Tips for bloggers going to Sage Summit and a roundup

Tips for bloggers going to Sage Summit and a roundup
August 14 10:51 2014 Print This Article

A few weeks ago, I attended Sage Summit with some other social influencers from North America. It was an absolute blast with informative discussions, vendors, and the food was outright amazing. Last but not least, Neon Trees was fantastic for a closing conference. I never thought I’d enjoy a presentation from Karl Rove and Robert Gibbs, but it was really fun with Gabie Boko, CMO of Sage moderating it. She’s a total rockstar!

little about who they are:

Robert Gibbs is a trusted advisor and strategist to President Obama, having been with him from the early days of Obama’s 2004 Senate race to his sweep to the White House, to his recent role as a Senior Advisor for the President’s reelection campaign.

Robert Gibbs joined Barack Obama’s 2004 U.S. Senate campaign as Communications Director in mid-April 2004 and held the same title at the onset of the 2008 presidential campaign until becoming Senior Strategist for Communications and Message during the general election. During the four years of intense campaigning and close contact, Gibbs became an integral part of President Obama’s team. According to The New York Times, Gibbs advised President Obama on politics, strategy and messaging, and spent more time with him than any other advisor. On November 22, 2008, Robert Gibbs was announced as the Press Secretary of the Obama administration, and assumed the role on January 20, 2009.

Robert Gibbs has traveled a long road with President Barack Obama, and his rapport and access to the President provides intimate and insightful commentaries. Gibbs continues to be one of President Obama’s trusted strategists and he speaks with great authority and accuracy from a White House insider’s perspective on the Obama Administration. He was at the forefront of these during the 2012 election, as Senior Advisor to President Obama’s Reelection Campaign.

Robert Gibbs also served as Press Secretary of John Kerry’s 2004 presidential campaign and has previously specialized in Senate campaigns, having served as Communications Director for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee and for four individual Senate campaigns, including those of Obama in 2004 and Fritz Hollings in 1998. Gibbs was also the Press Secretary of Representative Bob Etheridge.

Karl Rove, an iconic political strategist and one of the most sought-after political pundits of our time, is best known for his provocative and robust knowledge of the major political issues of the day.

Mr. Rove served as Senior Advisor to President George W. Bush from 2000–2007 and Deputy Chief of Staff from 2004–2007. At the White House he oversaw the Offices of Strategic Initiatives, Political Affairs, Public Liaison, and Intergovernmental Affairs and was Deputy Chief of Staff for Policy, coordinating the White House policy-making process.

Mr. Rove has been described by respected author and columnist Michael Barone in U.S. News & World Report as “…unique…no Presidential appointee has ever had such a strong influence on politics and policy, and none is likely to do so again anytime soon.” Washington Post columnist David Broder has called Rove a master political strategist whose “game has always been long term…and he plays it with an intensity and attention to detail that few can match.” Fred Barnes, executive editor of The Weekly Standard, has called him “the greatest political mind of his generation and probably of any generation… He knows history, understands the moods of the public, and is a visionary on matters of public policy.”

Before Karl Rove became known as “The Architect” of President Bush’s 2000 and 2004 campaigns, he was president of Karl Rove + Company, an Austin-based public affairs firm that worked for Republican candidates, non-partisan causes, and non-profit groups. His clients included over 75 Republican U.S.Senate, Congressional, and gubernatorial candidates in 24 states, as well as the Moderate Party of Sweden.

As a Fox News contributor, Rove provides a “genuine feel of inside knowledge,” says David Zurawik, Baltimore Sun television critic. Megan Garber, of the Columbia Journalism Review, says Karl Rove has “focused his punditry on what he knows best: strategy.” Even the New York Times acclaims that “Rove’s substantive contributions may now inspire a little work ethic among the celebrity talking heads who may be forced to bring to the news a little more data and a little less opinion, a recalibration that would bewelcome to its devoted viewers.”

Mr. Rove writes a weekly op-ed for the Wall Street Journal, appears frequently on the Fox News Channel and is the author of the New York Times Bestseller, Courage and Consequence: My Life as a Conservative in the Fight. He has written for various publications, including The Daily Beast, Financial Times, Forbes,,, The Times, Washington Post, and The Weekly Standard.

A Colorado native, he attended the University of Utah, the University of Maryland-College Park, George Mason University, and the University of Texas at Austin.

