Adam Mason is the Vice President of Customer Success and Innovation at Acorio, as well as the head of our Customer Service Management practice. He was originally a ServiceNow customer and Knowledge Hackathon winner before joining Acorio over three years ago.  Adam has worked extensively with ServiceNow and loves sharing his ideas and enthusiasm for the platform. 

Find Adam at Next Mason | @NextMason | LinkedIn Next Mason

You can enter to win Acorio’s online sweepstakes here or come by Booth 419 to pick up some of our swag and thought leadership materials.

It’s hard to believe, but Knowledge 17 will be my 6th Knowledge conference. One thing is for sure: our ServiceNow community has come a long way since K11 in San Diego. Personally, it’s been rewarding to watch other companies (and even the stock market) discover ServiceNow and join our growing community.

Acorio has also grown from the small booth at K13 where current COO, Sven Ingard, offered me a job. This year, we are bringing over 30 people, including 18 of our delivery staff who will serve as ServiceNow Pre-Conference TA’s, mainstage speakers for Asset Management and Customer Enablement, and CreatorCon presenters.  We will also see six of our clients giving presentations and facilitating breakout sessions.

Between the 30 of us, we have logged over 1,920 hours at past Knowledge conferences (excluding a couple hours that some people slept through the second morning). If you have gone before, you know the conference can be equal parts exhilarating and exhausting. And if you’ll be packing for your first conference this week: welcome to the adventure! Either way, having a solid plan can help you maximize your experience while attending and even, as in my case, change your life.

But how do you achieve a life-changing conference? I asked our team to share their best advice for surviving and thriving at K17. Here are 35 of Acorio’s best tips:

Preparing for Knowledge

The team had a lot of tips surrounding how to plan your sessions and maximize your time at the conference:

1. Download the app, and use It!  The benefit is that you can rearrange your schedule on the fly and have flexibility. (You can find details on the App here) – Dale Meyer-Curley (DALEMC_PSC)

2. Register for some sessions and breakouts that are outside your comfort zone. Growing happens!Take the track for the job you want, even if it’s not for the job you have. – Carleen Carter (carleen)

3. If you are new to ServiceNow or an exec expanding your vision of what it can do for you, bias your session registrations towards the shorter breakout sessions. That way you can fit more sessions in and find the right success stories and contacts that can help you expand your understanding. – EricSmith (esmith)

4. If you are an established ServiceNow client, bias your session registrations towards labs. Labs provide richer content and longer lasting impact on your understanding of ServiceNow capabilities.Hands-on feeds retention. – Eric Smith

5. Labs are great to learn new topics or take your existing knowledge to the next level.  – KristinaNoreikis (@KNoriekis)

6. Two awesome sessions at the same time?  Divide and conquer with your co-workers. Take notes to share afterward with the slide deck. – Carleen Carter

7. Helped anyone recently via the ServiceNow Community? Been helped by anyone via the Community recently? Set aside time to meet IRL! – Jeremy Mandle (jmandle)

9. Do not overload on Labs.  By day three, your brain will be mush. – Damian R. Broccoli(@nullreturned)

10.Schedule Downtime (and use it) – Brian Uhelski (brianu)

They also had quite a lot to say on what to pack (specifically for your feet):  

10. Pack comfortable shoes, shoes, shoes! – Tom Sweeney (tasweeney) (and echoed by Damian, Jeremy, Carleen and Sean McIntosh) (Note from Adam: for those who know me, I always bring plenty of extra socks… )

11. Bring an extra luggage tag for the backpack you’ll receive at registration. – Jeremy Mandle

12. Bring business cards – Tom Sweeney

And finally, just a little advice to help you get a leg up around your friends:

13. Start a step counter competition with a friend the week before Knowledge.  Underwhelm them with your weekly step count and then make a bet that you’ll beat them the following week. –Carleen Carter (Note from Adam: not that this is in Vegas this year where gambling is legal, but this is also a great way to fund your conference)

Maximize Your Time While at Knowledge Some thoughts on K17’s “Musts”  

