Being a long time fan of the Business of Software conference, I finally decided to try something else and went to MicroConf - a conference for self-funded startups run by Mike Taber and Rob Walling.
It's crazy awesome and here's why: apart from the great speakers lineup, Mike and Rob did a great job narrowing down the right audience. These are product people. These are my people. You could grab a random person from the crowd and it would be a passionate founder or a co-founder, running a self-funded, profitable software company/startup. Like Balsamiq, Woothemes, Freckle, FlairBuilder, YouNeedABudget, SoftwareVerify, CrazyEgg or DotNetInvoice. Or Jitbit. We have the same problems, we share the same pains.
That's what I kinda miss at the Business of Software. "BOS" is an amazing event, it's like TED's for software companies. Their high price tag was, I guess, a way to filter out "wannapreneurs" and limit the audience to the "real deal". But along with the "real deal" came the big vendors. Companies that sell ERPs to Wallmart and do government contracts. Companies that ship real-time OS'es for combine harvesters and firewalls for Goldman Sachs. Sometimes not even software companies. These people are well-fed and not interested. Their ticket was paid by their employers. When Patrick McKenzie is talking his crazy awesome stuff about A/B-tests and conversions - they are like "meh?"
At Microconf, on the other hand, I saw people shouting "Eureka!", opening their laptops and hacking new features for their websites right there inspired by the speaker's idea.
Still, BOS has better logistics (i.e. "not in Vegas"), less "wannapreneurs" and classy speakers like Seth Godin, Jason Fried, Clay Christensen... Like I said - it's TED for the software industry.
Now I have two favorite conferences. So meet me in Boston this October.
PS. Ironically, the best outcome I got from BOS last year was... a dinner with Mike Taber, one of the Microconf founders. He was kind enough to share his "marketing monday" strategy we adopted here at Jitbit, and can't be more happy about that.