How a Developer Learned to Think Business: Part 2

This is a continuation of last week’s blog post, which started with me talking a friend out of making an app for his business – thanks to Release Notes.

One thing I realized after writing the post was how much I think about business. This, to me, is unbelievable. While I have always tried to think about the non-coding aspect of my business, Release Notes has really helped me up my game. It helped me make it a priority.

One month after the release of Stories by Gus on the Go, Alice and I had a brainstorming meeting. We were disappointed with the launch of the app. Rather than wallow in self pity, we wanted to do something about it. We came up with a list of marketing and business ideas and have since slowly started implementing them.

Many of these ideas grew from seeds planted while attending the Release Notes conference.

The conference

Last year, when Joe and Charles announced they would be putting on a conference, I knew immediately I wanted to attend. And that without ever having attended one before[1].

I convinced Alice we needed to both go as a company with the hopes of learning new things and meeting new people. Maybe we could even help others with our experiences.

I bought tickets very early on. If not on day one, then pretty darn close to it. I was that excited.

Other people started buying tickets and posting such on Twitter. As I am not the best at talking to strangers in person, I used these tweets to introduce myself and follow them long before arriving in Indianapolis.[2] I did so hoping to learn a little bit about the other attendees. My goal was to avoid awkward introductions at the conference. Although my awkwardness still came out, I think it helped me tremendously.

Additionally, I made sure to wear the same hat[3], as the one in my Twitter profile pic. Being unknown in the developer community, it helped some people recognize that they interacted with me online. This is a technique I continue to use while attending other conferences as I have found it quite useful.

There are four aspects of Release Notes that I believe really made my first conference experience so incredible.

  1. Non-technical talks - This is a big one for me. I’m looking to improve my skills, where I am weakest. Business, marketing, self promotion, recognizing opportunities, and networking are all areas, in which I could use help. The talks gave me a lot of ideas. For instance, thanks to John Saddington’s talk, we’re looking into creating a microsite to help draw people’s attention to our main site and products. Jean MacDonald inspired us to consider other ways to market our apps, including podcast and site sponsorships. Chris Liscio helped us realize how much more potential our apps have for niche languages.
  2. Dine around - A fantastic idea in and of itself. All conference attendees were split into groups of about 10 - 12 people, including one of the speakers. Each group was assigned a restaurant and forced to socialize at dinner. This really allowed us to get to know some of the other attendees quite well. It was especially helpful for the introverts among us.
  3. Plenty of time between talks - This, I would find out later, was very key. The conference was single track. With everyone in the same room, the extra time between talks gave us more opportunities to meet one another. There was no feeling of rushing to the next talk. We could take our time and exchange ideas on our businesses or what we learned.
  4. Slack channel for conference attendees - Super helpful in scheduling meet-ups and meals outside the conference events, without having to comb through Twitter. It also gave me the confidence to meet a group of people the day before the conference started.

Everyone I met at Release Notes was friendly and were there for the same reasons as I. To improve our business skills.

I know Charles and Joe put in a lot of work behind the scenes to make the event run as smoothly as it did. They did an amazing job. It shouldn’t come as a surprise that I will be coming back to this year’s Release Notes conference.[4]

Will I see you there too?

Say “hi” on Twitter. I’m @yonomitt.

Have a nice day,

  1. I did attend iOS 7 Tech Talks in Berlin in 2013, but I don’t think that counts.  ↩

  2. Pro tip.  ↩

  3. An orange Houston Astros hat. It stands out a bit.  ↩

  4. I also bought tickets very early this year.  ↩