10 Things I Learned from Going to Global Conferences

One of the sure-fire ways to fail at a conference is to let yourself be swept away by all the excitement and rely on memory alone to keep you on track.

Having said that, you should also remember to sleep, eat and dress to impress, because the dark circles of desperation around your eyes aren’t going to help you sell anyone on your big idea. It’s a high-wire balancing act, trying to get to where and who matters to your strategy, without burning out – and that’s especially true for a 3+-day event, so be careful not to run out of energy.

Accept that you can’t be everywhere and you’ll have more peace of mind during the event, which in turn will let you take advantage of the opportunities it presents. If you can, bring someone along with you (or hire an intern for the event) so they can be at the fixed location (stand) assigned to you while you work the room.

The thing to remember here is that not every event, however well-attended, will be a right fit for your needs. And it’s your job to make sure it’s worth your time at this particular point in time. How you do that is by reviewing the speakers, attendees and connected events/workshops/talks on the event website, as well as by contacting the organizers directly with your questions or concerns.

1. Not every conference is right for you, no matter how big and glitzy

Arrive as early as possible in order to get through registration in the first wave and take in the space at your leisure. Map it out and commit the venue to memory. That way, you’ll always know where you’re going and you won’t risk a wrong turn delaying you from a meeting.

Tips for Attending Conferences

You never want to be caught off-guard, and if you are, you’ll certainly want it costing you as little valuable time as possible.

When I’m going solo to multi-day events, I like to pack high-protein snacks to keep me going well into the evening (but do read the room before you start peeling that banana!).

2. Strategize in advance

Also, pool your notes and ideas touched on at the event, with an eye to extracting value from them by way of content for your blog, and other places you might want to guest write on, as well as for infographics, whitepapers, presentation slides or other types of engaging nuggets you can turn out.

The big names on the speakers’ roster are used to being wooed, so much so that they’ll sniff out a pitch way before you can get a word in. You can’t afford to abuse their time or openness, and you’re unlikely to have another shot at impressing them.

Brush up on your research and stalking skills to get a feel for what those influencers or companies or competitors (etc.) are about: what kind of stories that reporter covers; what kind of product that startup is offering; what kind of outreach initiative that influencer is keen on, and so forth.

If your docket is looking too crowded, set up reminders on your phone, so you can sit back and enjoy the moment without fidgeting in your seat or looking at your watch every 30 seconds.

And, let’s not kid ourselves, making all the travel and ticket-booking arrangements, not to mention the interruption in your daily activities for the duration of the event – will most likely seem like a pain. The trick to it is easing that pain by attaching actionable goals to this effort.

3. Don’t scramble for success, practically plan for leads instead

So you should aim for your pitch to blend seamlessly into a chat, perhaps, at one of the after-hour events. It’s so much more likely for that sort of chill conversation to stand out in someone’s mind – how much it stands out will ultimately depend on your personal charm and gift of the gab.

You’ve little use for a three-day break in your routine building the next big thing in IoT if the only thing it might get you is an insight into social media marketing. Not that marketing won’t tie into your launch at some point along the way, but if time is of the essence and delays could make or break your launch strategy, you’re probably better off attending such a conference at a later date.

Everyone’s looking for the exact same thing you are – networking, one-to-one face time with the big shots, the tech titans and the influencers. So you’ll want to get your QR-equipped business cards (and your Intro app) ready, as well as install the event app ahead of time and tinker around to know its functionalities by heart before you land

Presentation Ready for Pitching

While you do have to clear your mind to soak up all the information available, it will come from both your best-laid plans and pure happenstance, so you’ll most likely feel bombarded throughout.

You’ll also need to mark out your time there to the minute, so that you ensure everything goes your way: every meeting, every talk, every cocktail you’ve marked out on the event schedule, you should make a point of getting there with time to spare.

4. Take in the room(s) and schedule your steps like a wire-walker

Most of all, keep track of answers and mentions that relate to your posts, as the always-in-the-now nature of social media can help you pick up where the face-to-face nature of conferences leaves off.

You’re likely going to have one shot at reeling out your presentation, so put your best foot forward. That means never ever running out of juice midway through and having someone from the developer team on hand back home to remotely fix whatever glitches might come up.

know your venue

Going out of town for a conference will often put the entrepreneur in a tense, salesy frame of mind – but s/he can’t afford to forget that those precious contacts he aims to seek out while there are most likely traveling for the fun of it.

Even without the prospect of bending an investor’s ear, pencil in a night or two of going out on the town – mainly because the whole point of the trip is meeting people and getting feedback on your idea.

