CDM Media, Perception, and Compliance VS. Security: James Quin Interview

Such a master! Our very own James Quin, Senior Director of Content and C-Suite Communities (and token MC at all of our events), talks about the state of Cyber Security and gives the 411 on CDM Media with Hacksurfer. Read the full article here!

Photo via Hacksurfer.

Photo via Hacksurfer.



7 Emotions Every Planner Feels on Event Day

Our fearless events and client services leader, Rachel Tait, recently lent her thoughts to an event planning article, “7 Emotions Every Planner Feels Event Day”. Check out #4 on the list to see what Rachel had to say about how she feels on the day of a CDM Media event!


Photo via zkipster.


CDM Media seeks global acquisitions as part of ‘aggressive’ growth plan

Extra, extra!

Our CEO, Glenn Willis, speaks to CDM Media’s hyper-growth mode in a recent interview with MergerMarket. Learn more about our growth strategy and how we’re tripling our staff (join us!), expanding globally and building a new headquarters in Chicago’s River North neighborhood. Read all about it in the original article below.

Mergermarket Mark (Squared)

Photo via Mergermarket.

From MergerMarket, February 5, 2015:

CDM Media, a privately held business-to-business (B2B) technology marketing and media firm, is actively seeking domestic and international acquisitions, said Glenn Willis, chairman and CEO.

The Chicago-based firm has 88 employees, and aims to triple that number this year, while at that same time expanding its physical footprint into the Asia-Pacific region, according to Willis. CDM’s current locations are in Chicago, New York and Cardiff, UK. Willis noted Japan and Sydney among areas it is eyeing for its next office.

CDM had 2013 revenue of USD 17.4m. Revenue for 2014 was not yet available, according to Willis, though he noted the company grew 50%-60% in 2013 over the prior year. CDM aims to surpass USD 50m in revenue by the end of 2020, he added.
The company specializes in reaching CIOs and IT executives through technology events and summits, as well as strategic online, social and mobile content. It expects to hold 80 to 90 worldwide events this year.

CDM has grown organically thus far, but is now in an “aggressive growth mode,” and would consider targets up to its own size, noted Willis.

For larger buys, CDM would likely bring on a venture capital or private equity firm, according to Willis. The company “prefers to acquire multiple smaller companies and build them from the ground up,” he said. An ideal target may put on five to 10 events per year in a particular geography or subject matter, he said.

All targets should be profitable B2B technology marketing and media companies with reputable brand-name clients, noted Willis. CDM has its eye on numerous potential targets, and “once it narrows that down to a short list,” will likely hire an advisor to handle the acquisitions process, he said.

Multiples in the space average between 8x and 12x EBITDA, according to Willis.
Willis founded CDM in 2005 in the UK and launched it in the US in 2007. He declined to disclose the ownership structure of CDM but confirmed that there are no institutional investors involved.

While the 34-year-old CEO would consider sale approaches from a reputable source, he said CDM “has no intention of being acquired” at this time, given it is in a major growth curve.

CDM manages 250-350 client relationships per year, with customers ranging from small to large companies and including Salesforce, AT&T and Google, Willis said. In 2013, 100% of the Fortune 1000 companies were represented at CDM events, according to him.

Its competitors include International Data Group (IDG), based in Boston, and UBM (LON:UBM), based in the UK. Willis noted IDG, which publishes CIO Magazine, as “the most successful company on the planet” in this space and a company that CDM “aspires to be.”

In terms of recent deals, Willis pointed to Leeds Equity Partners’ 2013 acquisition of Evanta Ventures, a producer of CIO executive events, and Sports Leadership Institute, from dmg events (USA), a subsidiary of Daily Mail and General Trust plc, for a healthy undisclosed fee.

CDM is currently building its own new headquarters, which is expected to be complete within 24 months and will house 10,000- to 15,000-sq-ft of event space.
Willis declined to disclose CDM’s corporate advisors.

by Deborah Balshem in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida

Canada’s C-Suite Elite to Assemble at CIO Canada Summit

We enjoyed our (amazing two week!) holiday break while it lasted, but the CDM Media offices are back in action and busier than ever. Canada’s top tier CIO’s will assemble at the upcoming CIO Canada Summit in Montreal, our Q1 calendar of C-level thought leadership events has been announced, and we continue to develop insightful agendas and book influential speakers on crucial IT trends and topics. Read all about it in our latest press release, and let the Q1 jetsetting begin!

