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Due to a series of unexpected, serendipitous events, I attended all three Xerocons. As soon as my adventure commenced, people were weirdly obsessed with which Xerocon was the best. I was asked the same questions repeatedly, with many asking me to report back to them to let them know. It was never my intent to review and compare the three Xerocons, but there’s been so much interest in it I felt I should do something. So here it is.

Who won global #TourDeXerocon?

Clearly, without a doubt, the winner is me. I feel extraordinarily grateful and privileged to be in a position to attend all three Xerocons (and survive intact!). It’s a bucket list item that any Accounting tech-loving person never expects to do. I’ve connected with many fabulous people, heard many inspiring stories, built networks and nurtured relationships. I’ve been energised by being present and enjoying every moment of attending the Xerocons and the events and activities around them. 

Of the three Xerocons, London, NOLA, and Sydney, I can’t just pick one and say it was the best. It’s more nuanced than that. There are lots of elements that make up a Xerocon, so what I’ll do is pick different parts and rank accordingly. I recognise that much time, thought, and effort goes into producing Xerocon and surrounding events. Thank you to everyone involved, those I know and those I don’t know yet. My comments are from a place of kindness, experience, and wanting the best outcome for the community. I have given this commentary a great deal of thought, and while I’m sharing my opinion, I checked in with the community’s sentiment to ensure I was on the right track.

TL;DR Are three Xerocons better than one? 

Of course, you should read the rest of this epic post before you read this – but hey, we have TL;DR for people like you who want to get to the end.

Let me set the scene for you. The night before preXerocon, I’m on a narrowboat on a Leicester canal, I check my email and am distressed to learn my morning train trip to London has been cancelled due to the forecast record-breaking extreme heat. The following day, I woke up at 5am, hurriedly packed my bags, and ran down a country lane for two kilometres. I hitchhike in a car driven by the local prison warden to the small village train station. There are about 8 of us there, pleading with the station master that we need to get to London. The station master tells us that all London-bound trains have been cancelled. We look at each other in disbelief. He goes away for a while and returns to say to us one London-bound train is going to pass through the station. He will go out on the tracks with a white flag to try and wave it down. He tells us to stand on the platform; if it stops, just get on it fast. 

Every single person at London Xerocon experienced a similar adventure to get there. In addition, at the time of the London Xerocon, the UK country leadership was in limbo – they had no Prime Minister in place. During the challenges of the last two years, accountants and bookkeepers have worked to a point beyond exhaustion, and now here we are, excited that London Xerocon is going ahead after over a 1000-day break, and confronted with an economic, climate and political crisis.

I’m pinching myself that I am at London Xerocon. We have the best of the best. The country’s most forward-thinking, brightest, and resilient accountants and bookkeepers are in the room. They are the ones who are going to support one another and absorb the essence of that hot conference steam room, otherwise known as Tobacco Docks, and combine that with their superpowers to positively impact the communities around them. They are the ones that are going to help the UK small business economy ride out these crises.

It is a similar story in New Orleans and in Sydney.

In each country, I spent time with the Xero leadership team, and I have every confidence in them. That they understood the community and the purpose of accountants and bookkeepers, and what togeather we can achieve for the small business community and beyond. Of note, Ben Richmond, Country Manager United States, took to the stage and announced Xero will never compete with its customers. Special thanks to Joseph Lyons, who kindly gave me a shout-out at the opening Sydney address and has always been extraordinarily supportive of me. 

If only the Xero journey did not have to worry about those pesky shareholders (of which I am one) sometimes pulling the resources off course. 

As you’d expect, while some sessions were structured the same across the three Xerocons, the perspectives, insights and experiences were different where the participants differed. Unfortunately, time moves fast within the Xero conference bubble, and I left each one wishing I’d been able to do more, see more, experience more.

Being the unicorn, or outlier I am, I do many things because of an intense need to do something and figure it out afterwards. I started on this journey with my cup completely empty. I feel grateful and privileged to have been able to attend and survive all three global Xerocons. My cup is overflowing. I’m hopeful and positive for the future. If I could bottle and sell my energy and enthusiasm from attending all three Xerocons, I’d be a gazillionaire. To the many people that have told me they’ve been inspired by my travels, make magic happen!

