Many startup employees want to attend conferences, but get denied.
“But it’s expensive,” they’re told. “The videos are posted online afterwards, or there are free tutorials on the internet. And with this release coming up, we’ve got to hustle right now. Conferences can come later.”
But that hustling is exactly why the do-it-later approach won’t work. How often do you and your colleagues invest large blocks of time into learning for the future? Unless you force yourself to, you’re not going to be able to lift your head from the day-to-day to invest in serious study and reflection. That’s why Bill Gates had his “Think Weeks”: a week spent in a cottage alone with books and research papers. It’s also why company leaders go to off-site retreats for strategic thinking.
Conferences are the same. A week spent that way gives you a new level of energy, a new kind of energy, that you just won’t get in the office. If you’re not convinced, you probably haven’t tried it.
Here’s four specific reasons why startups should send their employees to conferences.
1. Don’t fall out of date
You can learn about things at a conference that will change the way you work. It’s quite likely that you’ll learn about some new technology that may dramatically simplify or improve what you’re working on, leading to months of effort saved. It’s also a long-term investment in the continuing effectiveness of your team.
2. Get pumped up
After a day of ideas and energy, you will have an incredible urge to apply all of it to your work. It’s hard to describe, but I’ve felt it first-hand. In the evenings after conferences, we’ve come up with solutions to important architectural decisions, tough design problems, and major new feature ideas. This is particularly powerful if you go with a small group of colleagues. A small group of motivated people can change the world, but one excited person’s ideas are more likely to fall on deaf ears.
3. See great, be great
Conference speakers are often among the most accomplished people in the world within your industry. Having the chance to listen to them, to see what they’ve done, and to have a chat after a session or in the halls can be inspiring. This is a good thing. Your colleague’s aspiring to greatness will show in your product and in how quickly they learn.
4. Keeping people happy
Effective people want to be learning and improving continuously, and conferences are one of the best ways to help them do this. It’s an important perk that will reduce employee turnover, and you can even advertise it when hiring to help attract the best candidates.
At Archon Systems, we offer all-expense-paid conferences. Keeping people happy and well-trained is an integral part of our company, and it’s worked wonders in attracting and retaining a stellar team.
Oh, and if you happen to be a C# .NET Software Developer (and love attending conferences), we’re hiring! Check out our job posting here.