Collision 2023 – Authenticity Is More Important Than AI

Collision 2023 – Authenticity Is More Important Than AI

Will Taylor 5 min

Collision 2023 was THE tech event of the year. It brought together tech from all areas — from hardware to software. 


The main theme? AI. 🤖


Although it wasn’t the kind of AI you’re thinking of. The overarching theme was about bringing authentic intention to your business dealings.

For example, in Robert Brunner’s (Founder @ Ammunition) talk on “Global Brands in the Context of 2023.”, he stated that one of the top priorities for businesses should be: 




Trust from our partners and trust from our audience. Create work that’s true to its purpose. Do it in an authentic way. If you don’t you lose trust and people stop engaging.


In that same talk, Melissa Rosenthal (Chief Creative Officer @ ClickUp) explained that when developing an authentic brand, think of it like this: 




We want to be your most productive best friend. Be self aware and laugh along and come on that journey with us.”


People are tired of gamified, attention-seeking methods. 👋⚠️


We’re overwhelmed by the Infocalypse of data, automation, and endless streams of ads.


As Melissa has said, "Be a friend."


It’s hard to imagine that we’ve come to where we are now. We’ve neglected the power of community, authenticity, and intention.

We’ve replaced authentic intention with automation


Photos from Collision 2023





Time to rebuild your community

Laura Heisman - CMO @ VMWare, spoke to the power of communities. 


Her explanation was spot on. In short, it’s all about helping, 1 to 1 and 1 to many, and facilitating connections. 

This wasn’t just a pipeline strategy; it was about taking rich feedback from your community and informing them about the product roadmap.


But how do you do that?


Laura stated that one person should be a liaison between product, sales, and support. They should also have a direct line to the CEO and should be someone who is strategic and cross-functional. 


Sound familiar? 


It’s no surprise that this is a similar function to the Partner Manager deploying a Nearbound strategy.

When it comes down to it, a community is a place for people to belong. 






"We aren’t marketing to them, we are helping them. Bringing in speakers, hosting programs - all in an effort to HELP them," said Laura.


Community is not just for users — it’s a place where those who use your product to rave about your brand and how much they’ve learned. 

If you can get people to a point where they love your company even when they don’t pay for your services, you’ve cracked the code. Even if that person moves to a different company, they will still be an advocate. 


A thriving community helps bring credibility, influencers, and speakers to your network… they have so much more value to provide than just being a client.






Being a part of programs and loving what you do so that when they talk about their job, you just happen to come up.” - Laura Heisman


Build a future of authentic intention

On the main stage, we heard from Sairah Ashman, CEO at Wolff Olins, Josh Richards Founder & Chairman at CrossCheck Studios, and Jonathan Yaffe, Co-founder & CEO at AnyRoad, about what marketing will look like in 2024.






The smartest organizations are very clear about why they’re placing themselves in front of you. They are specific about the message and what’s in it for you at the end of the day. Trust and authenticity are more important than ever. — Jonathan Yaffe, CEO @ Any Road in the panel discussion: “Marketing in 2024”


If you’re not clear or intentional (and truly focused on the customer), people can see when it’s fake. There is a “backlash to rainbow capitalism” — as Jonathan put it — brands doing it right are true to their values, not faking it for clicks and views.


The reality is that advertising is getting expensive (especially in a recession) — yet you can’t afford to let your marketing go cold. You need to get focused.

So where do you invest? 


We could do to see a little less marketing. We should get back to what do we actually want to say and where do we actually want to be?” – Sairah Ashman, CEO @ Wolff Olins.


Sound familiar (again)?


It’s not just the partnerships and tech world sharing this message of authenticity. Everyone was feeling it. 



The old methods are no longer working

Inbound and outbound are no longer working like they used to. You need to bring people together with compelling content that actually speaks to them — not just to game their attention. Jonathan Yaffe said,



Why tell someone about your product when they can experience it. Google and ads aren’t working as well as they once did.

And Sairah Ashman echoed the above with one of my FAVORITE quotes from the event,



💡 Wallpaper and shouting will be in the rear view mirror. We don’t want just distraction. The world isn’t interested in that.


So, was Collision the right vibe? 


Abso-freakin-lutely it was! 


Every single one of these people “gets it.” 



Authenticity cuts through the noise

The lesson in all of this is that things are never going back to what they once were — SEO, ads, cold outreach… your audience doesn’t want to be disrupted.


There’s enough noise out there. 


Instead of adding noise — share trust, work with partners, and leverage a Nearbound strategy through authentic intentions.


That will be your path to success in this decade of the ecosystem.


Prefer to listen? Subscribe to our PartnerHacker Audio Articles Podcast. Text-to-speech provided by our partner Voicemaker.in.

Will Taylor 5 min

Collision 2023 – Authenticity Is More Important Than AI


Collision 2023 was all about creating authentic intention.


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