Last week I was fortunate enough to attend HostingCon in Austin, TX. Leaving the crappy spring we’re having here in Minneapolis to spend some time in the Texas heat was enough incentive, but attending the hosting industry’s biggest annual get-together was pretty dang cool.
This was the 2nd year I’ve attended, and like last time, the barrage of keynotes, workshops, and vendors in the exhibit hall is truly mind-boggling. It’s really great learning about the latest trends in hosting, hearing your peers speak about challenges and solutions in their own businesses, and seeing all the new products and services in the exhibit hall. Then of course there are the after-parties. With the Austin Convention Center so close to 6th Street (imagine 6 blocks of nothing but bars and restaurants), there was no shortage of organized or impromptu get-togethers.
HostingCon provides a wealth information, but for me, the true value of an event like this is connecting with peers. The parties and get-togethers are where real relationships are formed… because you’re not just talking “shop”, but about common interests and daily life.
For example, I ran into a CEO of one of our competitors; rather than discussing VPS, I learned we both had an interest in fishing. We swapped stories, photos of our prize fish, and just talked about common interests. As a result, we now consider each other allies rather than competitors, and can reach out to one another for help and/or business referrals. If we had just exchanged business cards in the exhibit hall, the outcome would have been very different.
I look forward to HostingCon 2014, maybe it will be in a city near you!