Since I founded Jamersan, we have been a small development shop. I spent the early years making some great strategic partnerships that helped us not have to do sales yet stay swamped with work. Because we were always swamped and “head down” getting work done, we never spent much time thinking about industry conferences such as SunshinePHP or Magento’s Imagine Conference. It was a mistake I wish I could go back and undo sooner.
Conferences have the obvious benefit of being a great place to network and get to know fellow developers in the industry. It’s a great place to build those relationships you’ll need to grow and recruit the top talent. We met some great PHP and Magento developers at SunshinePHP 2016. We had a great dinner at Prime 112 with Ben Marks and Phillip Jackson compliments of Miami locals Imagination Media. As expected, the networking was fantastic.
By being “too busy” during our early years of being in business, who knows how many opportunities for work or potential employees we missed by not properly networking? It’s probably the single biggest reason it took so long for us to start growing.
I wished we had taken advantage of all those years of networking opportunities. However, the thing that I believe I missed out on the most was keeping up with all the technologies and techniques that the best shops are using. I took us growing and hiring top talent before we started recognizing the tools they used at their previous employers.
There are a ton of modern tools out there to help developers be the best they can be. In my desire to make Jamersan the best development shop that it can be, I am confident that we could have gotten there much earlier by visiting more industry conferences and listening to the great talks that they have put together.
I will make a point in the future to get more of my developers to conferences. Conferences can be expensive endeavors for a small business. In addition to travel, lodging, and tickets, time not coding is time not billing. Regardless, if you are building a business and want to get better and do so rapidly, you need to find conferences in your industry and get as many of your developers to it as you can reasonably afford.
You won’t regret it.