Nov 2 2009

A Bird in the Hand…

John

Tom and I had an interesting discussion the other night.

In looking at past sales Tom noted that offering a Team price, resulted in about $10,000 more in profit at the end of the day (the last day of the event, for the sake of discussion), vs. our current model of offering 100 tickets at a reduced price, typically $100-$200 off the regular price.

It was interesting because while $10,000 is certainly nothing to scoff at, at this point in the business, early sales are more important. While I hate the concept of early bird ticketing to inflate early numbers, I do like offering those who want to save some money, the opportunity, AND I like having some early money to pay the bills

So is $10,000 down the road, worth no sales, and no income in the short term? Currently, my answer is no. In the longterm, I think the answer is different, obviously I want to do right by my customers, and make money, so I’m not sure it’s ‘either or’, but I do think things with change down the road.

You?


Oct 29 2009

migrating from 2 to 1 is not fun or easy

John

So Tom and I are moving on from 360|Conferences, well I’m moving forward with it, Tom is moving away from it.

The move has started, we’re transitioning things over to me, that he has been in charge of, up until now.

It’s not fun. My latest “It’s all yours moment” came when I opened quickbooks for the first time. If it’s possible to have a massive coronary, while awake and aware, that’s what I experienced.

It’s not Tom’s fault, when we got started, i made it known I didn’t want to run the books. I’ve never liked “the books”. My wife runs the household books, and I barely manage at running my own bank acct and Discover card. Not for a lack of skill but more for a lack of interest.

I won’t lie the books were in a sad state. Without getting into specifics, I’ll be spending more time than I imagined getting them to a cleaned up place where I can get our new acct involved in them.

My advice, run your books yourself, you’ll be better off and it’s something every business person should learn. This is now in the “Lesson Learned” column for me.

On the upside, I think I’m taking a liking to quickbooks, as i work thru it. Who knew!


Sep 17 2009

Ups and Downs and Downs and the need for paper

John

So it’s been announced that Tom is leaving 360|Conferences after our 360|Flex Conference March 2010.

It’s definitely a sad week.

unfortunately it highlights a glaring omission in our business, a lack of written agreements and/or even mutually agreed upon definitions of things.

Sure we have the actual incorporation papers, our ownership split, but that’s it. I won’t lie and say it never occurred to me, it did, several times, and each time I either back burnered it or prioritized another expense over it (lawyers ain’t cheap). And like all things put off, it’s biting us in the butt.

I don’t foresee any Calcanis/Arrington style online bitch matches, but I’m not gonna kid myself, the next few months will be messy as Tom and I figure out what it means to work 1 partner out of the company; assets (what few there are), debts, responsibilities, etc all have to be figured out.

On my end of things I have to figure out where I’m going from here. I mean the company is going to continue to bring Flex and iPhone developers the best community conferences around, but will I do it alone? It’s no secret money is tough for Tom and I because we have 2 people to pay, and doing an event 2x a year doubles expenses, but doesn’t double income. It might make sense for 360|Conferences to be a one man show, at least for a while.

It should make for some interesting blog posts :)


Sep 2 2009

Motivation is hard

John

This is another blog post that has been sitting as an open tab in Firefox a long time. It’s a fairly important topic, at least for me. Having had motivation troubles as a consultant looking for new projects and now as a business owner trying to keep a good noise level going for my events.

Motivation is hard. I mean, it’s really hard sometimes to sit at your desk and think up your next blog post, or tweet, or phone call or whatever. It’s especially hard when you’re in a funk or not where you wan to be (in our case) sponsorship wise or attendee wise.

I’ll paste all of the points here and talk about them, but definitely hit up the original post, give them some traffic love for sure!

Let Fear Take Hold
Fear is one of the strongest motivators we have. The “fight or flight” response is dependent on feeling fear as its source. So, let fear work for you. If you’re genuinely concerned about what’s going to happen now that you’ve lost your job, and you don’t know where the money is coming from to pay the rent, you’re going to do whatever needs to be done. Issues that seemed to be obstacles before are going to fade to the background.

I learned this one from Friends actually. I don’t remember who said what to whom, but the jist was “quit your job, you’re not gonna get a better one or do what you want to do if you’re nice and safe in your current job” I totally agree. Sure you should save up, be prepared for the poorness and hardship, but nothing motivates you to succeed like having a mortgage payment due. A friend of mine pointed out that “people will live up to their obligations” so those companies that don’t offer high salaries because the can’t afford to hire the best, are creating a self-fullfilling prophecy. If you’ve got bills to pay you’ll do your damndest to pay them.

