You Have to MAKE the SUCCESS Yourself
Tech conferences are expensive, time consuming and WORTH IT!
For beginning startups — like ourselves—attending a tech conference is not an easy decision. Going to one often demands a huge investment of money and time; two things young startups usually lack.
Still, we attended two huge tech conferences this year.
WHAT? Yes! We spent money on tickets, beds, food and everything else that comes with it. Plus it took us hours upon hours to just get there. Let's not even get into how much valuable time it took to prepare, actually attend and rest after it was all over.
But it was worth it.
We have a couple of reasons why that's the case. In fact we have 8. But let's dig a little deeper into the less obvious ones.
Out of your Comfort Zone
Unless you're working right next to the conference center where it takes place, you'll probably have to travel for a bit to attend. In our case we had to go to another country. That may seem like a hassle, but especially if you've been waist deep into your startup for a long period of time, it's refreshing to get out.
Tech or startup conferences are a great place to mix business with pleasure. It’s a refreshing change of pace, and there's a lot of opportunity to really test out your ideas. Holed up in your office or in your comfort zone of friends, family and colleagues your platform might seem the biz, but when you have to convince a thousand strangers… Well… you'll learn a thing or two.
Full-on Pitch Mode
Pitching your ideas can be daunting. First of all, where do you start? What do you say? Conferences are a great motivator to work on your pitch. Being able to clearly communicate what your product and your team are all about is useful no matter where you are. But at conferences even more so.
It's no exaggeration when we say that we pitched to nearly a hundred people a person. That was at the conference itself, but also at the restaurant we ate that afternoon, the bar we drank that night and even in the club where no one heard a thing of what we said. When you're in pitch mode you'll speak to a statue if it looks interested.
The funny thing is… When you do it so often in such a short time, you'll notice your pitch (not the one of your voice, mind you) starts to change ever so slightly. At home you practice, in practice you perfect.
Of course you don't change your pitch without reason. It's because of the responses you receive. You'll see that some words resonate better than others. Some sentences you initially loved turn out to be complete crap; but that's only after you've met a couple of blank stares. It's because you're talking to so many different people that you find out. It gives you the opportunity to experiment, to A/B test if you will.
Do make sure to go to conferences that are diverse however! They're so much more useful in terms of contacts you make, responses you get and fun you'll have!
And what's also great, is that at tech conferences you'll meet people who are in the same boat as you. Or maybe not the exact same one, but one very much like it. Pitches turn into conversations, and then often into relations. You'll be able to learn much about yourself, your company and your product just by talking to people.
But that's just our experience… We're still quite new to this whole conference thing. How about your experiences? Do you think (tech) conferences are worth it?