Behind Conferece Buddy
I wrote a few words about how I thought of the idea of a “Conference Buddy” in my introduction. Currently, Conference Buddy is a one-woman-show
How I develop Conference Buddy
The way I try to develop Conference Buddy is inspired by modern product development frameworks like Lean Startup or how Spotify builds products: I had the idea to solve a problem of mine. Against my first impulse, I tried not do plan anything further.
Instead I build a simple website where I described in a few words what problem Conference Buddy wanted to solve. I added a sign up for a mailing list, created a twitter account and shared my idea with the world. This worked as an interest check. I wanted to see: Are there people like me where Conference Buddy could be of use? Is there a need beside my own?
What came next teached me an important lesson: Conference Buddy is mainly about two things - Communication and Community.
When the first website with infos about the idea behind Conference Buddy was launched, the feedback was quite overwhelming. It seems to hit a nerve in the community. Amazingly, this mere idea evolved and within days. People began to send tweets, offering to be and looking for a Conference Buddy. The first successes were made simply over a few tweets.
Just like this, all ideas of next steps I already had thought of were obsolete. Luckily I hadn’t start building anything. There is no need to build a database of names, events and locations and match things artificial. The community is already taking care of that. So Conference Buddy just needs to provide a place where people can find each other easily and get ideas which conferences to visit.
Conference Buddy solves a very specific need: Help people that are uncomfortable or even afraid to go to a tech conference on their own. It’s about getting in contact with one or more person ahead of time, communicate and get a bit comfortable with them. It’s about building a – superficial – level of trust. I feel this works best with providing the opportunity to get in contact with others from the community in a asynchronous way. I feel this kind of slow communication sometimes minimizes stress. And while Twitter is a great tool to reach a lot of people, it’s not the best way to make a reliable, long-term agreement.
Considering the success on Twitter, the first iteration of Conference Buddy has already happened and delivered a first proof of concept. So this lead to the second iteration. It will be very exciting to see how this works! Your feedback is vital to make Conference Buddy grow, become better and be more useful. So let’s do this together!