Keep the Finish Line In Sight

A lot of folks have a tendency to look at the next step, rather than the big picture. While this technique has its merits, it’s important to look up at the finish line occasionally. If you don’t, and you’re constantly focused on the day-to-day minutiae, you’ll eventually wonder why it is that you’re doing what you’re doing. It’s important to remember the payoff, because that’s what got you excited in the first place.

This one is a bit of a misleader as far as I’m concerned. Often i feel we’re not focused enough on small things, returning emails, calls, following up when we should etc. It’s great to not get bogged down, but don’t focus so much on the “business at large” that you don’t do what you need to do to keep it running.

Make It a Game
This one works wonders with little kids! If your goal is to clean up toys before bedtime, you parents know that it’s often beneficial to race your kids to see who can pick up the most toys in the shortest amount of time. The same thing works with yourself. If you’re training for a marathon, you can continually try to improve on your overall time, or your split times, or whatever. Find ways to measure yourself, and constantly try to set personal bests.

This I’ve never tried but it might be worth looking at. One of the biggest problems (to me) that Tom and I have is our distance, we rarely know what the other is doing, which either leads to duplication of effort or “are you pulling your weight” both are bad. But with a measurable goal and a time frame it might alleviate some stress. Of course there’s not much repercussion for failure, but we could figure something out.

Remove All Other Options
Hernán Cortés landed in Mexico in 1519 in order to secure lands for the Spanish crown. One of his first orders to his men was to burn the ships that they had arrived on. This was to remove any thoughts of retreat from their minds. When things were going poorly, the men didn’t have the option of thinking, “well, we can always go home”. This is a scary step, but sometimes it’s the only one that will work. For a person who wants to work for themselves, even if they have developed a substantial business on the side of their full-time employment, quitting that secure day job is a “burn the ships” moment. There isn’t anything to fall back on, and they have to succeed.

This kinda fits in with the fear thing. It’s tough, but I truly believe you’ve gotta be fully invested. I haven’t written a line of code in over a year, well that’s a lie, I’ve written a few here and there, but I’m certainly not the active coder I was. I’m fully invested; heart, soul and money into making 360|Conferences something I can draw money from. It’s a struggle, to say the least, and failure looms large, but I’ve done the part time entrepreneur thing, and know the perils

Tell Someone Else
If you have a goal you want to reach, don’t keep it to yourself. Be sure to share it with people you respect. Once you’ve publicly acknowledged it, it becomes harder to give it up. You’ve made a verbal contract in a sense with people whose opinion you care about. If you were to give up on your dream, you would lose face with them. Most folks don’t want this to happen, but because they’re scared of failure, they keep their dream to themselves. However, if you want to succeed, you’ll tell as many people as you can.

I’ve never really thought about this one. I’m not really a “This by X person” I’m much to now now now, so my goals (in my head) are usually set to just outside the time frame it took to think the idea up. I guess the one place I’ve done this is the business. When I did consulting I never really thought about it and didn’t have a goal that consulting would be my “Thing” or that I’d have other folks to source, etc. But I’ve said to many that I want 360|Conferences, to be my “job”. I want to draw salary, get up every morning and spend the next waking 10-12+ hours making it a success.

Tell Yourself Daily
Make an affirmation to yourself about your goal. For those of you who aren’t familiar with the concept of daily affirmations, it goes a little something like this. You write down a sentence or two that specifically details what it is you’re going to achieve. You need to make it specific, and you need to keep it short. Then, just before going to bed, first thing when you wake up, and at various set points during the day, you read your affirmation aloud to yourself.

This sounds a bit hokey to some, but it serves to keep your mind focused on what it is you’re working toward. It keeps your mind on the task at hand, even when there are many other things that are demanding your attention.

My wife once told me about the “Chicken Soup for your Soul” author taping a Million dollar bill to his ceiling, so that the first thing he saw in the morning and the last thing he saw at night was that goal. That’s awesome. I’ve know that story for a few years, and never tried anything like it. Thinking it’s time.

Recruit a Group
In the course of telling people around you about your goal, you may run into a few of them that are excited about what you’re doing. They may be so excited that they want to do something like it. If you talk to enough people, you’ll find some that have goals just like you. You can take the initiative to lead these folks into a group that supports each other in reaching each of your destinations.

