I just got back from the Business of Software Conference in Boston. It was my third time attending, but my first time since 2010. Overall, this year’s conference was once again a positive experience.
When I attend conferences, I always strive to take good notes during the presentations. Recently, I’ve also made an effort to keep a separate page of notes that’s reserved for the top nuggets of inspiration that I learn or ideas that come to me during the presentations and networking. These nuggets and ideas are not necessarily the key topics or points of the presentations. They are simply my subtle takeaways.
These are my nuggets of inspiration from BoSC 2014:
1. Hiring Gifts for Partners/Spouses
I haven’t decided if I love this idea or am creeped out by it, but one of the speakers commented on how when her company gives an offer letter to a new employee, they simultaneously send a small gift and nice letter to the potential employee’s significant other.
2. 10x Goals
Another speaker made a strong argument that you should set 10x enhancement goals instead of 10% improvement goals for various initiatives. He argued that even though you may not achieve a 10x improvement, thinking about the problem from that angle forces you to think more creatively and challenges your current understanding or assumptions. I believe that this could be a very powerful tactic for some initiatives.
3. Marketing site Easter egg
One of the speakers that presented added a hidden feature to their public marketing page. When a site visitor types the secret word on the company page of the site, the normally static company photo animates in funny ways and a dance tune begins to play. The Easter egg was leaked to the public and it generated a large traffic spike for the company. Outside of the unintended marketing traffic spike, I think this was a very clever way to have a little fun with the team.
4. Appreciation for Atomic’s Hiring Process
While talking to several different individuals about their hiring processes, I realized that Atomic’s process, which has evolved over several years, is pretty amazing. Not only is the process very thorough, it’s also responsive to the candidates and internally transparent. Lots of effort and digital tool leverage went into this process. The conversations made me realize that sharing our process and logistical handling of candidates with the world would be valuable.
5. Paid Travel on Vacations
One of the speakers discussed how his company implemented a “paid vacation,” During which the employee gets the time off paid in a normal way, and also receives a cash bonus along with additional bonuses for each dependent. The idea is that during the vacation, you should travel, and the bonus is meant to supplement that trip. Telling someone how to spend a bonus could come off as paternalistic, but at the same time financially encouraging someone to enjoy their vacation and get a change of scenery sounds aligned with encouraging a mental break.
6. Musical Introductions
This one is pretty simple, but I was impressed how the conference did small musical introductions for each speaker. It was very basic clips of sounds for 15-30 seconds while the speaker made his or her way to the stage. I liked the transition because it set an upbeat tone for the presentation. I’m planning on presenting this idea to the GLSEC planning committee.
7. Marketing with Team Members
One of the speakers discussed how their company started using team members to market their products through video on their site. I really liked the idea, and the speaker’s data showed that their customers liked it as well. The discussion made me contemplate using Atomic team members to discuss projects in our portfolio.
I really enjoy keeping track of my favorite nuggets of inspiration and top ideas during conferences. It’s very nice to have a concrete list of takeaways that I can consider acting on at Atomic. Next time you’re at a conference, I’d encourage you to do something similar.