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!

Jody

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Getting out there

Hi – Jody here.  I am getting ready for the Business of Software Conference next week. Can’t wait to see old friends, catch up on trends and do some product testing and market research for Tribbon. Oh!  And I am doing a lightning talk this year about living fearlessly so I am even more jazzed than normal.

Patrick (my cofounder, developer and super-CEO) has been up late nights working hard to get Tribbon ready to show and test at the conference. It has been both impressive and painful to watch him juggle the demands of a full time day job, travel, family, unexpected technical glitches and a nasty head cold in the process. Oh, the glamorous life of a startup.  😉

We will be demoing and talking about Tribbon at BOS for anyone who would like to check it out. We might even have a version for you to try out for yourself by then. Stay tuned! Feedback and suggestions are being gathered at uservoice.tribbon.com. Feel free to go there and share your thoughts now or later.

As a marketing professional I have to admit, I am learning that there are vast differences between what you do for a start up and what you do for an established company. What an awesome adventure! I will start sharing some of my lessons learned in upcoming posts.

In the meantime, here is a summary of the tactics I am deploying for this event.

  1. A blog to communicate updates and other good stuff (you are reading it now)
  2. Some well-timed tweets on the conference hash tag (#BOS2012)  leading up to the event.
  3. customer feedback mechanism (I chose Uservoice because they had a great mobile experience)
  4. A basic website with a decent product description:  www.tribbon.com
  5. Branding stuff.  Biz cards & t-shirts with QR code, elevator pitch, etc.
  6. Speaking gig at the event to draw some attention (AKA: 400 hours prepping for 7 minutes of torture :))
  7. Be present and helpful at the event.
  8. Analyze the results and decide what to do next.

So that’s the plan. I am sure I haven’t nailed it completely. I know I must have missed the mark on a few things or overlooked some altogether. But I am willing to make mistakes to learn. THAT feels pretty darn good.

Let me know what you think.

Jody


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