Dscoop presents 'Architects of Tomorrow'.
Themed "Architects of Tomorrow," this year's conference featured five educational tracks covering a diverse range of topics and product areas from deep-dive technical sessions to industry case studies and panel discussions. The five tracks were: Leadership and Strategy, Marketing and Sales, Operations, Innovation and Collaboration.
Dscoop San Antonio was the association's largest conference to date, drawing attendees from twice as many companies as its recordbreaking event in 2015 and nearly 400 additional attendees compared to last year. In fact, this was the first year that Dscoop was large enough to be held in a convention center, and it was one of the very first conferences to be held in the new Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center.
"Dscoop members should be proud to be American manufacturers when that is almost an oxymoron these days," said Michael Duggal, CEO of Duggal Visual Solutions and Dscoop conference chair, during his presentation to attendees at the opening session of the conference. Duggal said the print industry employs close to 450,000, according to the US Department of Labor and Statistics, ahead of the coal and petroleum industry, beverage and tobacco manufacturing and many others. Duggal showed how the print industry stacks up against other industries, and illustrated the ways Dscoop members take care of each other and give back to the community. His presentation served as a great way to open the conference and inspire all attendees.
In addition to the diverse range of educational sessions and the Solutions Showcase, which had more than 100 exhibitors, the keynote speaker lineup was a major draw. Show organizers said they wanted to do something different this year, and they decided to bring in big-name celebrity speakers, who are also experts in innovation, technology, business, entrepreneurship and motivation. Attendees packed the auditorium and heard insights from Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak; inspired to take advantage of every opportunity to connect with author, TV commentator and master networker Laura Schwartz; learned about entrepreneurial success from Shark Tank's Kevin O'Leary and taken to the finish line by ESPN football analyst and former NFL player and head coach Herm Edwards.
During his on-stage interview with Schwartz, Wozniak discussed personal security and today's culture of obsessing too much over political correctness, which came out of his passion for humor. "Laughter is the best medecine," he said. "Keep humor in everything."
Wozniak urged company leaders to "listen, move responsibility down the line, and ask for feedback one day later," He also said, "The great leaders of today are the great leaders of the successful technology companies. In order for a company to succeed, its leadership should consist of a business person, a marketing expert, and an engineer." At Apple, Wozniak played the engineer role.
With regard to engineering, Wozniak suggested, "Clear your mind, and build it from scratch." He noted that he initially wanted to be an engineer to make life better. To this end, he urged, "Create and build products that you would use and that you cannot live without," adding, "Ask yourself, 'Does anything you create move the world of your customers forward'?"
Kevin O'Leary, known as "Mr. Wonderful," to fans of the hit TV show Shark Tank, was another highly anticipated keynote speaker. Observing that many print service providers are entrepreneurs, his presentation focused on entrepreneurship and the keys to running a successful business.
O'Leary provided 10 guidelines of an effective entrepreneur, which are: Employees are valuable assets but not your friends; maintain a clear line of command; be accessible; delegate; don't procrastinate; never pass the buck; service trumps price; use technology as a weapon; the boss does not always make the most money; and business is war--there are winners and losers.
When it comes to funding a business, O'Leary said, "The entrepreneur should be able to articulate the opportunity in 90 seconds or less. And they should be successful in convincing investors that they are the right team to execute the vision."
O'Leary also emphasized how the business owner should know his or her numbers while having a deep, comprehensive understanding of the business model.
Former NFL player and head coach and current broadcaster Herm Edwards brought Dscoop San Antonio to a close with his thoughts on leadership. He said, "If you hope to lead, you must learn to serve. You have an obligation to help people succeed. The essence of good leadership is not about making speeches or being liked--good leaders can lift people's expectations and performances. And If you want to achieve something, give yourself permission to believe it."