Last week, we opened the doors to the 2018 Customer Validation Conference, the first event of its kind within the customer testing (Alpha, Beta, and Field Testing) industry. The event pulled together product managers, customer experience experts, CV professionals, and industry leaders from all over the world into one space for two days of presentations, workshops, demonstrations, and networking.
Witnessing the energy and vibrancy of the event firsthand was a profound experience, especially for members of this specialized field who don’t often get to meet others with shared experiences and skill sets. For those of you who couldn’t attend this year, here’s a rundown of the first-ever conference for the Customer Validation industry.
Something for Everyone
The conference featured dozens of in-depth sessions and educational content from CV leaders, the team of experts at Centercode, as well as Centercode partners. This includes TestFairy CEO Yair Bar-On, who ran a live demonstration of Centercode’s integration with their mobile testing app.
Other sessions included Centercode Platform workshops, as well as presentations that showcased techniques and best practices for maximizing the reach of your CV program throughout your organization. Topics ranged from innovative B2B recruitment techniques and adhering to the European Union’s new GDPR laws to cultivating sponsors and champions for your program. Program managers also got the chance to join a special extended session where they discussed, networked over, and worked through the specific challenges of managing a Customer Validation program.
One of the biggest highlights of the event was the sneak peek into the upcoming C15 Enhanced Integrations, our most ambitious update to the platform to date. Our engineers gave live demonstrations of this new feature, which will allow customers to easily integrate with third party systems through dynamically generated API endpoints.
Attendees learned secrets to success from Alex Larsen of Alarm.com, Ed Nelson of GoPro, Chris Mitchell of Autodesk, Andrew Rios and Erin Katz of Fitbit, and other industry leaders who’ve nurtured thriving customer testing programs within their organizations. We also heard from Tableau’s Product Manager for Customer Programs, Michelle D’Couto, who described her experiences building a Customer Validation program from the ground up using the Centercode Platform. With a wealth of stories, experiences, challenges, and best practices to share, speakers provided insightful and engaging perspectives to new and seasoned professionals seeking to evolve their CV programs.
It’s been a really fun journey, not only learning about the software, but also just Customer Validation as a whole. As the industry grows and we grow as users of products and software, we really have come up with our own processes and best practices that we’ve been able to share, not only with you guys [Centercode] but with our company, and now conference-goers as well. It’s really fun to be able to share that impact–that the data we use is valuable and really does tell a story.
– Jacquelynn Macy, Associate Program Manager of Field Testing
Peer-to-Peer Networking Like Never Before
CV Conference attendees from companies like Belkin, Bose, Intuit, Cox, HP, FedEx, Citi, and Avid traveled from six different time zones over three continents. They represented a wide range of industries and products across the spectrum of B2B and B2C software, hardware, and services. The event provided a unique opportunity for these professionals, who have a lot of common ground but very diverse job titles and backgrounds, to meet face to face, exchange stories, and make valuable, lasting connections.
For members of the customer testing industry, opportunities to network and engage with a large group of peers are pretty rare. This conference provided a chance to mingle and relax with peers in their field, bounce ideas off of and learn from other professionals, and swap horror stories and tips for success.
In our industry, it’s hard to find somebody that does something like what you do. Even recruiting and finding people with the skill set to do your job is really challenging. Then coming to a place like this and sitting down in a room where everyone has experience in your job…it really helps, figuring out what exactly what they’re doing and the challenges they’re running across.
– Rob Hart, Product Owner, Peoplenet
Impact on the Customer Validation Industry
Designed to overcome the challenges of a fragmented industry, the CV Conference is an important stride in helping the customer testing industry – and those who work in it – to grow and thrive. The sheer enthusiasm and engagement surrounding the event shows both how encouraging it is to make connections with other CV professionals and how essential it is to cultivating new skills in a highly specialized field. It was inspiring to see the bubbling exchange of ideas, concerns, and visions for the future of Customer Validation – and customer-driven success.
Similarly, we wanted this conference and future conferences to inspire CV professionals as the industry continues to take shape. We’re especially excited to announce the first class of CV Certification candidates who, after the inaugural one-day course following the conference, have the tools and training to become Certified Customer Validation Professionals.
We’re so grateful to all of our attendees for making this event a huge success. A special thanks goes out to our partners as well who, among other things, donated thousands of dollars in the latest tech to our raffle, including GoPro cameras, Ring security cameras, Sonos speakers, and Jibo!
For those of you who couldn’t make it this year, not to worry – the 2019 Customer Validation Conference is already in the works. Sign up to be the first to get updates on next year’s conference as they develop. Until then, we’ll be doing tons of live webinars, starting with “Picking the Right Test Strategy” next Thursday, March 8th at 11 a.m. PST.