Essays/linkedin/24-05-14 to conference or not to conference

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👭 To conference or not to conference? That's a tough question for startups and, fundamentally, for #scipreneurs.

Conferences are excellent places to meet people, to have chats, to understand what is going on in a field. But they are also expensive.

A booth at an international conference can cost upwards of 10000€. Adding transport and accommodation for a couple of people and you will start double guessing if the price warrants the value.

Of course it is possible to attend a conference without sponsoring it. The company will not get as much exposure but you can still make a lot out of it.

The first conference I attended representing my company was not a big one, but a relevant one. By having chats with poster presenters I learned about the struggles of the daily routine. I heard first-hand experience of how awful it was working with other instruments. I made a quick mental picture of how we could place ourselves.

PI's were very open at discussing long-term views and opportunities. They gave me concise insight on what key results were missing. And they were very transparent about expected costs.

Conferences are also a great place to become known and to get to know the competition. You can learn a lot by discussing with representatives of other companies. Are they as successful as they claim on the website?

But conferences can also distract you from what is important: building tools for your customers. As a small team, you don't have the bandwidth nor the resources to be everywhere.

A conference can become a mix of marketing, business development, and even tech development.

A successful conference is one in which processing the outcome takes very long. Reaching out to new connections, expanding the competitor matrix, adapting timelines.

Choosing which conferences to attend is still something I don't do very rationally. I check who the sponsors are. I try to see who are the plenary speakers of the previous years. Sometimes I am lucky and get first-hand experiences and recommendations.

But in the end is something based mostly on gut feeling.

And you, as a #scipreneur, do you have a concise approach to deciding which conferences are you joining with your startup?

-- 👋 Hi! I'm @Aquiles.

I'm a scientist turned entrepreneur. I share insights on the challenges of #scipreneurship

Follow me to get all my latest thoughts and reflections.


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