5 Things I Learned at Adweek's Messaging Tech

Today I attended Adweek’s Message Tech hosted by Bonin Ventures. As members of the messaging community, it’s easy to get stuck in your day-to-day projects—only thinking about your technology, your clients, and your challenges--and that can become a bit of a black hole. The Message Tech event was an amazing way to gain interesting and varied perspectives from members of the messaging community. Here are 5 things I learned today.



1.)   Toronto, Canada and Tallinn, Estonia are two model cities for messaging technology
One of the best talks of the day was with Bonin Bough and Masha Gindler, Deputy Director, NYC Mayor’s Office of the Chief Technology Officer. She gave fascinating insight into the virtues and challenges of using text messaging in order to offer or explain city services. One of the most interesting launches in messaging for their office this year was NYC Well.  NYC Well is a way to text a mental health professional with any questions or concerns, and allows all citizens of New York access to mental health services regardless of income. (Masha said it’s become “the pulse of New York”, with the quantity of calls spiking around large events--such as the presidential election). When asked what cities leverage new technologies and messaging the best, Masha said it’s Toronto and Tallinn—two cities who were able to utilize the best in technology and not be weighed down by legacy systems—that she dreams of modeling NYC tech after (not your old pal SF!)


2.)    Alexa is the best bet for the voice messaging community (with Google coming closely behind)
I listened to a great panel with reps from Vayner Media, Snaps, and Fresh Digital. When asked which voice platform they would bet on (and invest in technology for), all three said “Amazon”, with Doug Robinson from Fresh Digital hedging his bet, adding “with Google Home being closely behind”.



3.)   Everyone thinks we’re in the pre-“scratching-the-surface” stage of messaging
Throughout the event, it became very clear that each founder and messaging expert thinks we’re in the pre-pre-pre-early stages of this industry. So if you think you’ve seen it all, think again—the messaging community thinks you ain’t seen nothing yet…



4.)    Most messaging companies are struggling with the challenge of market education
Throughout the day, in some way or another, most of the messaging founders said the same statement over and over. The theme was best expressed by Elias Guerra from PopWallet, who said, “Our biggest challenges is often educating the market on what a chatbot is, and then shortly thereafter, the best way to use it. There is a lot of misinformation.”

 5.)    Messaging content is developing into a new art form, and a future job opportunity.
Another theme throughout the day, was that a new field of writing content for messaging and chatbots is emerging into a crucial need. Writing content for messaging is very different than for other digital marketing fields. This is being exhibited by Yarn and Hooked, which  delivers teen fiction via messaging. So as new messaging and bot platforms are created, they are requiring different skill sets and talents for making them grow. If you’re a funny, clever, and succinct writer—the future is looking bright!