The theme was “Ignite your passion” at Sage Summit 2016.
Sage CEO Stephen Kelly said in the opening keynote yesterday, “At Sage we want to help you ignite your passion for business.”
To help with that goal, Sage this year included several celebrities in the speaker lineup.
Day 1 kicked off with iconic entrepreneur Richard Branson on stage with Kelly. Branson said his worst moment in business came when his Virgin Galactic company’s spaceship crashed in 2014, killing the pilot. But the team didn’t give up. They worked harder than ever to recover from the disaster.
Branson also spoke about building his brand. Most of the ideas for his companies arose when he was trying to solve some personal frustration, he said. He wanted better flights to the Virgin Islands, so he started his own airline. He wanted to fly into space but knew he could never get there through NASA, so he started his own space company.
One of Branson’s favorite sayings in business is, “Screw it, just get on and do it.”
A Glimpse of Sage Summit 2016
Sage Software’s annual conference for customers and partners is this week in Chicago at the enormous McCormick Place, credited as the largest convention center in North America. Sage billed the event as the largest gathering of entrepreneurs with a reported 20,000 gathered (Sage has 3 million business customers around the world). However, there were not that many in attendance live, so the number must have included people joining in online.
I’ve been to several Sage Summits and this is the most energetic one I can recall.
Other celebrity speakers expected to address those in attendance include actor Ashton Kutcher and actress Gweneth Paltrow. Along with celebrity speakers, the event featured a variety of Sage partners on the exhibition floor. Included were companies such as First Data featuring its Clover POS system, as well as funding source Fundbox. One of the most interesting — and enjoyable — products at the show was the new personal assistant/bot called Pegg.
A really popular attraction was The Startup Van. Created by two entrepreneurs, it’s a classic VW van inside which visitors can be interviewed for YouTube.
I put together the accompanying 2-minute whirlwind video tour of Sage Summit 2016 for those who couldn’t be there.