Questions or Commentary

If you have any questions for me please feel free to contact me here.

Who paid for TourDeXerocon?

3 Xerocons, 3 Countries, 7 weeks and approximately 35000 km travelled. For the most part, I personally paid for my travel and Xerocon tickets. The team at Clarity kindly paid for my London Xerocon ticket. During my time in Denver, I was delighted to stay with Scott and Patti Scharf. Where possible, I kept costs down, by sharing taxis with fellow attendees.

Covid Lockdowns pushed London Xerocon, for the first time ever into a summer month. So that, combined with the International borders opening, and elderely family members in England to visit, was an easy choice. Let’s hope UK Xerocon can stay in the pleasant months, no one wants to visit England in February!

I had expiring Covid travel credit with United Airlines for my US travels. Many thanks to my strategic partners, who support me to support the community. Annature, ApprovalMax, BOMA Marketing, Chargebee, Debtor Daddy, DiviPay, Fathom, Synder, Float Cash Flow forecasting, G-Accon, Microkeeper, MinuteDock, MMC Receipt, TOA Global, WorkGuru and XBert. For future reference, current strategic partners are listed in all my social media banners.

The Xerocon themes

I’m not sure if there were any official themes, but if they were, they seemed to be around the community, wellbeing, inclusivity and diversity.

I want to highlight this article from Stuart Hurst, who talks about his experience attending London Xerocon and recognising the themes of wellbeing and people.

I talked to several people in the UK about this, and they said they felt they had not been supported in the wellbeing area. However, during the last two years of challenges here in Australia, if you popped your head up, numerous organisations were offering mental health and wellness support, from Xero to the professional associations. Note: I don’t think this is Xero’s responsibility, more of an observation than anything else.

As someone who fully supports I&D, I sometimes feel that the I&D theme can be a bit overdone. Aren’t we there yet? You do you, I’ll do me, and we live in a wonderful world. But unfortunately, when I step outside my safe bubble, the media appears to have a constant stream of extreme views. So maybe we need it to balance what is happening worldwide.

With a global labour shortage, enabling people to feel safe to bring their whole authentic selves to work and nurturing a community that promotes a sense of belongingness and purpose simply makes business sense. 

Which Xerocon had the best content?

  1. NOLA
  2. Sydney
  3. London

Quality content is really important to me and a key reason many people take time out of a busy schedule to attend a conference. 

But before I commence, let me first talk to my USA friends. Peeps! What’s the deal with your CPE requirements? Your CPE requirements are more onerous than the UK and AU. The UK and the AU events did not require us to check out of a session like we are third graders. Why are you putting up with that? Each professional body will be slightly different. I have to provide details of the educational event, evidence that I have attended, what I learnt at the event, and how it applies to me and my role. For my USA friends, is your industry benefiting from the extra admin and onus on you?

Enough of that CPE sidetrack; let’s get back to the content.

I would have liked more details ahead of time to help plan and coordinate the day. I want to know the session details, the level the session is pitched at, the speaker’s details and their bio. But, again, I want this ahead of time. 

We must know the experience level the content is being pitched at. My Brisbane friend and I settled into deck chairs in the front to listen to a London session. Once it started we looked at each other and realised that the session was content we’d heard a decade ago. We are now in the difficult situation of contemplating how we awkwardly roll out of the deck chair and try to find another session without rudely disturbing anyone. 

Also, I personally did not like the ‘surprise’ sessions, that no one could tell us the details of. My time is valuable, and I want to assess where I spend my time.

Bonus tip for Xero staff, be aware of the sessions and recommend appropriate ones to your partners if you think they could benefit from the content. I always appreciate insightful guidance in planning my day.

Many of the Xerocon sessions were overly scripted. Why? As an industry, we discuss the importance of being human and authentic; why robotic scripts? I’ve listed this in my ‘worst aspects of Xerocon’ section, so I won’t go into too much detail here.

As per my comment, “Which Xerocon had the best layout?” I struggled to navigate Tobacco Docks (London) venue, and once I found a session I wanted to go in, it would be ‘Socially distanced’ full, so I’d spend up to 20 minutes looking for the room, and then I was not allowed to go in, and I had to quickly figure out what else I could do.

