But that is not all! Before you skip to the list of conferences which we either love or have already participated in, think for a second. What specific goal am I trying to realize by company presence at this event? We try to approach business events just as we do with most activities – we plan and we measure. Am I here to build my employer brand and just present myself in a positive light? Or is my focus more on short-term networking and lead generation?
No matter the final goal, go about realizing it in a professional manner. What metrics reflect goal realization best? How am I going to achieve them, and how to make sure that the collected data is useful? Sitting for 30 min with somebody in our team and discussing an upcoming event strategy is just as important as the performance there. There are also a few easy things to start doing today, like:
- Connecting to others through pre-event social media
- Stay where other participants stay (best networking sometimes happens… outside the conference venue)
- Have a precise plan (which sessions to attend, reserve networking-only time slots)
- Take a ton of notes. I mean it.
- and for the love of God, put that phone down and talk to people
SourceCon Atlanta | Atlanta, US | 23-25.09.2019
Okay, I am cheating a little bit here – our love for SourceCon is well documented, and we have visited it both as attendees and as speakers! It is a conference which loves innovation, which is why we got a fantastic reception when Kasia delivered a presentation on our innovative team sourcing techniques. Which also means that you can learn a ton of new things, and pick brains from the best. At the previous edition in Amsterdam, we loved presentations by Glen Cathey and Jan Tegze (also in ATL!). We also got to know amazing people like Hung Lee much better! Amazingly, everybody is approachable, and the conference has a relaxed, yet professional vibe. If you miss a session or two, there is a lot to do – why not a crazy Hawks game?
Startup Istanbul | Istanbul, Turkey | 18-21.10.2019
Being a startup usually means that you still got some real learning to do – and doing just that in Istanbul is easy. The conference provides ample opportunity to meet investors and get mentored a bit by the best. Companies which forecast entering Eastern markets should also give it a try, and at worst, they can indulge themselves with cheap, fantastic wet burgers – a local specialty which I had the chance to smash during my last year’s visit. Past speakers include some real heavyweights, like the billionaire Tim Draper, who famously said in a Yahoo interview, that BitCoin price will skyrocket to $250k by 2022 – we will see about that!
Web Summit | Lisbon, Portugal | 4-7.11.2019
Seeing Al Gore and Elon Musk in person probably will not bring you a Space X contract tomorrow. But Web Summit can do much more than just inspire. First of all – it can drain your company account, as it was for a long time one of the most overpriced events I was aware of. However, in recent years organizers added more interesting spaces to show off your ideas, so if your accounting does not mind, get ready and head to Lisbon.
ESPC19 | Prague, Czech Republic | 2-5.12.2019
While we do not use Microsoft services much, we work with companies that almost exclusively do. And from what we have heard, not many companies organize conferences on their tech environment, as well as ESPC is done. A mecca for devs and IT professionals, this event is much more about learning than just meeting. Sharepoint, Office and Azure users should take note!
MWC20 | Barcelona, Spain | 24-27.02.2020
Do we have Spain bias? Just maybe. But do not let sun and tourism distract you too much. MWC (formerly Mobile World Congress) is amazing for those, who wish to explore the perspective of the world’s biggest players. Routinely, you can listen to presentations by guests like the chairman of Mercedes, president of Citi, senior execs from Google, Huawei and even the International Red Cross. While you probably won’t bump elbows with them too much, there are dedicated networking spaces everywhere.
Infoshare | Gdańsk, Poland | 13-14.05.2020
This conference is a doozy – hundreds of startups, investors and big players converge by the Polish seaside. One of the largest such events in central and eastern Europe, it claims to be a one of a kind ecosystem where business meets tech. In 2019 there were almost 200 speakers split among 9 topical scenes. Even better – your startup can win impressive prizes! But most importantly, the business opportunities are substantial. While it may be hard to stand out, you can still make some good connections that will pay off later.
EU-Startups Summit | Barcelona, Spain | 28-29.05.2020
An affordable, action-packed conference for all startups – but techies will find their corner too! Organized around networking sessions and workshops, it is not an event for those who hate crowds. But if you can manage serial networking with keen entrepreneurs from around the continent, try it out!
PS. If you have your own favorite tech conference, hit me up! 🙂