What conferences work and how to go there

    The most annoying thing about conferences is that they look like a video. And one that does not rewind. If the speaker could be read, it would save everyone a few days of life. More precisely, even this: there are those that look like commercials without rewinding, and there are those that say that you can’t read anywhere.

    The best part is that people, meeting in person, share know-how and numbers. I don’t know how in other areas, but in retail we all immediately recognize everything. Somewhere they made a discount on rent in a shopping center - in a month no one will undertake the usual price already. Someone from the services screwed up - a reputation for life. Someone comes and says, “But we made a successful project for that” - you can directly take and call, and it turns out that the third turtle is lying. Naturally, this is not the case everywhere, but there is a very clear trend.

    At major conferences, the most interesting happens where there is no press. Sometimes there is an unwritten rule - these conversations cannot be carried out. There we are talking about numbers. You can come up after the performance and ask to see the figure from the financial model.

    Naturally, we like to go to conferences for this, and for ideas. But at the same time, it’s very a pity. This gives rise to a number of features.

    Shared channel

    It is customary for us: there is a letter to about a dozen addresses - those who need to be aware of the inside of the company. When someone goes to a conference, he does not just sit, but logs what is happening. Through your personal point of view, such as: “A boring presentation about delivery services, nothing new,” or “They made a successful project, you can ask for details from that, here’s the phone and mail.” But in general, these are the theses of speech and voiced ideas. A letter is written right during the conference, then sent.

    Here are examples of excerpts:

    At first I came across some dude who told me that 65% of people fall off paying with a card. Like, horror-horror, only 11% have no money, the rest have a block from the fraud, a crap interface, a 3D oblique security, use our product. These are all card-paid orders that have not been made. The most useful thing in the speech is the fact that 7 years ago you had to go to the ATM to confirm the transaction, and now the code comes to the phone.

    Our mutual friend *** speaks, slightly accepted before the performance. Educational programs ...

    Another dude talks about the operational reaction. Each order on the site generates an SMS to the Nokia, screwed with tape in the call center. Squeaky disgusting - updated orders. On Wednesdays, they analyze all calls (on Wednesday) by checklist in order to understand when KTs relaxed ...

    Speaker ***, SEO. He says that for a heap of goods up to 50% of requests are unique. In the sense that people are looking for a rare garbage like "board game is a monopoly with a car figure." Advises *** for semantics (paid), says, sees related requests that Yandex does not see. I wrote, asked for a trial. They talked a lot about clustering requests, but I didn’t understand the practical conclusions ...

    Ahhh: “There were too many orders, and we had to close the store” ...

    Dima, you see Artem - say that leaving the stand, you need to pick up personal business cards and a sign, not just banner. I stood there, sold his platform later, promised 80% discounts, handed out the remaining business cards.


    These letters also include photographs of the most interesting slides. Then it’s all right in the correspondence is discussed on the subject of what and where you can tighten, and what affects what. Each conference is such a brainstorming session on these letters. Everyone is scattered around the corners and counting. Then dozens of meetings are appointed - with potential counterparties, about whom they have responded well, with another retail, to exchange experience further on a specific topic, to have internships with each other and so on.

    Everyone writes a retail letter. This is usually a huge cart, where everything is in a row: who talked about what, how different companies cope with difficulties, what kind of know-how they have, what they want to implement with us, and also about useful contacts, new trends, inspired ideas ... After the first conference Dima (the founder) had as many as 87 points, which he considered necessary to implement in Mosigre. Then they became smaller and smaller.

    We recently reviewed them - and realized how the worldview has changed in 6 years. At the first conferences of serious guys, we were genuinely surprised that the manager of each store knows the economy of his store (now we have it), that development focuses on the regions of presence - that is, they climb into new regions only when there is an urgent need (now we also have this, but the path was thorny), that there is a policy of what type of store should be the first in the region - for example, do not start from an island in a shopping center (now we have one too). What you need to conclude long-term contracts with the shopping center is beneficial to everyone. That payment is fixed + percentage of turnover (then we did not know, but now it is a constant practice). There are a bunch of parameters that would be nice to measure (revenue per employee, per meter, etc.) - they are all needed.

    Today, of course, we come back with other entries. To the best of your understanding, this includes working on LTV, managing a team, increasing IT efficiency, and, again, new contacts for joint projects, joint growth points.

    Conference selection

    Initially, the selection criterion was simple - where we are called to speak, there we are listening. Tickets for a normal conference cost 15-35 thousand rubles (for a day or two), so everything was perceived as non-core costs. And the speaker is allowed to do so, and still fed.

