Recordings and slides from Platform Strategies 2018 are now available on our website, and we’re delighted to share more reflections from our team on the incredible insights shared during the conference. (Click here for Part 1.)

PS18 Thane


Melody Holley, Product Delivery Manager

My initial expectation for the meeting was that the material would be heavily technology-focused. To my pleasant surprise, while technology was discussed, there was a lot of focus around the people at the organization and the overall user experience. I enjoyed the panel format and seeing different opinions around each theme.


Lisa Cunningham, Product Delivery Manager         

Observations that I found most interesting:

  • Voice - The data from Tobias (WillowTree) around speaking vs. typing and reading vs. listening really made sense – I see that in my own daily activities. Now how do we use that data to drive effective technology solutions?
  • Mobile usage – It occurred to me that we are so used to sitting in front of our big monitors as we develop, test, and demo the work we do that mobile can become secondary. Sometimes even just laptop screen vs. larger monitor is worth consideration. How can we learn new habits to be more mindful of a variety of devices that our end users might prefer?
  • Education - having worked with McGraw-Hill Education for a number of years, I am challenged to think about new ways to help them achieve their goals in the marketplace.
  • Search is what you do when you know what you are looking for. Discovery is what happens when you don't know quite where to start.

Peter Torres, Recruiter

As a relative newcomer to Silverchair, I found Platform Strategies very helpful in understanding the work we do and the players we serve and partner alongside. In conversation, many people I engaged were excited to hear about our growth goals and the teams we are building. As it applies to my area of expertise, my favorite speaker was Anna Salt Troise from the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons around Change Management and how to get the right people to do the right things. Her presentation, which tied Culture, People, Technology, Process, and Structure, are all areas I cover when engaging talent for Silverchair. Building teams that have a tolerance for innovation, experimentation, risk-taking, and not being afraid of failure are all key to success in any position we are looking to fill. Continual professional development and the sharing/learning of information is something I hear from candidates when vetting a potential employer.

Milena Koussa, Senior Product Owner

  • I greatly enjoyed the time with our clients and partners. There is something extra that we gain from a handshake, a smile, and face-to-face conversations.
  • Allison Belan and Daniel Griffin's presentation was wonderful. Seeing how our tools help our clients is a good feeling, as is seeing how we can improve them.
  • I was impressed with the themes across all panels: unified platform, the people at an organization, the users’ needs (plus a discussion about who is the user).
  • "We don't see things as they are. We see them as we are." This quote made me think about how we can apply this to our thinking / discussions at Silverchair. I also liked the quote, "What got us here, won't get us there." This one specifically can be applied to what we do at Silverchair. We are constantly changing and having to re-evaluate our processes.
  • I appreciated hearing the speakers discuss how you must build the right team and invest in people.

Niall Little, Associate Director, Architecture

  • I took away that there is a disconnect between publishers and data scientists with how search and discovery should be driven. Should we be curating subjects or let the machines pull them out?
  • There seems to not be a clear sense for how publishing is going to react to disrupters (ranging from government disruptions to SciHub) - a lot of people seem on the back foot at the moment.
  • Publishers still tend to focus on librarians, not readers. Even a VP of a publishing company used SciHub when he had a diagnosis because he couldn't figure out how he had access. Kopernio and Google's CASA are trying to solve these types of use cases with the end user in mind.

Nicole Brown, Product Owner

Themes that specifically spoke to me both within our industry and at Silverchair:

  • As leaders, it is important to understand the difference between empowerment and entrapment. Culturally Silverchair promotes empowering all of us, but it is easy to lose sight on how to effectively empower. Entrapment is setting others up on a well-painted picturesque journey but not really providing fundamental context. Empowerment, meanwhile, provides thoughtful data, context, and encourages individuals along the way.
  • One can not define an "MVP" without defining "who is it viable for?" At the base, anything can be an MVP, but understanding your goals, intended use case, and user scenarios allow you to develop with strategy and intention. It's easy to descope complex work at face value but when we reflect back on the goals, use cases, and users that will be impacted, we may find it advantageous to pick up some of the heavy lifting early on.
  • Accept and tolerate failure. The more we tolerate failure the better we get at failing which means we will fail earlier in the process, not at the end.
  • Lastly, my biggest takeaway from Platform Strategies is that it remains crucial for Silverchair to focus on its existing clients. It is easy to focus on new builds, flashy new features, and exciting new industry groups, but we cannot build on those without a strong foundation. I mean, Toy Story wouldn't have been a great movie without Buzz AND Woody. We pride ourselves on providing a partner relationship (vs. Vendor/Client) and I look forward to our new Customer Success team positively impacting our clients.

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