Several of the break-out sessions of the Sydney Xerocon were structured horizontally when they should have been structured vertically. The sessions I wanted to attend were all on simultaneously, while there were significant time slots for sessions that were not my area of interest. To highlight an example, I was very fortunate to have the opportunity to participate in a panel on community. At the same time, there was an Apps with Elliot Spirrett & Michele Grisdale session, and at the same time, there was a talk with Sue Pak and Aly Garret on “Challenging your perspective in a changing industry”. Everyone I spoke to wanted to attend all three of those sessions, and they would have been perfect if they had been structured vertically instead of horizontally.

Like a good story, conferences have an energy flow. They have to start with a bang and inspiration and motivation. It’s an accounting conference, so we expect some necessary but low energy drier topics. Through the two days, we go up, we go down, it twists, and it turns. But then, in the end, it needs to go up. It needs to be something memorable, something summing up all of our feelings and experiences, and Alex von Schirmeister did this with the final talk he gave in London. He’s at a slight advantage. An economic, climate and political crisis combined with the confusion of navigating the venue, and the exhaustion of dancing the night away at a wrap party that was held on Day 1 had crushed us. He gave an inspiring, emotional wrap-up of the event that raised the hairs on my arms. Propelling us, as superheroes, back into the real world to save small businesses and the economy.

The Sydney #Xerocon conference story took a different direction. Daryl Braithwaite and his damn Wild Horses have spoiled the Australian and New Zealand audience. That’s the way it’s gonna be, little darlin’. Instead of an ageing and beloved rock star, Xerocon ended with an hour talk from the ATO. The topic of tax is not inclusive for an audience of accountants and bookkeeping professionals. Tax is not relevant to all of us – we are not all Australian tax accountants. Tax talk is never going to be uplifting. Yes, it was an excellent and important talk, but it was in the wrong place of the conference story.  (Though I will note that UK Chartered Accountant Jessica Pillow reported that she found it to be inspiring.)

A number of factors led to NOLA winning Content. The conference venue was easy and quick to navigate, I was easily able to get to the sessions, and there were a lot of excellent industry speakers who I got to hear from for the first time. I do like hearing from excellent industry speakers who are not trying to sell me anything.

Best sessions at Xerocon?

London

“The apps and tools to extend your practice beyond core accounting” with Lauren Harvey, CEO and founder of FullStop Accounting, Aynsley Damery CEO and founder Clarity HQ,  James Coleman, Xero and produced by Sophie Thomas, Xero.

New Orleans

Amanda Aguillard interviewed Ben Richmond, Xero Faye Peng, Xero about Xero’s work in the North American market.

Sydney

I was speaking at the same time as Sue Pak, Aly Garret, Alister Siew and Trudi Ballantyne had a panel on”Challenging your perspective in a changing industry” and “The apps and tools to extend your practice beyond core accounting” with Elliot Spirrett & Michele Grisdale and Julie Lindenberg, I’m sure they were both brilliant. 

Who was the best Xerocon MC?

  1. Sue Perkins (London)
  2. Alex Sheen (NOLA)
  3. Matt Okine (Sydney)

Yikes. Sorry. I feel quite brutal listing them in order! Let’s be clear, all the MCs were great. Sue Perkins, you may know her from “The Great British Bake Off”, was an absolute standout. Sue was on fire and in the zone. Sharp-witted and funny, she took the time to absorb what the conference was about and, during her spots, reflected back on what she was learning from the event. She was “present” with us. She respected who we were and what we were about. She wore a T-Shirt that said ‘Courtesy is Infectious’. It fills me with hope when someone with a platform and influence takes the time to understand what accountants and bookkeeping professionals really do and hopefully take that understanding with them. I had the “Sue Perkins is taking the to stage” theme music buzzing in my head for the next few days – I guess she just really resonated with me.

The other MCs did not put a step wrong, and many commented they were inspired by Matt Okine’s conversation with Adam Goodes in Sydney. 

Which Xerocon had the best ROI for attendees?

