2 May

Why I started a conference

After picking up my conference badge I stood outside the registration building. What’s next?

There weren’t any attendee meetups for at least an hour and I didn’t know a single person in Portland. I only had one thought: this conference couldn’t be a repeat of Seattle in 2009.

I wouldn’t let it.

What happened in Seattle back in 2009?

Good question. Basically nothing. And it was my fault.

I attended the web design conference An Event Apart in hopes of meeting lots of great people and to get better at HTML and CSS. But I actually didn’t meet anyone. Well, I met three people. The lady I sat next to in the sessions on the first day, the guy who said hi at lunch, and then another kind gentleman who introduced himself on the second day.

A two day conference and I met three people. All of whom said hi to me. I was too shy and introverted to start a conversation and because of it I wasted an entire conference.

Now, back on that street corner in Portland…

It was years later and I was determined to not let the same thing happen. I looked around and saw two tall, bald men talking, so I walked over and introduced myself. Their names were Caleb and James. We talked for a bit, and then walked over to the same meetup (turns out Caleb worked for the company organizing it).

Later that night I met Barrett. A few weeks later we formed a mastermind group to help each other stay on track.

That conference was The World Domination Summit hosted by Chris Guillebeau. The people that I met there- James, Josh, Caleb, Barrett (and many more)- completely changed the course of my career. With their help, later that summer I launched The App Design Handbook and started making a full-time living from my blog.

James started one of the fastest growing single-author blogs of all time. Caleb started an amazing video production company. Barrett designed what will be the best conference of 2017.

I know for a fact that I wouldn’t have been put on the same trajectory if it wasn’t for attending WDS that year and the 5 seconds of courage it took to introduce myself to Caleb and James.

That’s what conferences can do. Because that’s what relationships can do.

Why start a conference?

Why would I go from the running a company with the world’s greatest business model (subscription software) to an in-person event with crazy high expenses, having to be in a specific location on a specific date, and no margins?

Quite simply because conferences changed my life and business and this conference will do the same for you.

At the Craft + Commerce we’ll make sure that you meet at least one remarkable attendee before the conference starts so you’ll go in feeling like part of the family rather than the shy outsider having to work up the courage to start a conversation.

I’d love to see you there. Grab your ticket to Craft + Commerce.

If you’re on the fence, post a comment below (or send me an email) and I’ll answer any questions.

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