Conference Guide by CoinTropolis - Draft 1

I’m still cleaning up, I thought you guys might find it useful.



I’ve had the opportunity to attend tech related conferences since the early 90s. When I started my career in game development, I was responsible for coordinating events and demos of our products to conferences such as E3 and Comdex. We often didn’t want to spend the money on booths, so I 'd spend time getting enough movers and shakers for private demos near the conference. You learn a lot about the dynamics of conferences when you are thrown in without a budget. :slight_smile: When I started helping Feathercoin at Bitcoin Conferences, there was barely ANY other coin besides Bitcoin present. It’s interesting how the landscape has changed and can hopefully add a nugget or 2 of wisdom for those that are attending these events.

This will be a working document, I’ll add pieces as I find time throughout the next few days.

Bitcoin Conference Guide - How to knock it out of the park(CoinTropolis)

[size=14pt]Draft 1 Complete - May 5 update

Item 1: Act Like the Party Host

The social dynamics at Bitcoin Conferences reminds me of any large parties back in my college years. Each clique wields it’s own level of influence, however, the party host is generally the center where most people make their way to throughout the night. If that example doesn’t resonate, think about when a manager and/or promoter walks into their club. The same effect happens at these conferences.

  1. Don’t be afraid to shake hands with strangers the minute you walk into the event

Handling the quick ‘hellos’ at the beginning of the event makes it much easier to touch base later on when it comes down to business. You’re not a stranger anymore, you’re that guy that everyone seems to know at the event… you must be important. If you’re there to work, be seen.

  1. Introduce people

There is so much strength in introducing people at events. Example:

  1. I meet someone that’s in the exchange business
  2. I ask if they know person X who I met earlier or from a previous conference
  3. If not, I will introduce them to the person I already know
  4. Later, I might ask them who they know at the conference and ASK for an introduction

Nikel can testify to this… it’s auto pilot for me at this point. I can’t stress how effective this strategy is at a conference… you’re giving value while broadening your contacts.

Item 2: - Don’t get sucked into the individual presentations without an agenda

The presentations are a blast (from what I hear) at the Bitcoin Conferences. Personally, I only attend a presentation if I have a specific agenda in mind.

  1. When I walk into the conference, I look for people I want to speak with after the presentation is over. It’s one of the few times you’ll have the opportunity to grab who you need without having to chase them down throughout the day.

  2. When you sit down, you want to say hello to the people around you. Build that rapport right away, it’s simply a lost opportunity if you sit there like a lump.

  3. Have a few talking points ready based on the topic.

Item 3: Constant updates to the community is critical

I have to admit, I get EXTREMELY frustrated when I hear about someone attending a conference and not getting any updates during the event. What?? This is an amazing opportunity to get the community involved in what’s happening, it’s shooting yourself in the foot if you’re not making it a priority.

  1. Establish a process prior to the event and let the community know about it. For example “I’ll do my best to post an hourly update in the following thread”.

  2. During the updates, look for action items. Example “Hey guys, I just spoke with X exchange. They’ve encouraged us to contact their CEO to show support… we need someone to please step up and get that organized in the next few hours. Who is in?”.

  3. Whenever you think you’ve taken enough pictures, double it. Look for opportunities to take pics throughout the event so marketing can make the best use of it down the road.

  4. Make sure you’re communicating with ALL your social media contacts (twitter, FB, reddit etc…).

  5. Yes, you’ll find yourself running back and forth throughout the event to either find a wireless spot or just find a quite corner on the floor. Most people aren’t willing to do the work, be the exception.