  1. Sydney AU$835
  2. NOLA AU$543.52 (US$399)
  3. London AU$556.81 (£294 )

I’ve included the price of my tickets, noting they may have been bought at an offered discount at the time, and the exchange rate. This is an interesting one because there are different prices and different lengths of time. As London ended on Day 2 without a wrap party, I felt I lost about ten hours of connection with the community. By Sydney’s sheer size, there is a lot more to do and a lot more to see. So depending on what interested you, you could find something. 

Which Xerocon had the best ROI for vendors?

  1. NOLA
  2. Sydney
  3. London

All events had what looked like to me a good turnout of forward-thinking, active members of the accounting community.  I was aware that a number of the people who attended NOLA were not Xero users, but I do not know the UK community well enough to make that comment.  So essentially, what I am saying is the people were there.

Based on the layout of the venue, the NOLA layout for vendors was the easiest to understand and navigate.  I felt this would give them a good platform to connect with the community.  Also, the USA market potential is huge.  If you have the capacity to serve, the market is there.

The sold-out Sydney conference has the most attendees, and understandably the Sydney venue is huge.  The main theatre was a good five minutes walk from the vendor area.  This keeps people away from the vendor area.  You could not duck in and out of the main theatre area easily.  If, say, there were three sessions in a row, and you were not interested in the middle one, it was a waste of time to leave and come back. 

Interestingly the smaller vendor stalls were on the main thoroughfare in the London event, so you were always walking by them, while some of the larger vendor stalls were tucked away in the rooms.

I think the best ROI for vendors is also linked to the layout.

Here’s an informative article from Ben Cull at Pinch Payments about getting the most from Xerocon as an exhibitor.

Which Xerocon had the best layout?

  1. NOLA
  2. Sydney
  3. London 

I think because both the NOLA and Sydney layouts were mainly in a large room, where you could stand at one corner and get the lay of the land, NOLA and Sydney layouts were easier to understand.  NOLA simply wins because it was a smaller layout, though understandably, Sydney needed to be a larger layout.

The longer I was at the London venue, the more confused I became.  After the event, it was explained to me the layout was an H rather than a long double-decker room with sections off to each side.

I had no idea what was happening with the London maps.  I’d stare at the map, and I could not figure out where the ‘You are here’ spot was or where I was.  I recall running up and down to try and find a toilet, and finally, I found one, and it was a shared toilet.  Well, that’s one box that unexpectedly got ticked in my life.  On the second day, in desperation at the valuable time lost I’d spent trying to find things at the venue, I went to the Xero help desk and asked a Xero staff member to take me to the Ignition stand. It took us fifteen valuable minutes to find it. (Noting Ignition was a premium sponsor).

I think all of the maps could have been easier to understand. 

I have no spatial awareness.  I’m not a boy scout.  I tried to study the maps before the event and plan my route, but I found them so difficult.  I’m not the expert here, but surely they are easier options.  For example, the Sydney map had vendor spots labelled E2, E+2, EP +2 and EP2 – what does that even mean?  Maybe NSEW, maybe big colour corners, maybe a simple segmented gridline.  I also think it’s helpful if the Xero staff know the venue layout, so they have a clear idea of where everything is and can help attendees find what they are looking for.

I’ll mention something that I’d been wondering about prior to attending. Guns / concealed weapons were not allowed in the NOLA venue, and most establishments had a sign saying they were not allowed within the venue.

Which Xerocon had the best food?

  1. Sydney
  2. NOLA
  3. London

Probably like you, I’m surprised Sydney won this. I’ve actually given up on expecting to eat at conferences, and now I have a ‘packed lunch’ backup plan in place. However it seems I was in the right place at the right time, but I managed to access the Sydney lunches quickly and easily, and there was ample supply and variety. One lunch, I even had the joy of queueing with Clayton Oates – how lucky am I? Like James Rose of Content Snare, I picked up the morning tea Portuguese tarts thinking they were mini quiches – oops!. 

