Want to be treated like a rockstar (and see some real rockstars)? Become a Qualtrics customer. 

The first day of the inaugural Qualtrics Insights Summit started was energizing, and full of learning and networking. 

The stage is set...
CEO Ryan Smith kicked off the day with an energizing, heartfelt and future-focused keynote bringing the audience on the journey of the company genesis story starting in not a garage but a basement, Smith's parents' basement. With a laser-focus on making data collection faster and easier for researchers, Smith has taken the company from the basement to the Summit. Qualtrics is in hypergrowth mode, quadrupling their engineering team to keep up with new customers and demand. With 5000+ corporate users, a million enterprise users, and "at least a thousand in this room, we're a long way from that basement when no-one would listen to us" said Smith. He also teased some new product updates to be announced tomorrow.

And just like Google, Qualtrics is fast on it's way to becoming a verb. Overheard at a business school recently (most of the top business schools are customers): if the answer needs to be sought out through customer feedback, "just Qualtrics it." 

Next up was Dan Ariely, professor of psychology and behavioral economics at Duke University, the founder of The Center for Advanced Hindsight and the author of New York Times bestseller Predictably Irrational. Ariely kept the energy going with stories ranging from pain testing (from burn units to vises to leg waxing) to manipulating behavior to combat obesity...and redesigning men's urinals (yep, you read that right). 

The theme throughout was honing in on those forces that shape our decisions or in some cases indecision. A key insight? When faced with a big decision, people can freeze...thus by default leaving the decision up to the person who designed the form (in his example an organ donation form). Ariely reminded us all that environment and details matter, and there are benefits to obsessively figuring out those barriers to good behavior.

Qualtrics has an impressive customer roster, and several were on stage this morning in a customer showcase: Lisa Wolfe from DeVry Education Group, Charan Nagaraj from Hewlett Packard, Richard Shakarchi from E*TRADE and Rebecca Crotts from eBay. 

Wolfe shared how DeVry has used Qualtrics' Research Suite to streamline their market research and build a full Voice of Customer platform.   Nagaraj shared his goal at HP, to "turn terabytes of data to byte-sized insights!"  He emphasized that business intelligence and measurement cannot be an afterthought and need to be considered during research design, and shared how HP has shifted to much more open-ended feedback via text boxes. We heard how Shakarchi was able to get a seat at the executive table through research and insights, and how Crotts and eBay are honing in on what drives employee satisfaction at eBay - a strong sense of the company's purpose.

After a break for lunch we headed into a variety of breakout sessions to take us through the afternoon. Sessions ranged in topic type from software-specific learning in sessions like "Advanced Survey Creation Recipes for the Research Suite Master Chef" and "Reporting Basics" to more industry-wide topics like "Voice of the Customer Best Practices and Key Trends" with Bruce Temkin and "The Mobile Survey Revolution."

What's was on deck for the evening? Nothing less than what the hashtag says: #partylikeaQstar! 

After dinner, the night kicked off with a concert by Boyz II Men, followed by Third Eye Blind rocking the house. This was definitely not your average conference entertainment! 

Boyz II Men and Third Eye Blind
Stay tuned for more tweets tomorrow, and a day two wrap-up from the Summit.