Airplane jetsetting




CDM Media in the News: 15 Sectors to Watch in 2015

U.S. News and World Report recently asked our CEO, Glenn Willis, which sectors are poised for growth in 2015. Check out what he had to say about communications providers and online retail, or click here for the full article.

iStockPhoto from U.S. News and World Report

iStockPhoto from U.S. News and World Report

Which sectors are poised for growth?

Even as they’re waiting to watch the ball drop at Times Square, investors hope not to drop a ball of a different sort in 2015 — whether that means missing out on a big opportunity in one sector or hanging on too long in another. Here, we present 15 sectors to watch in the new year, with financial and industry authorities weighing in on the potentials, opportunities and pitfalls to consider.

Marijuana: growing

It’s almost banal to say marijuana will hit a high in 2015. But it’s certainly novel if you’re looking for positive returns. Steven Siegel, CEO of BioTrackTHC, which provides medical marijuana dispensary software, says the legal marijuana industry, already at $3 billion, is growing by leaps and bounds. “It offers significant opportunities, whether in publicly traded companies, via private equity or through entrepreneurism,” he says. “The industry will realize a sharp revenue rise as more states legalize medical marijuana and adult recreational use, resulting in an $18 billion to $20 billion sector in the next five to six years.”

Wine: struggling

No, the struggle isn’t a matter of competition with marijuana — it’s within the wine sector itself, says Rowan Gormley, CEO and founder of “Starting a wine brand today in the conventional marketplace has never been harder, with seemingly limitless competition and lots of middlemen and no margin,” he says. “If there’s a future in wine, it’s at the production level.”

East Coast enterprise tech: growing

You may think all of the high-tech action is in Silicon Valley, but companies in the Northeast are poised to grab a bigger slice of the pie, according to Luke Burns, a partner at Ascent Venture Partners in Boston. “With 82,500 technology companies, and 80 percent of the world’s largest technology companies owning a significant presence in the Northeast, the geography is ripe,” he says. “Four verticals in particular are revolutionizing enterprise IT: cloud, mobility, data and security.”

Raw materials extraction: struggling

Resource companies generally fight to return their cost of capital, says Todd Millay, managing director of Choate Investment Advisors in Boston. “They are deeply cyclical and have limited potential for adding value. They’ve traditionally been poor investments outside of major commodity bull markets,” he says.

Silicon production: growing

Big drivers for silicon demand are in industries with currently healthy growth curves: electronics, automotive, personal care products and construction. It’s no valley that silicon will experience in 2015, predicts Jeff Bradley, Globe Specialty Metals CEO and chief operating officer. “Prices are expected to reach about $1.48 per pound, up from $1.20 this year, and solar-related silicon demand is expected to double by 2016,” he says.

Oil and gas: watch

The recent sharp drop in oil prices does not bode well for the immediate future of this sector. But things are set to pick up later in 2015, says Peter Cohan, a visiting lecturer at Babson College who teaches strategy and entrepreneurship. “Oil and gas exploration stocks are going to keep falling,” he notes. “However, there’s a good chance that they will fall so far that they will become inexpensive relative to their earnings growth.”

Solar energy: growing

Although solar energy has failed to reach critical mass in past decades, the sun now shines on the sector, says Christina Alfonso, founder and CEO of Madeira Global. “The U.S. made major strides in the past few years to become more energy-efficient and reduce its dependency on foreign supply,” she notes. After controversy in 2011 over loans to failed companies such as Solyndra, “the U.S. Department of Energy’s Loan Program Office broke even in 2014 on their loans to the industry,” she says.

Manufacturing: struggling

Richard Wellins, senior vice president of Development Dimensions International, bases his recommendation on a study he co-authored, “The Global Leadership Forecast” for 2014-2015. “Fields such as manufacturing face some of the greatest challenges, including an aging workforce and slowing growth,” he says. “In the midst of ongoing economic uncertainties, this industry needs to leverage innovative and creative ways to attract new people and develop their leaders’ required skills.”