Item 4: Making contact with speakers and merchants prior to the event

Step 1: Touch base with anyone that’s attended a conference before in the community and ask if they’ve made contact with the speakers/exhibitors at your upcoming conference
Step 2: Make a post on the community forum asking if any of us has a relationship with the speakers/exhibitors at your upcoming conference
Step 3: Write a custom message to each person you would like to meet. It doesn’t have to be long, just make sure it’s specific to their product. Generic emails are crap, don’t do it
Step 4: Make a priority list of the people you want to meet and make sure you handle it immediately

Item 5: How to follow-up with the contact you met at the conference

After the first day of the conference, email everyone that you made contact with throughout the day. Generic emails are crap, be brief but specific. If you have specific action items, this is the time to relay that information.

Item 6: Learn how to be social and at the same time cut right to it

I remember talking with the guys at Cryptsy after the alt coin panel. I asked a very direct:

“Great, I see there is interest in adding (insert project). Tell me specifically what you need from our team to make this happen. Would you like me to match you up with our developers?”.

If you’re just talking to chit chat, you’re wasting time. If someone isn’t interested in adding (your project), I’d ask what specific steps we could take to change their mind. If they can’t make a decision right now, suggest a time/day for follow-up. Putting people to a decision remove so much gray area out of the conversations.

Item 7: The event just begins when the doors close for the night

It is your responsibility throughout the conference to find out where the movers and shakers will be after the doors close at the conference. Look, you basically want to invite yourself to every after party that helps you further your cause. It’s one thing to meet people at a conference, it’s another to discuss business casually in a social environment. The movers and shakers didn’t fly in the night before to a new city to go back to their hotel at 7pm. People are social, be part of the action.

Setting up meetings after the conference is a great way to find out what’s happening around town. Here’s an example:

You: I like your idea about… could we grab a bite to eat and discuss it a bit more
Target: Unfortunately, I’m headed to the x party…
You: Oh ok, the x party…

Boom, you have an in. If all else fails, have a backup plan for the hotel. If you get back at 8pm, be prepared to work for a few hours and update the community on action items.

Item 8: Asking the right questions

DON’T push your product out of the blue, it’s the fastest way to turnoff a potential business contact. Ask questions about THEIR business and see if there’s a way to offer (your project) as a solution to their challenges. I also like to ask for genuine advice. If you’re having trouble breaking into a segment, it’s great getting advice from those that live in that world. Here’s a simple example:

John: One of the challenges we face is …, would love to get your insight.
Company 1: Here’s what I recommend…
John: Hey company 2, I was just talking to x over at company 1 and he said … do you agree?

Item 9: What pre-show meetups/events are happening before the main conference?

Make it point to attend any pre-show meetups/events prior to the main conference. Often times there will be some type of mixer which gives you an opportunity to make contacts before ever stepping into the main event. I would say this is one of the more important activities that many conference attendees take for granted. It’s so powerful to be able to say, “it’s good to see you again”.

Item 10: Standing out and business cards

Whether it’s a polo or a obnoxious size button (within reason), you want to make sure someone has a reason to introduce themselves to you. You want people to go, “Oh, you’re with…”. It not only breaks the ice but it looks like you’ve come to work. While the nerd in us wants to pretend that business cards are outdated, real world convention attending tells us otherwise. Be prepared to hand out business cards at the event, period.

Item 11: The magic question

“How can I help your team?”

Now that you’ve introduced yourself and you know more about their business, that’s a magic phrase. Even if they are not interested in adding your product right away, I want to know how I can assist. Maybe they need a programmer you know or maybe they just need an introduction that you made a few minutes ago or at a previous conference. Give value, even if you are not on their immediate radar, be that person that gets things done in the community.

Item 12: Summary

There’s a huge difference between attending a Bitcoin Conference as a spectator and attending with someone with an agenda. It’s real easy to get sucked into all the cool events that chew into your time if you’re not careful.

I’m working on an exhibitor section in the next few days. I’ve learned quite a bit lately from different conferences and presentations with CoinTropolis and hope you guys can find a few nuggets that will be of value.

Very cool, nice writeup and nice tips

That’s very helpful. Thanks for sharing. :pearcoin:

I will have to add this to our marketing tools sticky when it’s up.