My campaign: Mark Read on the launch of WPP's Stream in 2007
A view from Mark Read

My campaign: Mark Read on the launch of WPP's Stream in 2007

Mark Read launched WPP's influential (un)conference without an agenda and with no idea what would happen

2007 was the year that our industry changed forever. Events that didn’t seem connected then have converged today. Apple launched the iPhone. Google bought DoubleClick for $3bn. Microsoft bought aQuantive for $6.7bn. WPP bought 24/7 Real Media, the advertising technology company, for $649m – a significant acquisition for us. And we launched Stream.

Yossi Vardi and I pitched the idea to Martin Sorrell of having an "unconference" in a two-Trident Club Med outside Athens, inspired by the networking event Kinnernet and Tim O’Reilly’s Foo Camp.

Strangely, I don’t remember being nervous about it, despite inviting 200 people, including many of our clients, to an event with absolutely no agenda and where I had no idea what would happen.

Peter Cowie dressed up as a circus lion-tamer for the extravaganza. Marissa Meyer was chased around her room by a moth the size of a small bird. A famous music industry executive flew in on his private jet, took one look at his hotel room, and left.

Marissa Meyer was chased around her room by a moth the size of a small bird

We also spent two days discussing and debating the future of our industry, with no hierarchy and no PowerPoint; launching new businesses and forming friendships.

Stream is now rolled out around the world, with events in Greece, South Africa, Brazil, India, Singapore and the US.

In many ways, Stream is a model for WPP – an inclusive, inspiring and collaborative event – where the best people come together to build the future.

Mark Read was a board member of WPP in 2007; he is now chief executive of WPP

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