I’m not sure what was happening at NOLA, as we all expected it to win when it came to food. At morning tea, there were local delight beignets dusted with powdered sugar. I wandered around and kept finding single pieces of pork belly, which was strange but tasty. There was a shrimp and grits station, another local delight, but I have a personal policy, ‘I don’t eat anything below the shoreline, so nothing below the shoreline eats me,’ so I avoided the shrimp. The NOLA coffee station offered honey, crystallised sugar on sticks, and four types of flavoured syrup, a sugar hit for your coffee. I occasionally found a bag of popcorn, thank you, Figured, and I found a pretzel which I shared with Liz Mason. So I’m not sure. Maybe I did not find the right spot at the right time.

Unfortunately, the London Xerocon was fraught with many challenges due to the unprecedented heat. I come from a hot weather climate, and basic hot weather food hygiene standards were not adopted. Notably, this is not just London Xerocon, but was generally my experience anywhere in London over those few days of the heat wave. As an example, serving plates were heated, and open milk jugs were left under direct sunlight for hours. 

I found myself in a long queue for nachos, and once I was finally served, they covered it in spicy jalapenos, so it was unfortunately inedible. However, it is quite a British thing to queue, so let’s say I was actively partaking in a ‘quintessential British activity’. I also got to spend time in the queue with Mark Jenkins, Director of The Gap and his wife, meeting for the first time in real life. Our worlds have intersected for over a decade, so it was brilliant to have the time to talk with him. I got to meet him again in Sydney and interviewed him at the Fathom stand

I should mention London did these refreshing and tasty vitamin shot glasses, which I did enjoy.

Product Announcements at Xerocon

By now, you should know all the product announcements that came out of Xerocon, so it’s not any benefit for me to go through them here. As it’s not a desktop solution, with the goal of the update being on a disc shipped once a year, product updates come out on a regular basis, and this is the way we want them to be. So we can’t expect something massive to be announced at a Xerocon, and whatever is announced is probably more for journalists and attention-grabbing headlines of people who don’t really understand the nuances of the industry and the products the accountants and bookkeepers in the trenches of the industry want.

I recall Timothy Munro of Change GPS Accountants sharing the story of how he bought into Xero on Rod Drury’s vision of what it would be. It was the shell of the Xero we know today. The vision of automation, data collection, integrated data sets and minimised manual entry, which would free us up to be Accountants and Bookkeepers that, is the destination that excited us. As the Xerocons progressed, there was an increase in the level of the visionary element that was incorporated into the product talks. 

However, I do have something interesting to share when it comes to the ‘Xero product’. Anyone who knows me knows I’ve been focused on pushing for a single product request for over five years now. (If you have the power, please vote here). I’ll give you a little background. Xero has updated the platform where you can submit product ideas or request feature updates. So the popular ones from the old platform were brought across, and that’s why the product request is sitting there as a request from the ‘Community Team’. I asked if I could have a meeting with Xeros’ Chief Product Officer, Anna Curzon, and Anna kindly agreed to meet with me.  

Grateful for her time, I explained the difficulty of being able to ‘mark off’ or reconcile non without bank feeds attached. All other mainstream accounting solutions have this functionality, and if you google ‘reconcile to the Balance Sheet‘, there are close to 8 million hits on this common term. It’s functionality that assists us in ensuring the accuracy of data in the accounts, and the lack of this feature is stopping some advisors focused on particular industries that rely heavily on clearing account reconciliations from moving across to Xero. I also mentioned I was particularly concerned with the growing number of Apps connecting to Xero, pushing data in, as it’s also important to clear these accounts too. Anna then asked if she could record me explaining this, so she could send it back to their product team, which of course, I obliged. 

I won’t waste space going into much detail here, but I will share that a few weeks later, I was contacted by representatives of the Xero product team, and a zoom meeting was coordinated, where I explained the issue and concerns. I had a long conversation with the Xero product team about the importance of being able to mark off all transactions, particularly in clearing accounts. They asked me lots of questions, and I feel I left the meeting with them understanding the importance of the issue. 

So that was my product news from Xerocon. Hopefully, we are further along on our journey and more members of the product team understanding this issue. 

What was the best Xerocon swag?

I feel a bit nervous writing this as I don’t want to encourage materialism. With a view to being environmentally friendly, I don’t take swag for the sake of swag. However, vendors spend a lot of money on swag, so highlighting some unusual or practical swag may be useful for them.

