon2015

— Amplitude Analytics (@amplitudemobile) June 18, 2015

A sincerest thank you…

To all who attended (in person or in spirit) for making the past 48 hours such an inspirational, educational, and truly memorable experience for all who participated. Can’t wait to kick it again with all of you next year!

a man and woman kissing

Until next year: Peace, Love, and Experience Optimization!

Learn more about the announcements we made at Opticon: 

Many organizations are scrambling to boost their analytics capabilities and digitally transform their businesses. They are also under intense pressure to improve their innovation acumen in the quest to find the next breakthrough idea before anyone else does. But these aren’t the only paths to digital competitiveness. They can even cause companies to miss the boat.

Analytics, for example, focuses on past history, and even the most sophisticated predictive capabilities can miss market changes happening right now. Although breakthrough ideas are powerful, they are exceptionally difficult to devise and bring to market.

Enter enterprise-wide experimentation programs—where companies test and learn how the market will react to new product features, marketing messages, and user experiences and gather statistical evidence to make decisions.

In a new original research report: ‘Experimentation: The What & How of Digital Competitiveness‘, Harvard Business Review-Analytic Services state that experimentation is emerging as the next major digital capability that will separate business winners from losers. When done at scale, an enterprise-wide experimentation program can increase performance up to 5x in revenue, share of wallet, prospect conversion, risk mitigation, or product deployment efficiency. Even small improvements can add up quickly and beat competitors to the punch. 

Enterprise-wide experimentation also bolsters innovation by reaching out across the organization to generate as many ideas as possible. As employees see their ideas put to the test and produce revenue, the momentum builds.

The report, based on interviews with executives from leading companies such as Gap, HP, The Wall Street Journal, and European media giant Sky, along with other subject matter experts, delves into the rise of experimentation as the next major digital corporate capability and how companies are making it work. To learn more, access the full Harvard Business Review-Analytic Services report here.