By having an accountability group, you put yourself in a situation where you’re not only afraid of losing face with the other members, but you also have people available to provide ideas and brainstorm ways to keep going when you get stuck. It’s amazing the things that members of an accountability group can accomplish together.

That I’m more or less doing when and where I can. I’m being as active as possible in other groups around Denver, from Refresh, to the Adobe User Groups, and the new Cocoaheads group, and even less techy events. I think it’s important that since my focus is events, that I be involved as either an attendee or an organizer on as much as I can. I don’t however have an ‘accountability group’ as it were. I’m not sure how to get one…

Break It Up
While I said that you need to keep your eye on the prize back up in step #2, there’s nothing wrong with breaking up your big, huge, audacious goal into smaller goals along the way. If your goal is so big that it scares you, or you worry about not being able to achieve it no matter how hard you try or how many people you tell about it, this may be a good tip for you. Just break it up into chunks. The sub-goals you set for yourself should still be something you can be proud of on their own, but they should also advance you toward the main objective. By taking things in smaller doses, you won’t get easily frustrated.

This one is tricky, mainly because of the distance between Tom and I. Most days we only have about 4 hours of time when we can chat, and I never know what’s going on the other 20 hours, sometimes even those 4. So it’s hard to break things up since there’s a fundamental “If I don’t do this it won’t get done” thing. Which sucks ass. I’d rather it not be hanging over us, but it does, and there’s rarely a day goes by that something doesn’t get done that shoulda; some email never replied, some email never sent, etc. so it’s hard to break tasks up in general let alone between us.

So those are the 8 points to fight motivation troubles. I agree with most, and need to try the others, and make some work better, but i agree in general that keeping your motivation level high is hard. It’s not surprising that it’s even harder when things aren’t going well, but that’s when it’s the most important.

Do you have anything to add to this list? What tips or tricks do you have for maintaining motivation?


Jul 8 2009

How to Fail

John

I’ve been sitting on this for a bit now, meaning to write up my thoughts. I’d never heard of Tayler Davidson prior to this post, but it SO resonated with me, I downloaded the PDF, and Kindle-ized it so I could have it all the time, with notes. I’m just gonna post my thoughts on this topic, go to Taylor’s post and read all 25 lessons yourself!

Almost all 25 topics are pretty spot on.

1. Dither, dither, dither; plan, plan, plan.
Instead: Fail fast. Fire, aim, repeat.

So, so easy to do. It’s brain crack to plan and analyze and never act.

6. Focus on the long-term.
Instead: Focus on the short-term.

By virtue of our having no startup capital beyond what we brought to the table, Tom and I are pretty good at keeping the focus on the near term. It’s often said, and 100% true that without near term planning, the long term won’t ever happen.

7. Build prototypes, mockups and samples.
Instead: Start building in a format and medium as close to the finished product as possible, and iterate, iterate, iterate.

Tom and I tend to differ on this one a bit. I’m very much a throw it out there person, he’s more a plan, review, plan type. We usually meet on the middle, which works well. I totally think that it’s not who launches with the best most solid plan that matters, but who launches, listens, and learns.

10. “New, New, New!”
Instead: F*** new. What’s different? What’s better?

Yeah totally. “New, new new” is so sexy, but is a venus fly trap. It doesn’t have to be sexy, it has to be better, add value. Tom and I have seen this in the reviews we get over other events in the same space, that cater to 5k people, have massive expo areas and SWAG galore.

13. Over-promise, over-sell, under-deliver.
Instead: Over-promise, over-sell, over-deliver.

I think we do ok at this, there’s room for improvement at least in my own mind. I think we actually do more promise, under-sell, over-deliver. LOL

14. Be stubborn in the face of failure.
Instead: Be determined in the face of disbelief.

This a tough one. Failure is hard to swallow, disbelief just as much so. Sometimes it’s disbelief internal to us, sometimes it from external sources. We still think it’s possible to have a conference company that can support more than one person Full Time, and not rape attendees and sponsors. We’ve got the value down, now we just need to find the sweet spot for attendees and sponsors. Attendees get us, sponsors don’t mostly. Some do. Some really do, and see that our attendees are the core of who they’d like to talk to. Others still can’t get past “It’s just the two of you?”

17. “I know more than anyone else.”
Instead: If you think you’re the smartest person in the room, you’re the fool.

18. A unanimous decision means we’re all right.
Instead: If everybody agrees, you’re probably all wrong.

We’re really good at never agreeing.

23. Work under “understandings”.
Instead: Create legal agreements as soon as possible.

Possibly our biggest FAIL to date (and ongoing).