I’m biased, but clearly the best swag was from the ApprovalMax team, who purchased boxes of my book Xero for Dummies. I had the extraordinary delight of finding myself on an International Book Signing tour. 

Some interesting swag I encountered on my journey included:

  • Desk Vacuum by Crumbee Veem
  • Llama statue – Stripe
  • SiliPint unbreakable cup & straw – OnPay
  • Cocktail maker set – Figured
  • Thyme seeds – Planday
  • Chilli Sauce – Tipalti
  • Electrical travel bag – Chargebee
  • Toiletries Bag – Ignition
  • Favourite T-Shirt designs – Botkeeper 
  • Coffee – Re-Leased 
  • South African BBQ Rub – Syft
  • Special mention to Syft, who designed a different T-Shirt for each location 
  • Spectacular Glasses – both Clarity HQ & Clarity Street

It seemed to me that the swag on offer at the NOLA Xerocon was generally of better quality and value, around the $20 mark. Perhaps because of the colder weather, US Thermos cups seem to be made to a much higher standard than elsewhere. So I did take advantage of this and picked up a few – thank you Approval Max, Corpay, and rippling. I always like the good quality notebooks on offer to add to my handbag.

Which Xerocon had the best Ignition party?

  1. London
  2. Sydney
  3. NOLA

I’m calling it. London Xerocon 2022 was the best ever Ignition party I’ve been at! A massive car park rooftop was turned into a multi-layered tropical-themed party, with bubbles, pop music and a dash of croquet. A fantastic way to survive the hottest day observed in London’s history, combined with the energy of seeing each other for the first time in person in such a long time. (Plus the bonus Hugh Walker factor!)

The Sydney Ignition party was terrific, and it was great to catch up with so many of my Australian friends for the first time in a long time. Unfortunately, the trappings of what I do, I had what the police term as an obsessed stalker at the event, was warned early, and kept in one spot surrounded by my tribe to avoid an unwanted confrontation. So I did not venture through the other activities, like the Lego table, but was told there was more fun stuff happening upstairs.

The venue for the NOLA Ignition party looked spectacular. It was packed too tightly for someone wanting to avoid Covid, so I didn’t spend long there.

Which Xerocon had the best wrap party

All the wrap parties were brilliant, so I’m not ranking them. I spent the night of each wrap party pinching myself and thinking how lucky I was to be there. To be able to experience a party of that calibre in an iconic city – what an absolute privilege. 

But London, we have something to talk about. What’s with a conference party, on Day 1, midway through the conference? Nope. Nopeity, nope nope nope. The party needs to be on Day 2. The problem with having it on Day 1, is that we don’t want to stay out too long cause we have a conference to go to the next day. We spent the whole evening holding back. Then the next day we were exhausted because we just went to the best party ever held in London. I, the energiser bunny, even arrived at Day 2 of the conference one hour late because I slept in, and I never sleep in. Now we are all tired and going through Day 2, and then Alex von Schirmeister delivers this emotional, inspiring wrap-up of the day, and we all have to go home? What we needed to do was take all the energy and enthusiasm from the conference to a Day 2 wrap party. We would have an extra ten hours togeather, and not have to worry about staying out late, and really take everything we have experienced and enjoy ourselves and sing karaoke.

Also, for people who don’t want to go to the wrap party, there are always plenty of people who want to buy a ticket to the wrap party. So you end up seeing a few people who, for whatever reason, did not make it to the conference! Good Times!

Worst things about Xerocon?

ONE: I’m really upset that the theme of Community and Xero’s Community was constantly talked about at Xerocon, yet the Xero Community Manager Catherine Walker was not in attendance at any Xerocon. Catherine intuitively started building and running a highly engaged Xero community fifteen years ago. This was before books were written on the topic of Community, before Community Management was taught at university before businesses recognised the importance of Community and relationships. For many of us, Catherine was one of our first connections with Xero and has been a day-to-day consistent and trusted support to us throughout our time using Xero. She supported us through the challenges of the last two year. The ecosystem around Xero looks to Catherine for advice on running communities. Catherine is a precious orange gem and an important part of the Xero community. Catherine must be the longest-serving Xero employee on the ground in the USA, and she should at least have been at NOLA.

