Domo was handed a rough hand. First, make the decision to cancel the live Domopalooza scheduled for the week of March 16. Second, figure out how to turn a massive live experience into a virtual event. Third, just before go-time, deal with a 5.7 magnitude earthquake rattling everyone’s nerves at 7 am followed by aftershocks throughout the day.

This wasn’t just an exercise in handing Domo some lemons and asking for a cool, sweet beverage, it was handing them rotting lemons and asking for a miracle.

The message repeated throughout the event was more of a rallying cry: Go big. Go fast. Go bold. Domo went big. They HAD to go fast. Domopalooza ended up being a bold move to showcase some even more bold and successful clients.

Rethinking Live

Domo did an exceptional job at bringing a completely different experience to their virtual event. Then again this should NOT be a surprise for an event where Josh James is CEO. I don’t think it is a coincidence that John Mellor was also there to help mold James' vision into a successful strategy.

These two KNOW how to do this and do it WELL. 11 years ago…almost to the day…I was in Salt Lake City listening to Maroon 5 thanks to these two. James and Mellor created something unique with the Omniture Summits…so I wasn’t really surprised this reimagined event went so well.

More than anything, Domo leaned in to the fact this was NOT what they originally had in mind, but they wanted to achieve a couple things: share their customer’s stories, wins and thinking, introduce some new products, features and functions, answer as many live questions as possible, allow as much interaction as possible...and remind us that James is one heck of a skier.

Mission accomplished on all fronts.

It is worth noting that Domo DID in fact go big, fast AND bold. It was 2 weeks between shift decision to start time and yet none of the experience felt rushed or that corners had been cut. It was as if this was the plan from the very beginning.

It should also be noted that it may be unfair to compare other events to Domo’s high benchmark of success as moments after the live (albeit virtual) experience multiple states issued bans of gatherings more than 10 – 50 people making assembling a larger scale production team an impossibility. Even with the deck stacked against them, today it might feel as if they still had multiple advantages in pulling this off.

I would argue, however, that the greatest single key to success was that Domo’s focus was NOT on how to deliver their news or their story but instead how to deliver their customer’s successes and their customer’s stories. THAT is where the production and the engagement really made a difference. Josh James wasn’t just talking about data with Brian Kaner, CEO of Pep Boys…the audience was eavesdropping on an earnest conversation and it was captivating.

The Announcements

Throughout the live event and sprinkled across several on-demand sessions, new features and functions were announced. Here are a couple of items that caught my eye:

  • Integration studio reminds me of the moment in Dirty Dancing when Johnny announces that NOBODY puts baby in a corner. With Integration Studio, Domo makes sure that no system and no dataset is left in a corner allowing for seamless integration BETWEEN systems and not just from systems. The drag and drop nature of the connectors allows you to quickly and easily bring in data sets, apply ML or AL and configure connections across cloud, on-prem or proprietary solutions.
  • Updates to Domo’s Analyzer remembered users are human. From instant undo and redo, drag and drop layout functions and a general sense that the user is in control and capable to “just see what would happen if…”
  • Excited to see the updates and upgrades to Data Lineage and Impact Analysts. Lineage allowing users to click into a DataSet to see ancestry of the data to quantify freshness, data source and owner, and any availability of the data and run times. Impact Analysis lets users see what the ramifications of shifts or changes to a DataSet might be. As marketers are being asked to justify data utilization and leap with every new regulation, this functionality is now critical.
  • Domo Stories has been a clear hit among users and something Domo deserves to celebrate. The new additions add flexibility and the opportunity to deliver even more context and relatability to the data being visualized. Layered on top of Domo Everywhere, you can take something that feels big and hulking and turn it into something easily accessible, understandable and relatable to everyone across the business. Case in point: Domo took multiple sources of COVID-19 data and created one of the more usable and explorable dashboards I have seen. Check it out here:
  • Pardon me while I just let my data nerd flag fly when I say…O-M-G NEW CHART TYPES. For the “pie charts are my jam and I don’t need more than an exploding pie chart” set, you may as well move along…there is nothing here that will interest you. But if you love to see a good visualization come to life…Domo has the data-candy to feed your hungry soul. From the Sankey diagrams to the SPC Charts that can plot trends while highlighting outliers and anomalies but can also trigger alerts to spur immediate attention and action, I’m not going to lie…I got a little breathless during this part.

In the end, there was a playfulness to Domopalooza that was not a by-product of the shift from live to virtual event. It is an attitude that is clearly present across the product as much as it is watching Josh James wearing a panda t-shirt while standing in front of the Salt Palace. Domo wants you to have fun with data…explore with it…play with it…but most importantly, they want you to lose the fear of it, dig in and make decisions about business with it.

In a day and age when there is more than enough conversation and dialogue around the questionable impact and negative ramification around data, it was refreshing to be part of a discussion where data was more about painting like nobody is watching and being OK with the mess than it was about rigidly painting by the numbers and being told to be happy with insights that you only see in a rear view mirror.

Go big. Go fast. Go bold. Well played.


Note: Screenshots were taken from Doomapalooza 2020...if you want to check out the on-demand, visit