24. Everything matters.
Instead: Recognize the difference between “penny-wise” and “pound-foolish”.

This one bites us a lot. Not as much as it used to, but we still focus on things that seem huge to one of us, but once complete, no one cares. It sucks to waste time like that.


Jul 6 2009

How do you compare to free?

John

This topic applies to many spaces, and it’s one that has come up for 360|Conferences a few times. Our events are  often compared to barcamp style events, which are more often than not, free, because we’re usually far less expensive than most events, that charge.

I suppose on one hand it’s a compliment, since often those events are 100% community and usually entertaining and fun, if not informative. On the other hand though, it’s not a very fair comparison.

  • Barcamps aren’t usually 3-4 days long
  • They rarely include meals and/or parties
  • They don’t often have SWAG (of varying importance for sure)
  • They don’t cover any speaker expense

We recently had someone complain that we should still be charging $100 dollars for 360|Flex, our Flex Developer conference, because that was what we charged the first time.

That’s all well and good, except we lost money. $100 for 3 days, without it being completely a marketing event, with fun parties, good content, etc, is as we’ve found, unrealistic.

Barcamps are great, but they’re not a business. Barcamp style events are typically organized by local community members who want to do an event. The barcamp style event is very easy to get setup and has very few, if any requirements on the organizer. Barcamps rely on sponsors to provide things, like lunch, badges, parties etc. and if that doesn’t happen, that’s just too bad. “You didn’t pay to come, or you paid very little, what do you expect?” is often heard.

The organizer is most likely employed, and not relying on the conference to pay his phone bill let alone mortgage. His goal was to bring people together, which is awesome and applause worthy, but not a business.

Barcamps (like MashupCamp, startupCamp, etc.) don’t have defined speakers, and rely on people coming prepared to speak/present, and finding enough people to do so, the day of.

It’s hard to stack up against a free event, when the free event isn’t intended to be a business. Tom and I would love to do free events, but unless everyone wants to be schilled at 100% of the time by the sponsors we’d need to subsidize the event, it’s unrealistic.

I think comparing one event to another (regardless of whether they’re similar or not) is a bad practice to get into (and I often do it myself, I admit), when the real comparison is the value and ROI to the attendee.  Compare what attendees take away, compare what they get from the event. After all that’s the important thing. It’s not a ‘who gives more SWAG, or has the best parties’ contest, it’s who gives their attendees the most bang for their buck, that’s what counts.

It’s tough sometimes to keep that in mind, I admit.


Jun 5 2009

My Cluetrain at 10

John

Eric posted his “Cluetrain at 10” and I wanted to follow suit. Doc posted that in observation of the 10th anniversay of the Cluetrain Manifesto, a new edition is being released.

So this is my “Cluetrain changed my life post” by all means follow suit!

I’ve just now, as I write this realized I have no idea when the Cluetrain entered my life. I searched through my entire amazon.com order history (I highly recommend that to everyone, just for the sake of seeing the things you’ve purchased over the years, eye opening to say the least), i thumbed through my well worn copy looking at every boarding pass and stub in it (books are time capsules so boarding passes etc get stuck into them when I travel with a book).  My copy has been to Italy, Japan, and many, many states in the US, but nothing told me when I bought it (or where since it wasn’t Amazon).

I’m reasonably certain it was either Directfit or Ameriquest mortgage, both long dead companies. At both I was a code monkey with aspirations of something more. I knew from the moment I started writing code that I didn’t want to be 40 or 50 and still writing code, I just didn’t know what else I wanted. Anyhoo!

I read Cluetrain and so much of it clicked.  Everywhere I worked from that point forward I tried my best to bring forth Cluetrain-esque aspects. Sadly I failed more often than not, thanks to corporate structures that weren’t interested in changing the status quo of top down. Such is life.

Fast forward a few years, I’m an indie developer subbing out to companies here and there. For my part, my company was fairly transparent, I shared my time, etc so there was never any doubt what I was doing, my website was pretty straightforward and invited people to contact me vs. read about what i did. I even created a blog before there were easy tools, writing my posts in word, and creating pages and updating the sidebar links.

Jumping forward a bit more, I’m running my own business, organizing conferences whos main focus is conversation. Everything about our (Tom might write his own Cluetrain at 10 post) business was based on our readings of the Cluetrain. During our wednesday (last day) keynote, we opened the doors of the business, showing everyone what we made, what we spent, what we’re taking home (positive and negative). Our events centered on people connecting, like the markets of old. Our expo areas are where lunch is served, our sessions are long enough for the presenter to present, and then for actual discussion to take place. There’s no rushing to get to the next room, etc.