Mr. Rove has taught graduate students at UT Austin’s Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs and undergraduates in a joint appointment from the Journalism and Government departments at the university. He was also a faculty member at the Salzburg Seminar.

He was previously a member of the Board of International Broadcasting, which oversaw the operations of Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty, and served on the White House Fellows regional selection panel. He was also a member of the Boards of Regents at Texas Women’s Union and East Texas State University.

Rove now serves on the University of Texas Chancellor’s Council Executive Committee and on the Board of Trustees for the Texas Parks and Wildlife Foundation and the Texas State History Museum Foundation. He is a member of the McDonald Observatory Board of Visitors and the Texas Philosophical Society.

My favourite keynote was that from Biz Stone, Co-Founder and CEO of Jelly, Inc. Co-Founder of Twitter. Maybe he’ll finally get @trustednerd verified on Twitter if I send him a pizza? Or two? haha! He’s totally radical and an amazing fellow! Here’s a small excerpt from Sage’s website:

Biz Stone has been named Nerd of the Year by GQ, one of the TIME magazine’s Most Influential People, Entrepreneur of the Decade by Inc. Magazine, one of Vanity Fair’s Top Ten Most Influential People of the Information Age. He was honored with the International Center for Journalists’ Innovation Award. Stone is best known for developing collaborative systems freely accessed by hundreds of millions of people worldwide.

As a progenitor of early social media, Biz became an Internet entrepreneur working at Xanga and Google before co-inventing and co-founding Twitter. After stepping away from his day-to-day role at Twitter Inc., Biz helped incubate Medium, a new, web-based publishing platform. In April of 2013, Biz announced he will serve as the co-founder and CEO of his latest startup, Jelly, a mobile application.

An adamant believer that when we help others, we also help ourselves, Stone supports a new way of doing business with a higher level of ambition, and a better, more altruistic way to measure success. Beyond immediate needs, Stone advocates selflessness; insisting we follow this path in order to deliver deeper meaning in our work.

Along with his wife, Livia, Stone was named a Huffington Post Game Changer for their work and impact in the field of public service. The couple founded the Livia and Biz Stone Foundation dedicated to supporting a variety of causes including education, public health, environmentalism, and animal welfare. The foundation works closely with the non-profit organizations the National Advisory Council for Donors Choose, PRBO Conservation Science and Farm Sanctuary.

Biz is a Fellow at Oxford University, an Executive Fellow at Berkeley and holds an honorary Doctor of Laws from Babson College. Biz lives in Marin County, California with his wife Livia and son Jacob.

I’m personally really involved around tech, so it was interesting listening to Biz Stone’s keynote especially. Another one I truly enjoyed was the keynote from James Whitaker from Microsoft. I don’t think I’ll be downloading that RunPee application anytime soon. I also attended keynotes from Jessica Alba, Eric Ryan and Magic Johnson. Here’s a little about them:

Earvin “Magic” Johnson has become the most powerful African-American businessman in the world. He is a Major League Baseball owner, an NBA Legend, a 2-Time Hall of Famer, an Entrepreneur, a Philanthropist and a Motivational Speaker. The business mogul has successfully parlayed his skills and tenacity on the court into the business world, propelling his company to the status of #1 Brand in Urban America.

He is Chairman and CEO of Magic Johnson Enterprises (MJE), which provides high quality products and services that focus primarily on ethnically diverse and underserved urban communities through strategic alliances, investments, consulting and endorsements. The conglomerate is comprised of multiple business entities and partnerships that include Canyon Johnson, a $1 billion dollar real estate fund, Yucaipa Johnson, a $500 million dollar private equity fund, ASPIRE, a new African-American television network, SodexoMAGIC, Magic Airport Holdings, , Inner City Broadcasting Corporation, Magic Johnson Bridgescape Academies, and Vibe Holdings, LLC – Mr. Johnson is the Chairman of the multi-cultural media company that houses the Vibe, Uptown, and Soul Train brands.

Most noted for his unprecedented Starbucks partnership, which served as the catalyst for redevelopment in urban communities and is literally the blueprint for Corporate America’s engagement and success with urban consumers. In 2010, the savvy businessman divested his Starbucks and Los Angeles Lakers shares in excess $100 million dollars. However, he will continue to assist Starbucks with their community development initiatives and will remain Vice President of the Los Angeles Lakers.

