General Sessions

Aaron Fulkerson
Nintendo and MindTouch

Aaron Fulkerson, CEO and Co-founder of MindTouch, will illustrate how companies can change the customer total information experience by using content as a strategic framework. The discussion will include how companies are using product support to build loyalty and create happy customers, why collaboration and contextual interaction are so important to the mix, and how you can build a business case to get executive buy-in.

Come with questions for our panelists in this interactive keynote presentation.

LavaCon 2013: Keynote 9: Aaron Fulkerson, MindTouch: Elevating the Customer Experience: Using Content to Transform Engagement from LavaCon Conference on Vimeo.


Free, Open to the Public. For details, see the Adobe Day site.

Andrea Ames
Sr. Information Experience Strategist, IBM

How can we accomplish more with less? Work smarter, not harder? Get things done through people? Team more? Do these seem like the latest string of corporate buzz phrases? For better or worse, when working within the enterprise content strategy ecosystem, these concepts are real! So how do we do these things? Influence!

At some point, an individual will max-out capacity, burn out, get sick, or worse. By getting things done through other people, we can multiply our personal capacity and ability to do more. By effectively influencing those other people, we can get more of the right things done.

By focusing people to do more of the right things, we have the potential to achieve more value with less—fewer people, less money—and in this economy, we’re all surviving with less of everything. To do all of this, however, influence is the key.

Join Andrea to learn more about the concept of influence as a critical leadership capability, its key components, and how it can be used to benefit business and add career value. You will learn the art of influencing without authority, how to become personally influential, and how to lead teams and overcome obstacles through influence.

Andrew Thomas
Product Marketing Director, SDL Content Management Technologies

Last year at LavaCon, I presented some ideas that confronted the common wisdom still in place for many companies. This year we’ll take a fresh look at the new common sense emerging around structured content. Does print still matter? Do page or word counts? Is DITA delivering on its promise of automated publishing, lower costs, and reusable content? Is social content actually important? And what does tech pubs have to do with customer experience really? Isn’t it all just a bunch of marketing hype? I’ll give some updates on how far we’ve come in a year, and we can try to answer these questions together.

Joe Gollner
Director, Gnostyx Research

There is a lot of bad content out there. The question to be tackled is why is this the case? There may be one obvious answer in that many organizations just don’t get it. But this answer does not account for the mass of bad content that forces itself into view each and every day. In all too many cases, the bad content appears even when the intent to provide good content is present and even when good people are brought in to help make it so.

We soon recognize that the real question to be answered is what can be done to make things better. With reference to a number of recent project experiences, this presentation will explore the techniques that can be applied in any organization to force out bad content and to make good content the order of the day. As the reference embedded in the title of this talk suggests, the techniques showcased in the case studies mix together some management toughness with the rigorous application of engineering discipline to the design and operation of effective content processes.

The insights that emerge from these experiences will be relevant to everyone participating in the content industry whether as communication professionals, as organizational managers or as technology vendors. And they will be relevant because they provide a glimpse into the shape that the content industry will increasingly assume over the next few years.

LavaCon 2013: Keynote 10: Joe Gollner, Director, Gnostyx Research: Breaking Bad Content from LavaCon Conference on Vimeo.


As “content strategy” supplants “responsive design” as the latest buzzword in technical communication – understanding how to effectively increase ROI from your process and tools is essential.  Reducing support costs, cutting project development time, and simplifying your translation workflow are just a few objectives companies strive for when implementing a sound content development strategy. Join Jose Sermeno of MadCap Software as he spotlights major trends and showcases case studies from companies utilizing concepts of single source development, topic-based writing, social collaboration and translation management to increase ROI and be successful content developers.

Kapil Verma
Senior Prduct Manager, Adobe Systems

The fields of technical communications and content development are evolving rapidly and these developments are changing the way we do our work. Today’s content professionals are tasked with finding efficiencies in the content development process, making content “intelligent” which can be adapted to various devices, and finding new ways of engaging the end user community, which is becoming much more impatient and at the same time more active in the content creation process.

In this presentation, Kapil Verma, Sr. Product Manager, Adobe Systems, will discuss the state of the industry and the key trends that are shaping our future. He will try and gaze into his crystal ball to paint a picture of what the future of Technical Communications may look like and what it means for the professionals today. As part of this presentation, he will also be sharing some interesting findings from a survey done with content developers.

Lori Fisher
Director of Information Management User Technology, IBM

Gone are the days when a writer’s day was spent telling users to “enter your name in the Name field.” Instead, we have grown as a profession, keeping up with changes in customer demographics and changes in publishing technology. We are on the brink of yet another evolutionary quantum leap that is reshaping the very core of our profession: transitioning from just “content developers” to “solution providers.”