    It turned out that there are two types of conferences - “just to collect” and “for the good of the cause”. I will explain the difference - when Boris Chertok in “Rockets and People” talked about the conference of Soviet missiles, this was the second useful type:

    For me, this conference at first seemed like an inevitable loss of time, tearing away from the work and writing of these memoirs. But as the program developed, it became apparent that it would be unusual.
    The program of two plenary sessions and the section "History of rocket and space technology" announced reports whose contents would have seemed completely unthinkable two or three years ago. The sensationalism of the reports, in particular those presented at the historical section, consisted in the fact that the content of some of them until the last years was classified as “top secret”, and any of them, of course, could not be reported to the audience, which was attended by American scientists and correspondents of the foreign press ...
    However, not only abroad, but even among our rocket experts, who were allowed to work in top secret jobs, a very narrow circle knows that the famous Seven had a strong competitor in delivering nuclear charge - the composite storm intercontinental missile, Storm. Storm flight tests began earlier than the R-7 flew, but were discontinued in 1959.
    Almost none of our rocket and space specialists know that the modern, well-known winged ship Buran had a top secret, also winged namesake. He, having no time to make one flight, was stopped in production after the first successful flight of a ballistic "seven".
    The purpose of the spacecraft of the famous Cosmos series until recently has remained far from clear to the general public. That is, in principle, everyone who was interested in space technology understood that there were means of all kinds of space intelligence. We stigmatized the Americans, announcing that they (“oh, what bad ones!”) Launched another “spy satellite” to monitor the territory of the Soviet Union, the Warsaw Pact countries, and monitor the “hot spots”.
    We were silent about our satellites of a similar purpose. Well, not so much at all: starting from 1962, TASS reports regularly appeared that the satellite “Cosmos No. ...” was launched. So, for example, if you take the choice of 1986, according to official reports, the Cosmos series satellites were launched from No. 1715 to No. 1810! 95 satellites, which, according to TASS, with some exceptions, are designed to "continue space exploration." And by March 1992 we had brought the total number of mysterious "Cosmos" to 2182!
    In reports at the conference, a dense veil of secrecy was removed from a significant part of the Cosmos. Part of the "Cosmos", especially those related to the first thousand, were most directly related to the activities of our team.

    Conferences of the first type are when one of the product services decides to sell himself at a higher price and gathers people and speakers. You can very clearly distinguish between such conferences as “come to listen to advertising” and “useful for the sphere” in terms of clarity of selection of speakers. Look at the agenda and look for friends. If there are many who you want to listen to, and they speak in approximately the same outline, it means that they thought about the plan in advance, and all this for the meaning. If the speakers are inconsistent, and there are frankly weak ones, this is an ass.

    We somehow discussed a lot of business conference plans with Leha 23derevofrom JUG a couple of years ago. Since his conferences are self-supporting, that is, they depend on ticket sales and interest, he devotes a lot of time not only to the selection of speakers, but also to their preparation. Three months before the conference - listening to the report, advice. If necessary - trainings on performances. If necessary, redraw the presentation to a more suitable one for the large screen. Etc. There you can feel the work for the year - one conference is over, immediately there is already a plan for the next, and an understanding of who will talk about what. The regional conferences I know are gathering much later and in a hurry. What still surprises me is that terrible rush always does not manage to do something at tyap-blap conferences. On normal, there is everything - from a travel card to a minute-by-minute program in the spirit of “13:07 - 13:22 - Ivan Ivanov from such and such a project, here are the theses”. Naturally, on such much easier to navigate. Even at the end, they often share presentations or even give printouts of everything, this is also very convenient.

    Some examples of good open conferences are Turnover in Moscow, for example, E-Commerce in mid-October.(damn right guys, most of the Moscow tips are from there), soon there will be “Service Secrets” in Novosibirsk, the year before last OBR in Yekaterinburg was just perfect. “Turnover” is especially recommended - there are many cosmic things that you might not be able to repeat right away, but there is the opportunity to communicate correctly, ask all the necessary questions on the sidelines, and listen to trends. The people there are very frank (so much that they appointed a couple of on-site inspections somehow), the selection of speakers is always successful, the reports are selected so that they get good exclusive plus insider information about the speaker's company. E-commerce is one of the few conferences where we get a huge number of points for implementation in new letters. Good makes Redis Retail Club, the coolest Digitale in St. Petersburg, excellent "Business with meaning."

    Well, one more thing: sometimes we arrive for half an hour. If there is nothing interesting in each stream, it is better to leave right away than to endure this hell. Because adequate people have already done so for sure.

    As for when to come, by the way, there is another difference between good conferences - usually in the morning they are more vigorous, and they do not expect anyone who is late. Therefore, the first reports of fire-fire. No, it’s clear that one or two strong speakers are put in the evening so that people don’t leave ahead of time, but you need to come from the very beginning. Hence the criterion: if you see that you can skip the first three reports, most likely you can skip the other ten.

    Like this. So don’t discount this strange “live video” format. He is helpful. But only if you do not like everyone else. The criterion is “not like everyone else” - 50 business cards leave for the conference. And that's it.

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