14. Talk to the experts! Find opportunities to save lost/wasted money with ServiceNow. That’s the stuff that gets people promoted! – Carleen Carter

15. Don’t skip the keynotes. They’re a great insight to see where Service now is headed – Dale Meyer-Curley

16. Make sure to find time to socialize. Usually, there are mini-user groups based on industry, it’s a great place to connect. – Dale Meyer-Curley

17. Don’t reinvent the wheel! Network in and outside of your vertical and learn from other customers’successes and mistakes. – Carleen Carter

18. TALK to people at the breakfast & lunch tables. Don’t sit with people from your team or company, spread out.  

19. Get your picture taken with the giant power button characters – Marci Parker (marciparker)

20. Spread your group out – encourage your colleagues to sit with a different group at every lunch.Strike up a conversation!  You never know what great success story or fantastic connection you might find. – Eric Smith

21. Visit every booth (like at Acorio’s Booth #419) not for the swag! It’s hard to understand what some vendors do or can offer your organization by reading their booth posters. Once you talk to them you may discover more, and you may discover utility for your organization. Quickly identify the ones that may be of use to your company and then take the time to have a good conversation as needed. – Eric Smith

Ideas to ensure you remember what you learned

22. Make a habit of writing down anything interesting that you see or hear. There will be a lot of amazing things and after so many days your list may be too long to remember.  – Kristina Noreikis

23. As an attendee leave a little “me time” to jot down what you learned for the day, who you met and what you plan to do once you’re back at work – Tom Sweeney

24. Come with questions you want to have answered, and at least two people you want to meet in person. – Meghan Lockwood

25. When you get a card jot down a note of what you discussed with that person. – Tom Sweeney

26. K17 Tip: If you find yourself in a session that isn’t interesting you, was not as advertised… bail and find another. I do this every year at least once. – Jeremy Mandle  (I’ve been in as many as three sessions in one-hour time slot… not gonna stay if the value isn’t there! – Eric Smith)

Thoughts about self-care while at K17

27. Knowledge is a marathon, not a sprint.  Eat, sleep, and take a breather from time to time. – Damian R. Broccoli (Note from Adam: I normally schedule a massage for right AFTER knowledge is over…it’s a lifesaver after 3 days of being on your feet.)

28. (Shoes again!) Wear the comfortable clothes and shoes you packed. You will do lots of walking and standing. – Carleen Carter

29. Rest and hydrate. – Eric Smith

30. You need lots of energy; I use Berocca.  – Jono Koster (jono)


And finally. Here’s our one shameless plug for Booth 419

(care of Acorio Marketing Director, Meghan Lockwood @meghanllockwood).

31. Enter our online sweepstakes for a chance to win Bose Noise Quieting headphones and a host of other prizes

32. Plus, stop by Acorio’s booth (419) to talk through a key challenge you are facing, see our new Demo site showcasing our modern, intuitive UX, or pick up some of our thought leadership to read later!

Post-Knowledge Action Plan

Our final tips on ensuring you make the most of your experience at K17…

33. Export your work from every lab instance immediately. Those instances get terminated super-fast!– Jeremy Mandle

34. If you miss a session that you were interested in due to a conflicting session that you were more
interested in, download the PDF of the slides from the Knowledge17 website and review them.Reach out to the presenter directly to connect and ask questions after the week of Knowledge.Most will appreciate your interest and give you the details you missed. (This assumes that the PDFs are going to be available as they have in years past!) – Eric Smith

35. Create a Trip Report for your manager. Make it a (slightly compressed) compilation of your notes from “me time.” Use this as your improvement agenda for next year, and add it to your growth goals (So that you can ensure you will go back next year!) – Tom Sweeney

With those 35 tips, you should be armed to have your best Knowledge ever. I look forward to seeing you there!

NOTE: This content was originally posted by Adam Mason on May 1, 2017 on the Acorio website at The Acorio brand retired in April 2023 after acquisition by NTT DATA. Some links may no longer work