Yet change never comes easy, especially not when you are leading a global team of content developers though a major process and paradigm shift. It takes strategic vision, C-level buy in and budgets to back it up. It takes strategic planning, infrastructure, retraining and the deft ability to overcome resistance to change.

In this keynote presentation, Lori Fisher, the Director of Information Management User Technology at IBM, shares how she is leading such a major transformation in her company: where they started, how they did it, and what’s next on the horizon.

LavaCon Keynote #7:Lori Fisher, IBM: A Leap in Value Evolution: from “Developing Content” to “Solving Business Problems” from LavaCon Conference on Vimeo.

Nick Finck
Senior Manager of User Experience at Amazon AWS

In this session, Nick Finck will explore the topic of content strategy and its role in relation to the overall user experience. This is a high-level talk on seeing the bigger picture of what it means to ensure your customers have a good experience and what is necessary to achieve that be it for websites, mobile apps, in-store, in-car, or in the living room. He will explain how to integrate content strategy into your existing digital design practice and beyond.

Lavacon 2013 Keynote 8: Nick Fink: How Content Strategy Fits Into the User Experience from LavaCon Conference on Vimeo.

Slide Deck: Nick Finck:  How Content Strategy Fits Into the User Experience – LavaCon 2013 on Speaker Deck.

Noz Urbina
Senior Consultant, Mekon

It seems sometimes like management engagement with your content strategy is like a great mystical prize sealed up in the highest tower of a maze-like castle; and there’s a huge moat; and the whole thing is on top of a mountain…

To actually reach it is a challenge that will in itself take a strategy, special tools (and weapons?), and a great mountain-climbing, maze-solving team.

Noz Urbina shares some of his experience on how we can get closer to our content strategy objectives by not falling at the first barrier: getting the necessary support to develop and implement it. Based on a career selling content strategies into a diverse range of organisations – from a few hundred staff to tens-of-thousands – some of his tips will involve judicious use of common sense, and others will be potentially surprising.  Learn how you can storm that castle, and claim your prize.

Sarah O’Keefe
Founder, Scriptorium Publishing

Content initiatives are putting new demands on technical communication—improving customer experience, building interactive documents, including advanced visualizations, integrated translations, and more.

To meet these requirements, we must increase the velocity of technical communication. That means stripping out inefficiency and creating content development workflows that eliminate wasted time. Most publishing systems are ill-equipped for flexible, fast, and changeable production. Instead, they are intended to support a manufacturing process, in which the result is static (like print or PDF).

For today’s workflows, this approach is not good enough. We must increase our velocity so that we can support the requirements that are coming.

Tom Aldous
Senior Vice President of Global Operations, Acrolinx

In this session, Tom Aldous from Acrolinx will present a practical view of the key components of making content strategy happen. Using concrete real-life examples, the presentation will show how executing on a content strategy means implementing three aspects: governance, optimization, and analytics.

Governance means setting standards and setting up processes to ensure that standards are maintained. Content Analytics are critical in understanding where your content needs attention, and delivering metrics and reporting on content. The final piece of the puzzle is Content Optimization, which involves ensuring that content creators get the support they need in writing content that is findable (“search-ready”), translatable (“global-ready”), and in tune with its target audience (“people-ready”).

Victoria Koster-Lenhardt
Global Employment Consultant to the US State Department

Due to no fault of your own, you never know when you’re going to get laid off these days. So be prepared. Even though the US economy and jobs for content professionals are looking up, our industry is going through a major paradigm shift. And it’s not about tools. Some people say it’s time to adapt or die. In fact, the leaders in our field do just that. They adapt. What it really takes is knowing and doing work you want to do that people want to pay for, expanding your skills to match your passions and core values, becoming a recognized expert, and embracing the lessons from your perceived failures.

It also takes a lifetime of networking where you allow yourself to be known. It’s about engaging with people who you find interesting and want to work with professionally. Every time you meet someone, your journey has the potential for positive change. “Everything you do counts,” wrote Joan Didion in many of her writings. Every person you meet matters. This keynote session will inspire you to explore a new course for your professional life; one that is more rewarding and fulfilling. There is nothing accidental about your career. Your dream job is closer than you think. Are you ready to seize the opportunity?

LavaCon 2013 Keynote #1: Victoria Koster-Lenhardt: The Expanding Role of Content Professionals: Seize the Opportunity! from LavaCon Conference on Vimeo.