Posts tagged conference
People Who Make Things on the Internet
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[Hi friends, I'm passing the blog baton to Brad for this one.] At the beginning of October, Sara & I went to New York City. This was my first time in NYC and my first time at Brooklyn Beta.

We went with our good friends Hannah & Perry along with their son Jude. We split our time in New York between the conference and exploring. Sara asked me to share a bit about the conference.

If you're wondering what Brooklyn Beta is, I've conveniently grabbed the description from their site:

Brooklyn Beta is a friendly web conference aimed at the “work hard and be nice to people” crowd — some of the friendliest web designers, developers, and practitioners around.

Our goal is to inspire you to make something you love, something that makes a difference. We invite speakers to highlight meaningful problems that need our help, get all the people who can turn an idea into reality in one place, and try our best to make it happen.

I found that Brooklyn Beta is about people and stories more than it is about design. Don't get me wrong, we listened to CEOs and founders from companies like Etsy, Airbnb, and Squarespace, but it was more than that. It was a gathering of people who make things on the internet, some of whom I knew, some I recognized, and others I got to know.

Prior to the main event, I went to talks by Squarespace, Meetup.com, and Facebook. I learned about arduino, user testing, and how products fail. There were many happy hours. We helped make 600 paper airplanes at the Invisible Dog. We toured the Studiomates/Creative Morning HQ/Tattly Offices. Good times.

Friday's event was excellent. All of the speakers shared their experiences and told wonderful stories. I left more inspired than when I had arrived.

Brooklyn Beta Take Aways: (Mostly from Tim O'Reilly)

  • Work on stuff that matters. Work on what is hard.
  • Create more value than you capture.
  • Writing creates context in which other people can think.
  • You can leave anything out, as long as you know what it is. —Ernest Hemmingway
  • Change happens slowly, then all at once.

NYC Take Aways:

  • NYC is huge. Subways are a perfect way to get around if you are exploring.
  • The Natural History Museum is amazing!
  • Birch Coffee is so good. I wish it were in Seattle!
  • Dumbo and Williamsburg are where it's at.
  • The architecture in NYC is mind blowing. There is a scale to the buildings and an insane amount of detail that you just don't see anywhere else.
  • LaGuardia airport sucks.

If you want to meet people who care about what they do and why they do it, I recommend going to Brooklyn Beta. I know I'll be there next year.

One time, at Paper Camp...
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How do I even start talking about Paper Camp? (I've been writing and re-writing this blog post for weeks trying to say it all the way I want to. But here goes.)

I went into the weekend with the intention of learning practical info about exhibiting at a trade show, but I came out having learned so much more than that. I learned a lot about industry standards and the in's and out's of the trade show experience. But (unexpectedly) I also walked away with a new confidence in who we are as a company and a new focus on long-term goals. Like the incredible Paper Camp speakers kept saying - a trade show isn't the destination, but just a step along the way.

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A few of my BIG PICTURE take-aways:

When making decisions, always go back to your goals. Know what you want, and make sure each decision is moving you in that direction.

Know your brand! Everything your company does should tell your story - showing process and identity is important.

Be prepared for creative problem solving. Things will go wrong.

"I'm new" is not a valid excuse. When questions come up about your company, answer with pride. Don’t apologize for being new, just be professional and show them you're legit.

Whether you're looking for a store, a blog, a magazine, a collaboration or a vendor, finding the right fit is key. Quality relationships are everything.

STREAMLINE. Make choices and stand by them.

YOU make the rules for your business. Know industry standards, but then make the best decisions for your company.

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It was genuinely the best group of people I've ever had the pleasure of talking shop with. The speakers were incredibly generous to share their knowledge and experience with us. I feel SO a part of the community. As a young small business owner, I've felt pretty isolated these past few years - making big decisions and figuring out priorities largely on my own. I've longed for other entrepreneurial ladies to run things by, or just to say, "I know, right?" - because sometimes that's just what you need. Not only did I have 2 incredible days of those conversations at Paper Camp, but the relationships have continued beyond the weekend! There have been lots of e-mails, social media connections, and even snail mail! Plus, the Tradeshow Bootcamp alumni Facebook page is an amazing, active place - lots of questions and answers and friendly faces! I can't rave enough. (The next Paper Camp is in Los Angeles in January, and you NEED to be there!)

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My mind was so incredibly blown by the people and information packed into 2 days, I'm still processing it all. So far, I've made a couple huge to do lists with both big picture dreams and right away tasks. I've also made a budget, placed a ridiculous Uline order, ordered a giant calendar for planning, and briefed the team. But before I rush off and tackle my to do lists, I want to personally thank each of the amazing speakers. I'm working on snail mail thank you's as well, but I just want to publicly acknowledge the fact that these incredible women have chosen to make community important and have shared their time, talents, and trade secrets (!) to encourage other small businesses to flourish. If you've read this blog at all, you know I beat the community "drum" quite a bit - and this is community at its best.

So, THANK YOU!

Katie Hunt (Kelp Designs) Erika Firm (Delphine) Claudia Smith (Fig 2. Design) Rachael Hetzel (Pistachio Press) Carina Murray (Crow + Canary) Kimberley Yurkiewicz (Crow + Canary) Nole Garey (Oh So Beautiful Paper) Dani Antol & Heather Haynie (Rock, Paper, Scissors)

Photos by Mary Kate McKenna Photography, LLC for Tradeshow Bootcamp