Defense industry: growing

Cohan predicts that companies making military equipment will experience strong demand in 2015. “The world is going to continue to be a dangerous place,” he says. “Those investors who focus on the kinds of equipment needed to defend against terrorist groups will particularly benefit. Demand for drones and surveillance technology will also remain strong.”

Paper: struggling

The international paper industry had a high level of risk exposure in 2014, most of which it brought upon itself, says Alexandra Mihailescu Cichon, head of business development and marketing at RepRisk, a risk advisory firm. “Major players in the space were involved in incidents that violated national legislation, impacted local communities and the ecosystem and landscape, as well as local pollution, supply chain and waste issues,” she says.

3-D Printing: growing

Also known as additive manufacturing, 3-D printing needs to overcome some of the hype attached to it in 2014, says Adam Clark, founder and managing partner of Tangible Solutions, a 3-D firm in Beavercreek, Ohio. “Some of it was good, some too good to be true. But 2015 will prove to be the year traditional manufacturers will find ways to utilize the technology. A skyrocketing number of companies will provide additive manufacturing as their primary service to other businesses,” he says.

Communications providers: growing

With the explosion of content and major acquisitions (such as the Comcast-NBCUniversal deal), big companies can now become one-stop shops for content and communications delivery, says Glenn Willis, founder, chairman and CEO of CDM Media, a think tank and conference facilitator for chief information officers. “That effectively creates captive audiences to deliver cross-convergent services to,” Willis says.

Financial services: growing

“Wall Street will boom in 2015,” Cohan says. “As Republicans take over Congress, the loosening of regulatory restrictions will enable Wall Street banks to take more risks on financial instruments trading, and that will generate higher revenues for the banks.” There is one caveat, Cohan adds: “Taxpayers will be on the hook should those bets go bad.”

Pharmaceuticals: growing

Specialty drugs will fuel big gains in the industry, according to a PricewaterhouseCoopers report forecasting health care costs for 2015. Although combined costs will only jump a modest 6.8 percent in 2015, specialty drug spending will mushroom to $192.2 billion by 2016 — a 121 percent increase from 2012.

Online retail: watch

Here, the crux of the matter is big data. Those retailers that grasp the technology and use it could see profits jump significantly, Willis says. “It’s all about a very personalized consumer approach,” which, for example, uses data to customize clothing recommendations, he says. “Online commerce and social selling will continue to thrive and overtake what has been a cumbersome market in recent times.”

By Lou Carlozo, U.S. News and World Report | U.S. NEWS & WORLD REPORT LOGO


Welcome to “#WednesdayWisdom”the newest weekly feature on the CDM blog that highlights an inspirational quote from a famous C-Level executive, past or present. If you’re struggling to find your stride, or could use a boost to get over the hump, then take a nod from these business leaders to motivate yourself and see how far you can go.



Presentation Design, the Definitive Guide

Okay, so “Definitive Guide” is more than a little presumptuous, but hopefully it got your attention. Which is kinda the point; your presentation materials should be designed to get attention, to create a sense of interest, and not to bore the living bejeezus out of the audience. How to do that? Well, there’s a few guiding principles that you need to follow. I’m not going to take all the credit here; a lot of what I’m going to present is derived from the work of Garr Reynolds and Nancy Duarte. Their books, Presentation Zen and Slide:ology, are akin to bibles for a lot of people and if you are going to deliver even one serious presentation in your life you should read them. But if you just want the Cliffs Notes version, I’ll try and summarize here.

Point One – this is the most important (and I mean THE. MOST. IMPORTANT.), the slides support the speaker, not the other way around. People don’t come to your presentation to read what is written on your slides, they come to your presentation to hear what you have to say, to hear your message. Time and time again I sit through presentations where the speaker narrates the slide, either by reading it verbatim, or by describing what the slide is showing. Newsflash – the audience can read the words or follow the diagram themselves. I’ve mentioned this before in this blog, but it bears repeating. Now I’m not saying abandon all slides, just remember why you are using them; as the visual aid to support your message, to help ensure greater “stickiness” so that what you say becomes more memorable.