We’ve never wanted to be JavaOne with 10,000 poeple or whatever. We aim for 500 or so, and pick venues that enable everyone to hang out and meet, We encourage talking, we drag people over to introduce them to others, we want the event to be more than just 4 days of sitting. We want them to be 4 days of communicating and meeting people.

At our second event, as a gift to attendees we gave them all (450 people) a copy of Cluetrain, we emailed doc, but never heard back, nor surprising, he’s busy. At 20k a speaking engagement we didn’t have the budget to try to hire him to speak, but had hoped he’d come by just to see his impact on our business.

We still give cluetrains to anyone who’d like one.

I read a lot, no other book has so moved and inspired me. It’s in my laptop bag all the time.


Apr 29 2009

Great opportunity to earn some good juju – Who wants it?

John

Tom and I had the pleasure of supporting the Flex Charity Code Jam at two different 360|Flex events (Seattle ’07 and San Jose ’08). Both times it was an awesome success due to hard work of the organizer, Ali Daniali. Here’s how it works.

Ali picks a charity before our conference begins.  He comes to the show with a spec of what needs to be built.  He announces the project during the Monday keynote. People start volunteering their time Monday morning after the Keynote. From that point until the Wednesday keynote, developers work pretty much 24 hours a day in a mad coffee, red bull, soda, and pizza supported frenzy with Ali being the overseer of all. In the end, a local charity get’s an RIA that they wouldn’t otherwise have been able to afford.

Both times in the past it’s been a local food bank. In San Jose the food bank got a food locator, to help people locate food pick up areas in their area, it was very awesome. (Side note, if you’re wondering how ‘poor people’ have access to the internet, it’s easy. The poverty line is pretty high, plenty of people have jobs, but still don’t make enough to put food on their tables.)

Tom and I support the effort by providing a room at the conference and a suite at the hotel, so that the coding only has to stop while folks move from one location to the other. We usually provide the white board, markers, coffee, and pizza, etc. That’s it.  We take no credit for the brilliant outcome, only pride in helping make the outcome a possibility and reality by providing a place for it to happen.

The only thing we can’t cover is travel for Ali or payment for his time/effort.  In Seattle, he was local so travel wasn’t an issue.  In San Jose Adobe covered his travel, which worked out really well. Mad props to Adobe for stepping up like that.

It was awesome in San Jose, because on top of supporting the codejam itself, Tom and I were able to donate $7,000 to the food bank. Not only did they get a killer RIA that made a huge impact in the community, they also got enough money to buy 14,000 meals. It felt kinda nice to hand those folks a Publishers Clearing House style check for $7000.

Let’s fast forward to our upcoming event in May, 360|Flex Indianapolis. The Organizer of the Charity Code jam’s been out of work for a while (yeah sucks, hard).  This means he doesn’t have the resources to come to Indy or even organize it like he *wants* to. Definitely a suck factor of 10.

We can say with 100% certainty, that if our company could hire someone who could not only organize a charity project and get it built in 50 some odd hours, with all volunteer effort, we’d do it. If it was just a matter of a few thousand dollars for his time setting the event up and a plane ticket to get him to the event, we’d be all over that like spammers on an open mail server.  Thing is we can’t afford it yet.  We’re still trying to make sure we can get paid to do the conference thing 100% of the time with no side projects.

Wouldn’t it be cool if software vendors, like Adobe and Microsoft, hired people like Ali to do these code jams full time.  We know Ali had aspirations of doing 4 or 5 code jams a year.  Think of how many lives his efforts would affect (those receiving/using the project and those volunteering to code it).  Think of how much good juju and karma (not to mention press, if they played it up a bit more) the company would get.

Ah, the frustrations of not being a large enough company to make the world a better place yet, and seeing others with the means not doing it.  Someday, we’ll have the resources to step up and make sure great opportunities like this get realized.  However, this is one case where we wish someone would beat us to the punch.


Apr 21 2009

Reid Hoffman is right. It’s about the startups

John

This is a TechCrunch post from March. If you don’t want to click over to TC (Don’t blame ya) I’ve pasted Reid’s big points and will expand with my thoughts.

1. Small business loans. Apply a micro-lending model that has proved successful in developing countries, extending credit lines up to $50,000.

