2 Things and 1 Person You Should Never Ever Bring to a Web or Startup Conference

It’s been a couple of weeks since Web Fest .me, but we can still feel the energy that resonated with all the people that came, both speakers and attendees. Although, some do have doubts like most people do about any conference they attend. Why? Because they brough to much baggage to a conference and while it could be a great even, they were left feeling disappointed.

Don’t be like that and lighten the load. Lets see the 3 things you should leave at home when attending your next conference. It doesn’t matter if it’s for business or pleasure, you should seriously consider these when going to Techcrunch Disrupt, SXSW, LeWeb or next year’s Web Fest.

Your “big” laptop

Seriously? If you’re reading this blog you probably have a device that’s capable to do more stuff than your laptop was a couple of years ago. Send email, write articles, download files… What else do you really need? A smartphone or tablet should be enough even if you have things to catch up on. Lets be realistic: you won’t be able to do any real work at a conference and even if you did, you’d end up at the local Starbucks with a better wifi connection and worse coffee.

If you're not an official blogger, there is no need for this (Image credit: Asia.ru)

What to do: Next time you consider hauling your computer to a conference, ask yourself what you really need to do that can’t be postponed until after the event. You should only bring a laptop if you’re planning to liveblog the event.

Fixed Notions of Who You’re Going to Meet

That awesome talk. That investor. That friend you haven’t seen for ages. Don’t overplan your conference because you might end up dissapointed. I meet a lot of people who set their sights on a fixed set of goals and if any of them are not met, they believe they’ve failed. Lets take startups as an example: you plan to meet Dave McClure and pitch your startup, but you just can’t find him. It’s not like there aren’t any other investors in the room – seek them out. Even better, make a list of people you’d like to meet and then plan to meet just a few of them. preferably contacting them before the event. They’re busy too.

What to do: Mark out the interesting talks and the ones you can’t miss on your printed event schedule. You might not have time to get your phone out in the crucial second you need to decide to “go or stay” ;). Find the people you might want to meet at the event and contact them beforehand so they expect you. Don’t make it an all-or-nothing kind of game.

People that Can’t Hang out Without You

Crucially, never come to an event with people that will just cling to you all the time. You might have to go for a coffee with a future investor or client who wants to talk in private and you’re friend just can’t come along. Some people might take offence with you wandering away from them, so talk about it before the conference. Your friends or colleagues should be able to find interesting talks and people to talk to without your help so show them the ropes or even better: show them this article! 🙂

What to do: Make sure they understand why you’re going to the event, especially if you plan to network and meet a lot of people. If you’re dragged away by someone, they should expect and understand why. It’s fair both to them and you and will make the event a better experience for both.

Now these are just 3 things you should’t bring to a conference, what’s yours?


Ivan Brezak Brkan

The founder of the "Techcrunch of Southeastern Europe" - Netokracija - and ex-Techcrunch writer with years of experience writing about startups, technology and the domain industry!

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