Many people remarked to me they were disappointed she was not there. Even the Intuit people who were at Xerocon were asking after Catherine. As the peer-voted Xero Community Champion, I can say unequivocally the Community wants Catherine Walker at Xerocons. An orange line needs to be permanently etched in the Xerocon budget to ensure Catherine attends future Xerocon. Please, Xero don’t become so corporate that you forget what makes you special.

TWO: Why was everything so scripted? Every Xerocon was robotically and freakishly scripted. We are a highly intelligent audience. We want spontaneity, real people, and raw conversations. It was explained to me that the lawyers needed to sign off on the scripts for all sessions. But why? This level of scripting does not happen at other conferences. Sure there is a structure, and practice is vitally important, but in an industry where we keep telling people to embrace the robots so we can humanise the experience, why was everything so scripted? If we think about the breakout sessions, what’s the worst that could possibly happen? For most of us, there’s nothing we know that could impact share price or nothing we could say that’s so scandalous that it ends up in the media. As a very experienced speaker, the over-scripting was confining and unnecessarily stressful.

THREE: This one is for the vendors; what marketing 101 class said, “Spend a lot of money buying a stall at a massively important conference, and then hang a big sign up directing people to another business’s website???” If the attendee is short on time, they are going to skip your stall because they can go to another business website later on. Which they won’t because they forgot, and someone spent their money promoting another business…

Cool tips I picked up at Xerocon

I’m referencing the conference, not the content here. The first two tips came from Sharon Pocock.

ONE: Sharon took photos of every single presentation slide and then shared them with me via Google Photos. It was both a great reminder of sessions I had attended and a summary of sessions I had not attended. I will definitely adopt this in future and encourage maybe a collaborative sharing area for photos – especially when things are not recorded.

TWO: Spa day after the conference. Pampering and relaxing while debriefing from the conference with colleagues before returning to reality! You deserve it. I sometimes think people don’t take enough time to reflect on their experience.

THREE: Avoid the lunch queue and take along a packed lunch

FOUR: Create a new email address for each year and sign up for conferences that way. You can monitor it for the year and then close the whole email down and maintain some control over your InBox.

FIVE: Consider going to a destination conference.

Thank you

There are so many people I would like to take this opportunity to thank.

Cara Weers – the Queen of Xerocon, thank you for everything you do in coordinating the conferences. I thought of you often during the lockdowns, wondering what a conference planner does during a lockdown and knowing how important it would be for the community to attend Xerocon after 1000-plus days. You certainly delivered the magic. Thank you.

Elliot Spirrett. Bloody marvellous to have someone with a kindred love of the Accounting App world enjoy and survive all three Xerocons with me. So grateful

Abby Hempfling. We made it! How wonderful to be at all three Xerocons with you. Thank you for lining up meetings with me and for all of your insight, wisdom and support along the way!

Penny Elmslie. Thank you for all of your support for almost the last decade. It always brings a smile to my face when I see you busy on the other side of a conference hall. 

Emma Fox, Sharon Pocock, Kellie Parks, Amanda Aguilard. Thank you, mama bears, for looking after me, looking out for me, and making sure I knew everything that was going on and had an incredible time.

Will Lopez who took me on a tour of the Gusto offices in Denver, and organised the prepreXerocon dinner, that his flight was delayed for so he missed, but gave me the chance to meet some fabulous humans IRL

Again many thanks to my strategic partners, who support me to support the community. Annature, ApprovalMax, BOMA Marketing, Chargebee, Debtor Daddy, DiviPay, Fathom, Synder, Float Cash Flow forecasting, G-Accon, Microkeeper, MinuteDock, MMC Receipt, TOA Global, WorkGuru and XBert. For future reference, current strategic partners are listed in all my social media banners.

Please also refer to the stories that you can see to the right that I have posted on LinkedIn of some of the other incredible people I met on my travels.

I hope you have been inspired by the idea of attending an overseas Xerocon. If you have any other questions you’d like me to answer about this journey, please let me know.

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