Work or Talk? Why it is essential for CEO to appear at conferences, awards, and other events
Maxim Dreval, Founder and CEO of L2P Limited (L2P.game), 27 years
- Winner of the “Entrepreneur of the Year” award in 2018;
- Founder of Netology Group (Evaluated at $60M+)
- In the past, product manager at Yandex and Mail.ru Group
- LinkedIn — https://www.linkedin.com/in/max-dreval-79317752/
- CrunchBase — https://www.crunchbase.com/person/maxim-dreval
Recently, Maxim appeared at dozens of international and Russian events, including
- Awards: entrepreneur of the year by EY and start-up of the year by RBC;
- European conferences: NOAH in London and Berlin, the latter being scheduled for summer 2018;
- Russian conferences: FORBES // Russian Hi-Tech Investment Summit; X Russian Private Equity Congress; eSports Business Summit
Which value does such a traveling schedule creates for the projects?
Firstly, networking is real-life communication and it leads to new ideas, partnerships and investments.
Secondly, it is PR. According to Maxim, the rate and number of references to the company are increasing. News opportunities are generated, which again, attract more attention to the projects.
Finally, reputation. Participating in industry-leading conferences and winning respected awards, we confirm our status with the prestige of these events.
Does this count in the company’s budget?
Since we get invitations to conferences and competitions, we do not pay for participation. There are only my expenses for flights and accommodation — I pay them myself.
Can you name the most successful example of visiting an event?
I can give a few:
In 2014, I gave a speech at RIF, and there we first met Maxim Spiridonov. A few months later, our companies merged, and as a result, the Netology Group holding was established.
As a result of that meeting, we got $1.1 Milion investment from InVenture Partners, with the valuation of $14.1 Million.
Cool CEO VS Cool Company, how to maintain the balance to boost the reputation of not only the person but also the brand?
Those things are interconnected, the only rule to keep the synergy is not to go too off-topic and speak on behalf of the company, team, and plans.
However, the personal reputation of CEO is also essential if you know how to limit your narcissism. At the end of the day, the critical mission of any CEO is to be the face of the project, and not to improve their personal CV.
How do you choose an event to visit when there are hundreds of them in Moscow and thousands around the world?
- Choose the thematics and industry;
- Cut off events which are not quoted in the main media;
- Cut off everything outside of the markets you are interested in;
- Then you have to form a clear and measurable goal. What do you want to achieve by participating in this conference?
Most conferences will be cut off due to the impossibility of formulating such a goal. Sometimes, it is hard even to make up a reason of why some events are useful.
It is also important to understand the format in which you participate, as the potential result depends strongly on this. For instance, are you invited or you have to get a ticket? Do you perform on the main stage or not?
Another part of events will disappear after you compare the expected result with the investment, i.e., money, and time.
You can safely participate in the events that passed through the above filter. Observe the results to calibrate your expectations in the future, build a schedule and improve in your preparations.
Employees at events during working hours, can this benefit? How to understand that this is not just a “buffet” during working hours?
Most often, this is really just a waste of time, but we have a strong team, and many employees are recognized experts in their fields, which means they are invited both as speakers and as leaders. In any case, we apply exactly the same filter to the selection and approval of participation as we do for the events.
Which conferences are you planning to visit in the nearest future?
I will definitely be at NOAH in Berlin, then probably TechCrunch, and some other event in China.