Why? Because models of investment besides just venture capital can stimulate the economy. Let’s not neglect entrepreneurs who create coffee shops, florists, taxi services or other small businesses that help the economy thrive at the local level. Sometimes, a coffee shop becomes Starbucks. These don’t require venture funding; they just need a small business loan to get started and grow. Micro-lending has proved viable around the world — let’s do more of it at home. If a service like Kiva.org (disclosure: I’m a board member) can succeed in 12 countries, it can succeed here too.

I couldn’t agree more! 360|Conferences doesn’t need 9mil! We don’t want 9mil! We really (and currently) need just enough money to push us into Full Time employee status and pay ourselves salary so we can focus on more events, which drastically improves our money situation. Right noew we’re at a weird tipping point, needing more money for more events, but not being able to do more events because we have jobs and need the money to quit those. funny Interesting, not funny ha ha.

2. Abolish the limit on H-1B Visas. Remove the cap on H-1B visas and impose a 10 percent payroll tax beyond the benchmark salary for each visa. Then channel the proceeds from the payroll tax into US re-education programs.

This is a country founded on immigration. We should welcome the best and the brightest as our own. Abolish the H-1B cap, and give me an economic reason for preferring local. I’ll only do foreign if I need to. A 10 percent payroll tax for each H-1B visa can be reinvested in whatever it takes to get American talent up to the same level. This has been proposed previously, but a payroll tax ensures that H-1Bs are used for skilled labor, not cheap labor.

I’m really torn on the whole H1-B. Reid’s solution at least makes sense to me. I just can’t stomach the typical reason for hiring H1-Bs, which is to essentially get cheap indentured slaves. People can cry fould, but I’ve worked at more than 1 place with H1-B folks, and have known many others.  The fomer companies find the cheap labor, screwing US workers. When I hear “There aren’t any programmers in the US” my Bullshit alarm goes super sonic and dogs start barking.

I’ve also known H1-B folks that have had to stick with a shitty company, that’s in a slow death spiral, working them 12+ hour days because the Americans have long since quit for better opportunities, because the company held their paperwork. Weak sauce.

So while I’m no fan of the H1-B ‘thing’ at least Reid’s idea incentivises companies to really try to find local talent, and invests in our future. The US is in a death spiral of our own. When kids see adults losing their tech jobs left and right (to outsourcing and H1-Bs), what on Earth makes us think they’ll want to go into a tech field when they’re older. We’re sowing the seeds of our own demise, for short term profit bumps (executive bonuses).

3. Match funds for venture capital and angel investors. Match up to $100 million in stimulus funds for qualifying venture and angel investments if they create jobs in the US. Let these investors keep their normal return plus 50 percent of the returns on the matching funds, while the other half goes back to the government to revitalize further investment.

This one doesn’t apply to Tom and I, since we’re in the Taxi, Coffee shop, Florist realm, but I think it’s a good idea. Screw GM and the big banks bonusing out and partying on our tax dollars. Put stimulus money where it can do good, in start ups who are creating jobs in the US!  This is a win/win idea as far as I’m concerned.


Apr 17 2009

It often sucks being a non software startup

John

I love creating things, writing software was for a long time very fulfilling. The thought however of doing a software startup, doesn’t do much for me now. Or rather, me being the code writer doesn’t. Which poses interesting problems.

360|Conferences, Corp is a purely service business. Our offering is our abilities, our community, and ourselves. That’s it. No app, no website, no SAAS, nothing that can be bought, sold, or processed. (bonus points if you got that)

We can’t attract investment capital in the traditional tech start up way, since we don’t have any ‘out’ or clear return. To quote David Cohen (whom I hope to meet in person one day!) “i think raising money right now, especially for a business that doesn’t have the best scale economics, is just tough. there’s not much debt money available.

Our business however, works like any other, we require capital to continue, we’re bootstrapping, and that get’s us sorta kinda by, but the reality is we need capital like any other start up business that needs to expand it’s offerings. It’s quite the conundrum to be sure.

It’s one of those weird start up problems, that I never really thought about in starting on this adventure. We figured bootstrapping would be just fine, but in actually executing on our business we’ve found that we’re at a place where we can’t easily do more events without the free time of paying ourselves, but we can’t pay ourselves full time (or even part time) without doing more events.

I re-stumbled across this blog post and it gave me some hope, I think our ’13 months’ is a bit longer than 13 real calendar months since our events are spaced apart and there’s low periods.

I think 360|Confferences is at this tipping point right now, we just have to hold on. Hope we can.