Xerocon South – My Expectations of Xero’s Conference

This week a few of my interests have collided – Microsoft Australia’s annual Partner Conference, ProBlogger’s annual conference and Xero’s Xerocon South conference.

As much as I hate to be missing out on the announcements and tech goodness from Microsoft, or the hugely engaging ProBlogger fun, Xerocon South won me over for a few reasons.

It’s in my city (yay for my own bed). It’s the first time they’ve had a combined Australia + New Zealand conference. And I’ve been talking lately to a few Cloud-friendly accountants and bookkeepers. Yes, I’m going to hang out with the financial crowd. Wish me luck!

There are a few pre-conference events, so I’m hoping to make some personal connections at the Xero Mastermind Meetup and the Accountants for Good Launch (Thurs morn). Especially where I’ve already met people online, these events provide a smaller crowd & venue which encourages conversation more. I’m still hoping to meet people at the main event, but large conferences tend to have a ‘birds of a feather’ feel during breaks where you tend to stick with the people you know. And when you don’t know many other people that are going (and none of your colleagues are), it can actually be pretty lonely sometimes, despite the massive crowds.

So, not having done a Xero event before (but having attended plenty of other large conferences, here’s what I’m expecting:

Hype – Not in the used car salesman way but in the excited ‘create interest in by flamboyant or dramatic methods; promote or publicize showily’ way. This happens when you get a big bunch of people together  who all share the same thoughts & beliefs. It makes for a great atmosphere.

A packed agenda – The session calendar is your friend, but leave time for connecting with people and for having some quite downtime. You’d think just listening to someone else would be easy, but it’s actually pretty taxing on your brain’s glucose consumption, hence why you leave at the end of the day feeling exhausted.

Trade show – Goes without saying, really. I’m expecting a bustling vibe in a trade show hall packed with excited Xero Partners.

Social media – I love sharing key quotes and my own thoughts from events so follow along on Twitter at #Xerocon or #XeroconSouth There are a number of people active on social media that will be at the event too.

Battery drain – See point above re social media. Fortunately, I don’t leave home without my Swiss Mobility charger. It’s about the size of a credit card (though fatter), has built in cables and can charge my phone 4 TIMES! I know you can buy cheaper chargers but this one is worth every cent.

I’m looking forward to finding out the challenges that the industry has, especially with the #fintech revolution. I’m already seeing similar themes to those faced by traditional I.T. service providers – a glut of Cloud solutions, a push towards proactive services instead of reactive, and a focus on ‘trusted advisor’ guidance. So it will be great to hear these expanded upon, as well as learning about other challenges that this industry faces.

I’m also expecting a lot of the advice and encouragement to be ‘customer centric’ – how solutions can help the end customer, not just the services provider.

It will also be interesting to hear about how accountants and bookkeepers are handling being a ‘Partner channel’ for Software-as-a-Service vendors (that’s ‘Xero Partners’ in their lingo), and how the Partners are supporting and rewarding their channel.

And I’m excited to talk with people about Microsoft’s Office 365 platform, to find out how they are embracing it and where they are getting stuck. Hint: If you’re just using Email and Excel like you did 5 years ago, there may be some business benefits you are missing out on.

If you have your tickets booked and you recognise my face from this website or my social media accounts, please come up to me and introduce yourself. Conferences are invaluable for putting names to faces and sometimes that personal connection is the help you need 3 months or 18 months down the track.

See you at Xerocon South!

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