I received a press release about the Dachis Social Business Summit 2013, which is a broadly international event, in six cities on four continents. From the release:
Dachis Group, a leading data-driven social marketing solutions firm, today announced the schedule for the fourth annual Social Business Summit 2013 global series, taking place in seven cities across four continents throughout 2013.
Oracle will be the exclusive sponsor of Dachis Group’s Social Business Summit 2013.
The Social Business Summit 2013 global series will take place in Tokyo on February 6th, Austin on March 7th, Shanghai on April 11th, Mumbai on May 23rd, London on June 20th, Sao Paulo on July 25th, and New York on September 19th.
Over the years, Dachis Group’s Social Business Summit series has become the “must attend” event for anyone interested in data-driven social marketing and social business. The series has grown significantly, expanding from one summit in 2009 to seven summits in 2013, engaging thousands of industry practitioners, senior executives, and thought leaders. Social Business Summit 2013 is a global invitation-only series that explores the most progressive ideas in data-driven social marketing and social business, fosters an ongoing dialog among participants, and engages social business and social marketing practitioners in real-time at day-long events around the globe.
I have an unusual relationship with the conference: I was asked to speak at the first, in 2010, but had to cancel the day before because my mother fell seriously ill, and passed away a few weeks later. Oddly, I haven’t attended any others, but that is perhaps due to the pivot in the Dachis business model. Originally, it seemed the company was positioning itself as a social business consulting firm, helping large companies turn the corner into social business. So the conference quickly turned from a conclave of people pushing at what social business means into a sales tour for Dachis services, and later on, social media software. Perhaps no surprise but Dachis wandered into build a social media marketing toolkit.
My sense is that they had serious competition when well-established management consulting firms — McKinsey, Accenture, Deloitte, Booz, etc. — develop social business practices. I heard a lot of rumors that instead of high margin strategic consulting gigs with Fortune 500 companies they were scrambling to build Facebook pages with a staff of 20-somethings. At the same time, a lot of the strategic brain trust were leaving to do other things, like Dave Gray (founder of Xplane, and SVP at Dachis after the Xplane acquisition), Kate Niederhofer, and Jevon MacDonald (founder, and now at SalesForce).
[Update 2 January 2013: I have been reminded by several folks that I omitted Peter Kim from the list of the departed founders. He left the company in September, joining R/GA, the digital agency of Interpublic Group, where he is managing director of business transformation.]
So the news that jumps out from the press release is Oracle as sole sponsor for the summit series. So when a large software vendor is sponsoring a series of sales events — which is what the Summit seems to have become — you have to wonder: when is the acquisition going to happen?
Recently, my old friend Dion Hinchcliffe was promoted to Chief Strategy Officer for Dachis, and he is a deep, deep software architecture wizard. He, more than any of the others at Dachis that I know, could offer the kind of long-range thinking about social marketing technology that would help Dachis — and Oracle — broaden their product depth and focus.
Oracle is coming late to the social enterprise battlefield, but it has lots of money and thousands of customers to sell Dachis offerings to. My first 2013 prediction: I bet is that there is an implicit or explicit agreement, a test run period to see what happens when Oracle and Dachis sell together for a while, and then a deal will be struck.