At Your Clouds Can 2019, Futurism and IBM turned the typical conference structure on its head. During the day-long event, a select group of individuals visited four different NYC companies that use cloud computing to innovate in their fields – all while exploring topics like vision, design, and scale.

Here are a few of the key takeaways from Your Clouds Can 2019.


It all starts with a vision for how to create a deeper connection with your customers by delivering on their needs and desires proactively. How do you orient your organization around this North Star?

1. Who are you really competing against?

In order to fully understand your organization’s trajectory and the needs and expectations of your customers, it’s best to determine exactly who (or what) your competition is. While all of us are working to make the world a better place and trying to make life easier for our customers, the realm of business competition is shifting.

“We used to compete with people who made a product like ours. Now we compete against the best customer interaction that your customer has had anywhere.”

- Deborah Leff. Global Leader and Industry CTO for Data Science at AI Elite Team at IBM


Data is your most valuable resource. But like any untapped resource, it takes work, understanding, and human ingenuity to fully utilize the resource and unleash the true power of data.

2. Strategy is paramount to getting the most out of your data.

Data must be analyzed, leveraged, shaped, and developed, but the data itself has no value unless it’s rooted in strategy. How your company organizes data, the way your teams work to mine insights and make recommendations with that data is absolutely vital and part and parcel to the value of your data.

“We get calls from a lot of advertising partners, asking for a trend newsletter… and the answer is you can’t, all of these insights don’t work for everybody.”

- Talia Halperin, VP of Brand Partnerships, BuzzFeed

With the right team and proper organization, you can take your raw stone data and yield highly polished, precious gems.


Think big. Start small. Move fast. If you don’t know what you’re testing, all the results in the world will tell you nothing. These Lean Startup concepts are not new but they are becoming ever more important when leveraging data and building for scale.

3. Flywheel: spinning into a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Successful businesses transition from giving their customers what the executives think they want, to giving their customers what they actually want, based on data, feedback, insight, and experimentation.

“What are consumers actually saying about my brands, my business? How do I take what my consumer is saying and help fuel product development? And then you take product development, you provide products that people actually want, they love, they like, and that's the point where you can then have the data relationship with them to then stick it back into the system to keep listening to them, to keep building better product.”

- Mike Simpson, CMO, Stanley Black and Decker

To access the remaining 7 key takeaways from the event, visit

Futurism fans: To create this content, a non-editorial team worked with IBM, who sponsored this post. They help us keep the lights on. This post does not reflect the views or the endorsement of the editorial staff.

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