Point Two – design your slides for the back of the room, meaning build slides that can be seen and interpreted by the guy sitting in the very last row, rather than just by the people sitting in the front row. If you are going to take the time to build slides, don’t you want to make sure that they can be seen/read/understood by everyone in the audience? Building slides that have incredibly dense amounts of tiny-font text or small diagrams achieves the exact opposite of the goal of the slide (supporting the message, see Point One). Either you force the audience to strain to make out the details of the slide (and forcing that much effort into visual comprehension takes that much effort away from auditory comprehension) or you provide incomprehensible support materials because the details can’t be made out no matter how hard the audience tries. Bigger fonts, bigger diagrams. If that means less information on each slide, that’s ok because…

Point Three – include only one idea per slide. Remember: the slides are there to support your speaking and so each point you make needs individual support. This probably means building more slides than you intended, but that’s ok because each slide will be simpler and easier to build. And because they’re simpler, they’re probably going to be easier to read from the back of the room (see how that works?). Sometimes ideas are not simple though and so they need to be supported by complex slides. That’s ok, but if you are going to create complex slides make sure that you are using animation to literally build the slide out as you build the point with your speech. A nice tasteful fade effect is best and it’s really the only time you need animation. Whizzing and swirling and bouncing slides and slide elements just create visual noise that detract from the two most important things – your message, and the slide’s job of support.

Point Four – use fewer words and more pictures. This, believe it or not, is the trickiest thing for amateur presenters to master, but the thing that has the most profound impact on the, well, impact of the slides. Human beings are extremely visually oriented and consume via watching far more readily than by reading. It’s part of why the publishing industry is a $30B industry and in decline while Film & Television is $522B industry and growing. Making the shift from slides that have long lists of bullet points to ones that have diagrams, models, and photographs will (when done well) create a visually compelling tapestry that allows people to understand complex ideas, concepts, and relationships quickly and easily, without distracting from the actual presentation you are presenting. And those long lists of bullets points can still be kept as the speaker notes if they really do summarize the essence of your message.

That’s not it by any stretch of the imagination, but it’s certainly enough to get you started on the path. Keeping these principles in mind as you prepare for your next presentation will hopefully help you make slides that do a better job of supporting your message, and therefore help you do a better job of delivering that message.

Brighter Lights, Bigger City

As we finally get a brief moment to breath during the busy events calendar that CDM Media has this year, I wanted to take some time to let you all know what is going on a little place they call New York. Yes the rumors are true; CDM is opening another office in its quest to bring world-class executive events to the masses.

Over the past 7 years here at CDM Media its been a privilege to see the rapid growth from some pretty humble beginnings in a small no-window office in Hawaii to 2 years later taking over the entire 28th floor of the building – which had lots of windows (I’m still not sure what was worse – living in paradise and not seeing the outside, or having 270 degree views overlooking Honolulu and Waikiki and being stuck in the office).

Hawaii Office

Fast forward another few years and we relocated company HQ from Hawaii to Chicago where I had the pleasure of taking some very fine CDMers and opening up the doors at 155 N Wacker Drive. Within the year we opened our UK office in Cardiff and our march into EMEA took full stride. During the past several years it has been my honor to be a part of numerous hirings and openings across all our offices. Further, its been great to see that many of the folks that worked in Hawaii and helped open the doors in Chicago are still amongst us, and in well earned and deserved senior positions across the company.

But enough reminiscing (although the photos from Hawaii might warrant a couple of other blog posts about the amazing travel locations that CDM staff get to see… hint, hint blog master!) and back to what I’m meant to be talking about; CDM is opening yet another office and we are to have official dwellings in Chelsea/Flatiron in the bustling metropolis that is NYC.

For CDM, the city of New York offers an abundance of new hires within a very close proximity- if you haven’t already heard Manhattan has a very dense population and a whole new employee base for us to onboard and turn into highly functional, fun and fantastic CDMers. Finding the right hires for any company is important, but finding the right hires for a company opening a new office is massively important. So over the past few months between Glenn, Mike, and I we have interviewed over 100 candidates for both Business Development and Relationship Management roles for NYC alone. Going into the interviews we knew what we were looking for – that’s the easy part. Sifting through the 1000+ resumes, conducting several hundred calls to vet candidates, and then interviewing face-to-face is the hard part.

