BOS2012 Personal Lessons Learned

Hi, It’s Jody again. Wow. I am just now recovering from the whirlwind of Business of Software 2012. It was the most exciting, exhausting and rewarding event so far.

This is the fourth year for me as an attendee but the first year as a founder/entrepreneur. Words cannot express the difference in mindset. Instead of having conversations in my head like “Wow, I wish so-n-so was here to hear THAT” and “How am I ever going to convey that awesome point to others back home?”, I was able to actually focus on how I would use the ideas right away. Like… in real life. Starting tomorrow. Amazing!

Real-time collaboration. Having a partner sit next to me to scribble ideas back and forth with during the presentations was also amazing. I came home with far fewer official “notes” than ever before. Instead, I have a handful of “decisions” and some “discussion points” to visit later. I felt like I had super human processing powers just by having a great partner sitting next to me (this is the part where Patrick’s head explodes).

You hear what you want to hear. Listening to stories of those who have walked the path before me has always been an inspiration. This year was no different. However, I also heard cautionary bits of wisdom that I didn’t quite pick up on in years past. Maybe because I wasn’t paying close enough attention. Instead of hearing “you can do it” and “you got what it takes”, I heard things like “be careful of this” and “watch out for that”. Holy cow! What a difference a little perspective makes.

Looking back. I truly appreciate all the years my previous employer, TechSmith, sent me to BOS for “professional development” reasons knowing full well I’d probably come home someday and announce that I had found an alternate path. My only regret is not doing a better job of sharing the wisdom I gained at BOS with my colleagues all of those years. TechSmith was once a startup but has grown into a successful 250+ person company that struggles to hold onto its entrepreneurial roots and culture. I continue to wonder what I could have done differently and if I really tried hard enough. I will always care and I will never forget what it was like to be part of that team.

People are everything. Unfortunately, I can’t remember everyone’s names and faces as much as I can remember the feelings and experiences we shared together.That is SUCH a shame. I want to remember the people too! As many of you know, we were testing Tribbon at BOS this year and thought we were on the right track with lots of half-baked features that sort of hinted at solving this problem. Turns out we were wrong. What we needed to do was scale back to the one thing people cared about, which was remembering each other and the context in which we shared the experience. So today we pivoted. It was a big deal, but it totally feels right and I can’t wait to start working on the new thing tomorrow.

There were a bazillion other valuable pieces of information I picked up from the amazing speakers, attendees and BOS staff that I did not mention. I truly feel blessed to be part of this wonderful community and I am already looking forward to BOS2013. Thank you Mark Littlewood and Neil Davidson and your awesome band of pirates for making it all happen. See you next year!



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