Things got off to a great start this morning with a quick welcome address from our CEO George Schlossnagle, and a wide-ranging and energetic keynote from Don Peppers. Don’s reputation as a strong speaker is well deserved – he weaves a compelling narrative around customer relationship best practices, how those best practices are changing in the digital age, and where it all fits into the larger human condition in regards to concepts like per capita income, personal wealth and societal norms. Fascinating stuff.

I don’t have time to completely recap Don’s presentation, so maybe it would make the most sense to do some crowdsourcing and let the twitter traffic during his presentation tell us the high points of this talk. The wifi in the ballroom got balky during Don’s keynote so the twitter traffic slowed to a crawl at certain points, but the messages that did manage to get through centered around a few core points that he made – notably Zuckerberg’s law and Golden Questions.

Don set things up with a slide illustrating Moore’s law and the familiar diagonal vector showing a doubling of transistor count per circuit (hence computing power) every two years going back to the 1960s. Then he brought up Zuckerberg’s law, which posits that every year, people will double the amount of information they share, and also presented the figure that we have 1,000 times as many personal interactions today as we did 20 years ago. Moore’s law, made real through devices like smartphones and social networks like Facebook, underlying all of this.

So that’s the context for the talk. Now what about customer engagement? Don presented his concept of Golden Questions – the idea of engaging your customers exactly at the point of decision when they’re most likely to convert. He illustrated this concept using the example of the European bank ING. Say an accountholder in Amsterdam goes to an ATM and tries to withdraw 400 euros from their checking, but there’s only 350 euros in the account. ING will offer the customer a line of credit for, say, 100 euros right at that point while they’re standing at the ATM. The offer is made at the exact point when the customer’s need is greatest, and when they’re most likely to decide to accept the offer. Imagine the conversion rate for a line of credit offer made exactly at this point, as opposed to the conversion rate for line of credit offers made through direct email or through a display ad campaign.

Interesting stuff. More soon.