5. Factor in the physical limitations at a crowded event

That way, when you find yourself face to face with them "by chance," you’ll have a nice ice-breaker to smooth the way to the conversation you’re aching to have.

Even if it’s not readily actionable, this information can prove to be a treasure trove, and you owe it to your business to bring back as much of that to your team (that’s aside from the souvenirs).

There’s a lot going on in the hallways, in the restaurants, cafes and hotels the conference is partnered with: useful feedback on speakers, tips on how to approach them, tidbits about your industry, anything can help you move your business forward.

Do your homework on the attendees and speakers, find the ones you’re most likely to benefit from talking to, and hone in on them.

6. Keep your wits, and your notes, about you

Even if your ultimate goal is getting your product in front of the right people, the conference halls will always be chock-full of information you won’t even know you needed but could prove valuable in the short and long terms.

I can’t stress this enough: you can’t afford to be walking aimlessly around the conference venue during the event.

For one thing, because you’ll be thrown off your game when you eventually forget your notepad at the hotel; and, for another, because the notes you take on your phone, under a new, dedicated (set of) tag(s), will be easier to skim through and follow up on at home.

Take notes

The first thing you need to do, even before you register your attendance, is review the event and how it fits your purposes.

7. Ride the social media waves & trends like a pro

For that impromptu pitch (and the meetings you’ve already set with attendees by contacting them beforehand), be sure to come prepared with all the devices and power cables you might need.

A global conference is the best place to meet influencers, get prospects and/or feedback on a new project. That being said, if you’ve looked over the information about the conference in question and decided it’s a good investment of your time and money – the next step is planning your moves once you are there.

Having said that, resist the temptation to drink and pitch – it’s a losing combo, trust me on that.

But as a first-time attendee there are a few things to keep in mind. If it’s the same for you, I’d advise you to keep a checklist like mine before registering for any global conference, otherwise you run the risk of going through the trouble in vain.

8. Keep your eyes peeled and your ears pricked up

The thing about being a bootstrapping entrepreneur is that you’ll often find yourself being a one-man band as well. To maximize the takeaways from a global conference, you have to be engaged at all times, preferably around a common conference hashtag.

For the first two weeks or so after the conference closes its doors, the subjects discussed and the contacts made are still fresh in everyone’s mind.

It’s also worth looking into whether a one-day pass will do for your present purposes (i.e. if you just want to bend the ear of an influencer that’s scheduled to be attending or talking on a particular day).

9. Getting the most out of a conference is also about having fun!

While getting ready to attend a web submit, I found myself reviewing the fundamentals of attending such industry events. The good vibe, and constructive feedback you can get from one of these always makes them worth the ticket, in my book.

People might be more inclined to chat in an informal setting, plus of which you yourself will have an easier time pitching a potential lead or influencer (without seeming desperate) when you’re more at ease and no one else is vying for their attention.

The only way you can stay on top of all this rapid-fire info, contact details and business ideas, is by constantly taking notes. Well-tagged notes, at that. My advice to pen-and-paper holdovers is to ditch their notepad and install Evernote on their phone already.

after hours party

Whenever you can spare a couple of minutes, pull up the contacts you’ve just made and look them up on Twitter, where you can engage with them right off the bat on the subjects raised at the conference, without the interaction seeming forced.

Tweet, gram, re-gram and post to every social channel already included in your marketing strategy, but remember not to hashtag it up on Linkedin, the professional nature of which doesn’t quite jibe with the millennial hash.

Any idea can be spun out into a (highly converting) article, if you put your mind to it which you definitely should – it’s not for nothing that "content marketing" is the top buzzword of our age!

10. Strike up follow-ups while the conference is still hot

If more of your team can be present at the event, direct them on where to be in advance, so you can cover more ground together. If you’re on your own, pick your best bets and prospects according to your goals and hope it all pans out.

Forget the old adage about God laughing at your plans, because there’s nothing like winging it to kill your chances of getting the most out of an event that draws a crowd of others trying to do the same.

follow up

Trust me on this, going to a conference unprepared will only land you in a sea of people you won’t know the first thing about, or what to do with.

Jump on that (narrow window of) opportunity to follow up with the people you’ve met, driving conversions where you can and building relationships that you might convert later.


10 Project & Task Management Tools To Try

Updatey offers various good features which include:

Con(s): There are limitations to the free plan as in only 100MB of free storage, and 5 allowed integrations. The paid version gives up to 20GB free storage and user rights management, but no Gantt Charts.