Mr. Johnson has also teamed up with Tim Leiweke of AEG in an effort to build a new stadium and bring an NFL team back to Los Angeles as well as thousands of jobs to the city…The story of Mr. Johnson and Larry Bird’s inspiring friendship and rivalry was presented in a theater adaptation of “Magic & Bird” on Broadway in April 2012.

Mr. Johnson also serves as Chairman and Founder of the Magic Johnson Foundation, where his unwavering commitment to transform Urban America continues through HIV/AIDS Awareness & Prevention Programs, Community Empowerment Centers, and the Taylor Michaels Scholarship Program. Celebrating over 20 years of success, the Magic Johnson Foundation has become one of the most recognizable philanthropic organizations around the world.

While Jessica Alba is a Golden Globe-nominated actress whose career continues to flourish in films such as FANTASTIC FOUR, SIN CITY, and LITTLE FOCKERS, she proceeds to distinguish herself as a philanthropist, entrepreneur, and author. A California native, Jessica comes from modest beginnings and never forgets to share her good fortunes with others. She is actively involved with charities such as Safe Chemicals Healthy Families, ONE, Habitat for Humanity and Project HOME among others. Recently, Jessica released her first book, “The Honest Life,” based on her experiences creating a natural, non-toxic life for her family. A devoted wife and mother of two, Jessica describes motherhood as “the most profound experience I’ve ever had.”

Building on her dedication to create a safe, natural environment for families everywhere, Jessica co-founded and launched The Honest Company in 2012. The company offers non-toxic, eco-friendly, and natural family essentials including diapers, wipes, bath, skin care and home cleaning products. “When I became a mom, I finally became the person I am, that I always should have been,” she says. “It’s the most satisfying job in the world. But, it can also be overwhelming and confusing. I created The Honest Company to help moms and to give all children a better, safer start.” Today, the company continues to flourish with major articles and endorsements flooding in from American Baby, Fit Pregnancy and Urban Farm among numerous others.

Next, Jessica will be seen in both the SIN CITY and MACHETE sequels while she continues to grow awareness for The Honest Company and her philanthropic endeavors.

Currently, Jessica and her husband Cash raise their two daughters in Los Angeles, CA.

Eric Ryan, the architect of the Method brand, brings experience and enthusiasm for building consumer and retail concepts. Prior to founding Method, Ryan spent over seven years in advertising, trend-spotting and brand positioning for high-end consumer brands including Gap, Old Navy and Saturn. By fusing his knowledge of fashion and design, Ryan created a modern and stylish line of environmentally-conscious surface products that are quickly finding their way to becoming permanent fixtures in homes around the world. Ryan was ranked #1 speaker by 2009’s Masters of Marketing scores.

When Adam Lowry and Eric Ryan founded Method, the environmentally friendly brand of cleaning products, they used packaging stylish enough to showcase on the countertop and pleasant aromas such as green tea and cucumber to transform household products into must-have lifestyle accessories. And when they coined the phrase ‘People Against Dirty,’ they weren’t just talking about the stuff you track in on your shoes, they also meant the toxic chemicals that make up many household detergents. Currently, method products are sold in over 25,000 retail locations in the U.S., Canada, and the U.K.

Their first book, Squeaky Green, is an informative and completely entertaining room-by-room guide to giving dirty the boot. Packed with helpful tips and surprising facts, Squeaky Green is rehab for chemically dependent homes.

Ryan and Lowry’s newest book, The Method Method, takes readers through the seven “obsessions” that the pair relied on to go from selling cleaning products out of the trunk of a car to capturing valuable shelf space typically reserved for large corporations. Written with the irreverent attitude that makes people love the brand, they tell stories not only about their successes but also the failures that helped shape the innovative company.

Ryan has been named an eco-leader by Vanity Fair, a Food & Wine Tastemaker, an eco-revolutionary by Time Magazine, and PETA’s Person of the Year.

Ryan earned his Bachelor of Arts at the University of Rhode Island. He currently resides in the San Francisco Bay Area with his wife and three children.

I also enjoyed attending keynotes from Jennifer Fleiss, J. Carey Smith and Ben Kaufman. Here’s a little information about them:

The eldest of four children, Carey and his family moved so frequently he lived in eight states and attended nine schools. He started working at age 9 and never stopped, gaining a tireless work ethic as he sold shoes and Christmas cards, changed bedpans and newspaper type, and washed shirts and floors.

