Opticon 2017 – Las Vegas

Last week I attended the Opticon 2017 conference in Las Vegas, Nevada. Opticon is the official go-to event for all things related to Optimizely, which is the world’s leading and best experimentation platform.

The conference is held anually, this was the fourth installment of the event and was visited by more than 1200 professionals working in the area of experimentation.

The event lasted for three days. Aside from the education lectures, keynotes, developer night and certification workshops the main part of the conference were 24 breakout sessions divided into three tracks:

  1. Bold ideas for growth (intended for practitioners)
  2. Creating a culture of experimentation (intended for decision makers)
  3. Data, developers and product management (intended for developers, analysts, and product managers)

The breakout sessions were held by representatives from companies like IBM, Microsoft, New York Times, Optimizely, etc., where they talked about their approach to experimentation and how they use the Optimizely platform.

The sessions ranged from concrete topics like how Optimizely integrates with React to high level topics such as how to organise an experimentation program within your organisation.

Optimizely introduced a whole lot of new upgrades that they will be rolling out to the Optimizely X platform:

  1. Program Management
  2. Feature Management
  3. Support for Dynamic Websites
  4. Stats Accelerator

You can checkout the whole list in detail here:

But I would say the key takeaway and trend that clearly resonated throughout the conference was about “Building a Culture of Experimentation”. This is something Dan Siroker explained in his keynote opening of the conference.

The culture of experimentation is a fundamental shift in how you approach the development of your product or service.

In the old development approach you would assume how to improve your customers experience and then you would build a new version of your software/app/whatever based on that assumption.

In the culture of experimentation approach, you would assume how to improve your customers experience and then you would test that assumption in an experiment without full-scaling the assumption. If the experiment fails you would simply shut it down and continue with the original. Every idea in your business is considered an experiment that needs to be validated before full-scaled.

Optimizely basically streamlines this process, using this approach is a growing trend and it’s benefits are perfectly illustrated by the graph below.

The forture 1000 have collectively grown their market cap by 56% over the last 5 years. But the companies that truly embodied a culture of experimentation have grown their market cap by 765% in the same time.

It’s the approach they use at Amazon as said by their CEO.

See more photos below.

The conference was held at Wynn Las Vegas hotel.
Being stuck in an elevator at the Wynn for more than an hour :D.