The Magic of WPP Stream

This year I’m excited to have participated in WPP Stream for the 3rd time, and I already hope to be coming back next year! As a person who is used to attending a lot of conferences and events, I may hear you ask, what’s so exciting about an un-conference anyway? Well, usually, when I go to conferences, I tend to miss 95% of the content — just because I typically go more for the people than the content. Also, most conferences follow a life-cycle — they go from small, to great, to profitable — the latter one usually involves lots of sponsors and paid guests that dilute the original concept. Stream is different! It was the 10th anniversary and I think the format is here to stay.

The Stream Band performing at WPP Stream 2016

At Stream, attendance means that you are committed to going “all-in” on every activity. Actually, if you don’t want to give your all — you’d better not go, since it probably won’t work for you. At Stream, close to 100% of the content is ‘created’ by the participants. All sessions, whether it’s sports, contests, pitches, powerpoint karaoke and even midnight cooking and music, are performed by the attendees (aka Streamers). Everyone at Stream is looking to share, to learn and to take away the most from the three days. What I particularly like is that the format is largely bulls**t and sales-pitch free, so participants can learn and exchange in a relaxed environment.

To the participants. They are hand-selected by the amazing WPP Stream team. You meet the movers and shakers of the advertising industry as well as inspirational characters and thought leaders. The kind of people you would just love to meet anyway, Stream gives you the opportunity to rub shoulders and discuss, do sports, cook, build bonfires or Lego models with them.

Discussions at WPP Stream 2016

Really? Sounds like magic — how is this possible? Just imagine what goes on behind the scenes to make three days’ worth of around 10 sessions per hour look effortless. As a participant you have the impression that everything flows together so easily, so you can relax from the beginning. Here I’d like to draw the parallel between Stream and ballet: What makes ballet look effortlessly and gracefully is the result of countless hours of blood, sweat and tears that go into the finished performance. Stream requires an amazing amount of very hard work and dedication from a lot of people so that we, as participants, can enjoy a sensational relaxed weekend of great performance!

So now, as I am on my way home from 3 jam-packed days of sharing, learning and meeting great people — I am already impatient to come back for Stream 2017!

by: Robert Lang, CEO, Socialbakers