Bachelor’s degree in economics from Hood College in Frederick, Md., 1974. Carey studied for a master’s degree in economics at the University of Chicago, but a lack of money forced him to abandon his studies for a full-time job.

Carey’s professional life began in insurance, but, dissatisfied with that work, he later started his own company. He spent more than a dozen years leading a firm that installed sprinklers on the roofs of industrial buildings to cool the interiors. He and his wife, Nancy, sold their house and quit their jobs to focus on the company, but the business never grew beyond $1.4 million in annual sales. Carey used its small profits to fund his venture into fans in 1999 at age 46.

Carey visited thousands of facilities while running his first start- up. He saw time and time again how people turned to a relatively simple device – fans – in their quest for comfort. But traditional box and pedestal fans moved little air, took up valuable floor space and used inefficient motors. The solution: a large ceiling fan that would use its size – not speed – to move high volumes of air across these expansive spaces. With incredibly efficient motors, these fans would cost mere pennies per hour to operate. In 2013, the company started Big Ass Light, which offers energy- efficient lighting for industrial and commercial facilities.

Because he refused to lay off employees during the Great Recession and even hired, Inc. named him “Economy Hero” in 2011. That same year, Ernst & Young named him a regional Entrepreneur of the Year.

Carey is now focused on how Big Ass Solutions can become a 200-year company, one that acts always in the best long-term interests of its customers, employees and suppliers.

Jennifer Fleiss is the Co-Founder and Head of Business Development at Rent the Runway, a business that has transformed the retail industry by making designer dress and accessory rentals a convenient and accessible luxury experience for millions of women. With over 3.5 million members, 200 employees and over 175 designer brands, Rent the Runway is pioneering an apparel business in the new sharing economy with the overall mission to democratize luxury for women everywhere.

Jenny has been honored with Inc.’s “30 Under 30”; Fortune Magazine’s “40 Under 40” and “Most Powerful Women Entrepreneurs”; Fast Company’s “Most Influential Women in Technology” and was a finalist for Ernst & Young’s Entrepreneur of the Year.

She started her career at Morgan Stanley in the Strategic Planning Group crafting long-term company strategy. She then moved on to Lehman Brothers’ Asset Management Group where she was responsible for analyzing business growth opportunities through acquisitions, international expansion and new product strategies. A natural entrepreneur, Jenny founded an essay-editing and coaching service for college applicants, and built the company into an online tutoring service. In 2007, Jenny began at Harvard Business School where she met fellow co-founder and friend, Jennifer Hyman. As sectionmates, the two women would meet frequently to discuss entrepreneurial ideas, one of which was Rent the Runway.

Jenny received her Bachelor of Arts from Yale University in 2005 graduating Cum Laude and her Masters of Business Administration from Harvard Business School in 2009. Jenny is a member of the New York Economic and Development Corporation and a member of the Young Entrepreneurs Council. She currently resides in New York City with her husband and daughter.

Ben Kaufman—Breaker, Maker, Founder and CEO of Quirky—makes invention accessible. At 18, he founded his first company, mophie, and learned just how difficult it is to bring one single product to market. In 2009, Ben launched Quirky to break down the barriers to invention and allow creative people all over the world to invent together. He’s helped hundreds of everyday inventors bring their product ideas to life and forged partnerships with the world’s largest retailers to sell those products. Today, Ben and Quirky continue to redefine the way the world thinks about product development and invention.

Quirky makes invention accessible by bringing real people’s product ideas to life. To take ideas from pipe dream to consumer product, an in-house team of designers and engineers collaborates with Quirky’s online community on nearly all aspects of development. Anyone can make their mark by submitting a problem-solving idea or weighing in on others. And when a product is sold, Quirky shares its revenue with every community member that had an impact. Founded by Ben Kaufman in 2009, Quirky’s products can be found at The Home Depot, Best Buy, Bed Bath & Beyond, Target,, and of course –

I loved meeting with Himanshu Palsule, that guy really knows his stuff as CTO of Sage! Super nice guy, and a pleasure to talk to. That guy is just awesome, he watches my tweets and takes a selfie right on stage after tweeting @sagenamerica that he should take a selfie on stage. Love that guy! Here’s a backgrounder from Sage regarding their CTO:

Himanshu has a strong background in business software, research and development, and technology.

