A short while ago I had announced that I’d be attending MicroConf Europe here in Barcelona.
The event took place last week and I have to say it met all my expectations, and then some.
MicroConf is a conference for self-funded startups. When I heard that description the first time I heard of MicroConf, I immediately thought of the WordPress community. Why? Well, if there’s one ecosystem that is chock full of self-funded bootstrapping entrepreneurs it has to be the WordPress one. I did meet a number of WordPress product owners at MicroConf Europe, and all agreed that it was a great experience and they’d be returning next year.
Some important reasons why you’d want to attend MicroConf:
- Be inspired by the success of others.
All the speakers have had considerable success with their businesses, yet they all started from humble beginnings. Whatever stage you are at with your business, these people have been in your shoes and can thus help you from their own experience.
- Networking opportunities.
Over the two days of the conference I met many people and made some important connections that will undoubtedly be useful in the future. For example, you might want to join a mastermind group (essential if you want to get feedback and grow your business). Well, a conference like MicroConf is the perfect place to find people that are also interested in joining a mastermind and kick start things.
- Obtain feedback on your own business.
Although very successful, this conference has been purposely kept fairly small (around 250 attendees I believe). The reason is that the organisers want everyone to have access to the speakers and keep the same vibe year after year. In fact they try to keep a balance between new attendees and returning attendees, and actively ask returning attendees to reach out to the newer ones. With such availability from everyone to help out, this is the perfect place to get feedback on your business and strategies. Remember, a 30 minute chat with a person who is a few steps ahead of you in his business journey can double or triple your revenues, or even spare you some costly/painful mistakes.
What about my reasons for attending MicroConf?
I love networking and conferences myself, simply because I know what value can be gleaned from such events. Before the conference I made a list of people I wanted to meet. These ranged from podcast hosts to other WordPress developers to popular CEOs. I made sure I had particular questions to ask them beforehand and therefore maximised my time with them.
Moreover, I have lately been looking into the question of selling and buying websites or software products (or as it is known in the startup world: mergers and acquisitions). Luckily one of the speakers at this year’s MicroConf was Thomas Smale from FEInternational, a successful website broker who spoke about this very topic.
I was lucky in that Thomas happened to be sitting right next to me during the first day of the conference, so I took the opportunity to ask him all the questions I had on this topic. We’re seeing quite a fair bit of acquisitions this year within the WordPress community, so it was very interesting for me to learn more about how buyers value a website and what a seller needs to have in place to get the best price for his business.
Of course, the three reasons I mentioned above were also other reasons why I attended MicroConf. Giacomo “Peldi” Guilizzoni from Balsamiq was a real inspiration in the way he runs his company, while I also obtained actionable feedback from Dave Collins, who conducted the Website Teardowns session and pointed out some obvious things we as product owners miss when creating the landing pages of our products.
Inspiration was definitely not lacking as speakers shared their innermost struggles as well as real financial details of their successes, thus providing real detail rather than the general fluff we usually read about on blogs. That means that when you attend an event like MicroConf you’ll have access to information that is not found on the internet, simply because these speakers don’t want to share their numbers with all the world, but only with those who really want to make an effort to improve their businesses by attending such an event.
Since MicroConf is held twice yearly (once in the USA and once in Europe), if you are a WordPress product owner, do yourself a favour and bookmark www.microconf.com, the dates for the next event in Las Vegas will be published soon.
In the meantime, I’d also suggest you start listening to the Startups for the rest of Us podcast, hosted by Mike and Rob, the organisers of MicroConf. I’m sure you’ll get hooked on this show and learn a lot about running your bootstrapped business. Hopefully the show will whet your appetite for the next MicroConf. I hope to see many WordPress developers and theme/plugin/service owners at next year’s MicroConf!