Recruiting staff has to be one of the most mind-boggling, brilliant, but painstakingly resource intensive experiences I been through here at CDM. Going into NYC and interviewing 10-15 persons a day even, with the likes of the comical genius Mike at the side (and doing the majority of the heavy lifting in scheduling etc.) is nothing short of knackering. Just pulling from my personal experience from interviewing not only was I able to meet some great candidates and go on to hire several already, but I also took a real sense of pride in what CDM has achieved to date. Our products are highly regarded not just by our clients that receive top class events and digital media services, but also from our peers and contemporaries at other companies. Sure I am not naïve enough to think that during the interview process a candidate would look to put CDM on a pedestal, but flushed with candidates many coming from well established companies such as Gartner, Wall Street Journal, and The NY Times it was great to see that many candidates had taken time to research about CDM and, having seen the recruitment video online, had picked up on the CDM culture. Kudos are due to HR and to TechServices for doing a great job on the videos across YouTube and beyond.

The end result of the sometimes-tiresome NYC trips was that we were able to invite some of the 3rd and 4th stage interviewees to come in for more interviews at our Chicago HQ office before pulling the trigger and getting them onboard. What we are looking for in new hires pretty much embodies the major cultural principles that drives successful CDMers – putting the client first, working hard and enjoying it, being entrepreneurial go getters, and the list goes on.

Taking a momentary step back, its nice to think that we have over the years seen CDMers from all walks of life join and embrace this culture and for many help shape it across the various departments and office to ensure that we have a truly great employee base. I bring this up not just to champion the quality of people (that’s you CDM) that I have the pleasure of working with everyday who make the business truly brilliant. No, I do it to highlight that with having such a unique culture to our business today, how much easier recruiting and successful on-boarding of new staff can be. After all a man who is credited “with inventing management” did say “Culture eats strategy for breakfast”.

So as the bright lights of NYC beckon and with the incubator team of Ira, Justin, and Matt heading back home (which I think they are looking forward to) and shortening their commute by 1000 miles or so, we go into our brand new office space in prime real estate in Chelsea/Flatiron. Monday will also be the starting date for some other new hires – watch this space as we hit the ground running and look to build CDM within the Empire State. Anyways time to get back to the day job but no doubt you will see me flitting in between Chicago and NYC racking up the air miles.

What Does 2013 Have in Store for CDM?

New Summits:

We’ve just kicked off the New Year in sunny Cape Town, South Africa, with our very first Mining Summit Africa! This exclusive event brought together executives from leading Africa-based companies, including Anglo American, Gold Fields, Exxaro, Xstrata and Newmont to name a few. Our staff on site noted an exciting buzz in the air, with thought leaders collaborating on key challenges facing the African mining industry. This was top leaders getting heads together on issues of real and universal importance—we love this kind of stuff!

The Mining Summit Africa is the first of a new CDM Media series of regional Mining Summits scheduled around the globe, and it’s not the only new thing in the pipeline. We’ve got a full line of regional Oil & Gas Summits, a campaign of regional City Summits serving great metropolitan areas across North America, an inaugural CFO Summit and an event for executives working in cancer informatics.

Check out our full 2013 schedule of events!

Continued Growth:

It’s going to be a big year for CDM Media as we break ground and enter new markets on a global scale. Our Cardiff office is running full steam, spearheading our EMEA events on the strength of unprecedented company growth in the past year. Here in the States, our Chicago headquarters team is gearing up to drive the most robust schedule of events in CDM Media history.

Giving Back:

CDM is passionate about getting involved and giving back to the community, and this year will be no exception. First up on the agenda? Amid the unforgiving cold of a Chicago winter, a number of our (bolder) employees will be jumping into Lake Michigan for a great cause. More good (and possibly reckless) deeds to come. We’re pretty excited.

Addressing Evolving IT Issues:

2013 will be another year of increased innovation and change in the IT realm. Today’s industry thought leaders will strive to manage complexity as disruptive technologies continue disrupting at cosmic speeds. Developments show in big data, cloud, mobility, analytics and enterprise security to list a few—each of these practices representing vast technological systems and organizational processes made up of hundreds of little constantly changing, enhancing parts. The IT game is evolving and it’s more important than ever for C-levelers to be light on their feet. Gartner forecasts another healthy rise in global IT spending this year, and CIOs are tasked with harnessing these technologies to drive business goals. A tough errand, but far from an impossible one.

We’re looking forward to an exciting year! See you at the summits!