In 1985, he started his career in IT. Since then, he’s worked for companies that specialize in business software and has been leading research and development efforts that grew sales at those companies.

Himanshu joined Sage in 1997 as a senior vice president. In 2012, he became the CTO and head of strategy.

Married to his college sweetheart, he has three kids and is interested in quantum physics in his spare time. Really.

I also had great conversations with Pascal Houillon, CEO of Sage. Great guy and another great person to talk to. Everyone from Sage is so amazing, you can truly see they love working at Sage. Here’s a backgrounder regarding Sage’s finest.

Pascal has more than 20 years of experience providing business software, has founded a small business, and has spent nearly a decade leading the technology sector.

He started his career as a systems analyst for UAP insurance in France. In the late eighties, he started his own small business, cofounding Sinequanon, a company that provided business management solutions.

In 1989, he joined Sage when the company he worked for, Sybel, was acquired. Pascal became CEO of Sage France in 1997 and six years later headed additional offices—Belgium, Brazil, Switzerland, and Morocco. Because of his success, in 2010 Pascal became CEO of Sage North America and heads our Brazil office as well.

Pascal lives in Orange County, speaks French, and rocks out to Queen occasionally.

The guy rocks out to Queen. You just know he’s too cool for school.

For my tips for bloggers wanting to attend Sage Summit, it’s not JUST an accounting conference. There were conversations from Pimm Fox from Bloomberg Media which was quite interesting. Personally, I wouldn’t go up on stage and give out my personal cell number to thousands of people, but that’s just me. I also enjoyed the conversation from Rich Karlgaard from Forbes. One I truly enjoyed, (just the tech stuff) was Mastercard’s keynote. A lot of it I found was a corporate advertisement, but there was a LOT of information there in regards to tech and payment processing, which I just drooled over! I also loved hearing Eric Schurenberg from Inc. talk.  Yes, there is a lot of accounting based breakout sessions which I didn’t attend. However, going just for the keynotes is totally 100% worth it. I LOVED talking to Bruce Croxon from Round 13 Capital, that man is absolutely amazing. I’ve never really enjoyed talking to anyone so much as I enjoyed talking to Bruce Croxon. I wasn’t able to squeeze into his session though, which I found disappointing. I do suggest for Sage to add more seats to their best sessions. Many of the sessions when I went to register for them were full.

There were many tracks at Sage Summit including Business Performance in the Digital Age, Industry best practices, Managing risk and data security, Maximizing your workforce and benefits, Navigating the regulatory landscape, and Strengthening sales, marketing, and customer relationships. 

I suggest bringing along good running shoes as you’ll be walking lots. This isn’t as big of a convention as CES, it’s about the size of CES Unveiled, but way less packed. For the bloggers, take your camera with you but don’t get disappointed if you get told you can’t record something. Bring business cards! You never know if you’ll run into Bruce Croxon, Magic Johnson or Biz Stone in the halls or just walking around Sage Summit. You don’t want to be the person writing your contact information on that leftover napkin sitting in your back pocket from breakfast.

Sage Summit 2015 will be taking place in New Orleans! I do plan on attending, hopefully I can tag along with Sage, cause I REALLY LOVED Sage Summit 2014. Hopefully I’ll have another contest for my amazing readers to attend Sage Summit. My AMAZING reader, Sandy T.  and Calvin H. won an all expenses paid trip to Sage Summit 2014, and I can tell you, they had a blast! Maybe you’ll be the lucky person attending Sage Summit 2015, you’ll be happy you read if you win. Please also stay tuned for a coupon code for a fabulous discount to Sage Summit 2015 in the months to comes. HELLO NOLA!

A huge shoutout to the amazing people at Sage that made this happen. You guys ROCK! I have lots of photos from Sage Summit, just planning on how to use them without ticking off my web host. Stay tuned for the gallery! (More pictures will be uploaded)

More information about Sage Summit can be found at

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Jessica Simpson
Jessica Simpson

Jessica is the founder and editor-in-chief of Covering major tech shows such as CES, Jessica is always there for the latest tech news. Want your gadget to be reviewed or have a release you'd like to be considered for publishing? Send Jessica an email, jessica [at]

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