Last week, Oprah gave the keynote address at this year’s QuickBooks Connect Conference probably because Intuit understands that people need to heal spiritually after using QuickBooks Online.
Don’t get me wrong. I love Oprah. I’m a total sucker for quasi-spiritual bullshit. And apparently Intuit is, too. But Oprah speaking to a group of accounting software enthusiasts is kind of like a woman giving her husband a beej when it’s not his birthday. No one really knows why she did it, but no one complained.
But first, let’s put the QuickBooks Connect Conference in perspective:
Quickbooks is by far the top accounting software provider among American businesses, with millions of users and estimates of around 85-90% of the business accounting market.
Holy crap. Eighty-five to ninety percent?! Not even Trojan condoms have that kind of market penetration.
The QuickBooks Connect Conference was also sold out with more than 5,000 people in attendance. First off, I’ve never heard of an accounting conference with 5,000 attendees, and second, I’ve never heard of an accounting conference being sold out. And most of the attendees weren’t end users; they were CPAs who serve SMBs.
Our network of 20,000 Certified QuickBooks ProAdvisors is large enough to support every business need. … Certified QuickBooks ProAdvisors are experts who have been tested and certified by Intuit on a range of QuickBooks products.
Of course Intuit wanted Oprah to speak at their conference because that’s how you sell out an accounting conference. And I’m sure her warmth and charisma brought … well, warmth and charisma to an accounting software conference where one expects neither warmth nor charisma.
And there’s something about getting Oprah to speak at your conference–especially a conference where Oprah seems like a weird fit–that just feels like showing off. It’s like Intuit wanted to make sure that everyone understands that Intuit has Oprah-quantities of fuck you money.
It’s also hard to figure out why Oprah took the gig. Maybe she did it because OWN finally bled her dry. Maybe she was slumming. Maybe they gave her an honorary QuickBooks Advanced ProAdvisor certification.
According to firsthand accounts, her speech was amazing. Unfortunately, reading about her presentation was not amazing:
The gist of Oprah’s Intuit QuickBooks Connect speech was basically to follow your intuition, be consistent1 and have specific intentions.
I got that exact same message at the end of a PF Chang’s meal, but if you listen to Oprah stretch it out for 50 minutes you get CPE credit. She’s magic.
According to another account, "Her talk focused on why creating a brand isn’t so bad." Because when Oprah wants to shoot a fish in a barrel, she wants it to be a big fucking fish. Convincing people at a tech conference that “creating a brand isn’t so bad” is like convincing a guy on a Tinder hookup that sex on the first date isn’t so bad: they already believe it 100 percent, but for some reason hearing it in this particular context blows their damn mind.
Intuit now faces the problem of finding a keynote for their 2016 conference. Because once you’ve had Oprah, everyone else feels like Stedman.
1 Sounds more like SALY Jessy Raphael. Hai-yo!
Image: Beth Spotswood/SFGate