Freedcamp

Bambam offers among its many features:

Freedcamp

Twoodo keeps your work and team organized and lets you your assign projects directly from conversations, giving this project management tool a "social" twist. Twoodo uses hashtags (#) to keep a topic organized with a particular set of people. You can also generate actionable workflows from team discussions and that doesn’t require filling additional forms or templates.

  • tasks management via to-do lists or sticky notes (kanban board)
  • sync with Google Calendar
  • extendable with extensions

With Comindwork, you can:

Taiga

Con(s): This extensive project management tool does not come with Gantt Charts. Plus, there is no free plan, only a 2-week free trial with no limits on the number of users. After the trial period is over, pricing plans start from $10/mth for 1-3 users.

Taiga

Among some of the cooler features HiTask has include:

  • issue tracker which classifies the issue and lets you assign a person in charge of it
  • integration with various tools like HipChat, Slack, and more
  • Taiga’s API is made available

Some highlights of this AceProject are such as:

Restya

HiTask is a project-sharing platform that doubles as a to-do list. It synchronize tasks among co-workers, and also integrates with Google Calendar. With HiTask, you can avoid the headache of completing large projects with benefits like email integration, import and export tool, media attachments, developer APIs, etc. It’s also a big fan of the drag-and-drop movement which makes changes easier to make and reorganize.

Restya

Along with its social allure, Twoodo also lets you:

  • extensibility with apps such as Slack, GitHub and more
  • supports workflow automation with more than 500 apps via Zapier
  • integration with Amazon Echo (premium feature)

Comindwork is a premium cloud-based tool with integrated CRM, featuring time tracking, billing management, and customizable Gantt charts for better collaboration with team and co-workers. With Comindwork, you can manage your tasks easily by auto-scheduling your work. Comindwork is a centralized program which keeps your work organized and allows early-bird view on project statuses.

Bambam

If you find it difficult to manage your team and projects or find difficulty in keeping them at top productivity levels, then a project management tool is your best bet to see better results. To help you find the finest project and task management tool, we’ve compiled below a list of 10 project management services that offer essential features at zero or minimum cost.

Bambam

Con(s): You can’t set user permission for edit or viewing roles, and with its focus on its reporting features, there isn’t a Gantt chart available.

  • smart news streams
  • unlimited disk space
  • permission management
  • custom apps and triggers
  • time tracking

Taiga is an award-winning, open-source project management for agile development, designed to make work management flexible. It supports elasticity among all industries and all types of work. And it lets you list the issues that require enhancement and allows tasks management to accomplish each goal including its sub-tasks.

AceProject

Con(s): There is no management of product backlog like Taiga does, even though it is supposed to facilitate agile development.

Aceproject

Con(s): Comindwork does not have a free plan but you can fill in a form to request a personalized demo for you to try out. The Starter plan charges $10 per user, up to 10 users per month. External users like partners, clients and vendors can use it for free though.

  • Gantt charts
  • a time tracker & expense reports
  • document sharing & permission management

Freedcamp is an effective project management tool that keeps your work and schedule organized at a single place. It houses unlimited users and projects, and offers 200 MB free storage for your project files and other team data. You can use it to manage your business team, wedding plans, school projects, travel plans and more.

ProjectPlace

Taiga offers highlights such as:

Projectplace

Con(s): Updatey does not come with role-based permission management and is not customizable for a more personalized appearance. It also does not feature Gantt Charts.

  • customize kanban boards to suit preferences
  • grab files from cloud storage (integrated feature)
  • utilize commenting systems that work with @mentions

Con(s): Despite this being a free tool, some of the nice features it has to offer are under premium upgrades. This includes CRM, issue trackers, invoices, larger storage and data backup. The good news is they are modular, so you only pay for what you need.

Updatey

Con(s): While it has the feature to screenshare with up to 100 members, Gantt charts as well as version control for your document management needs, these are only under the Enterprise (paid) plan. It also does not have product backlog management.

Updatey

For more project management tools, check out:

  • centralized project notes for easy access by all team members
  • timing log (time-tracking)
  • screenshot sharing for tasks

Unlike other complex tools, AceProject doesn’t let you wrack your brain and helps you find the options easily in its simple, easy and intuitive user interface. It also comes with email notification. The free plan gives you 250 MB free storage, 50 active tasks (if you deactivate the task, it doesn’t count to the total), 2 projects and 5 users only.

Twoodo

Con(s): Projects under the free plan are made public. If you want to use Taiga and keep your project private, you get 1 private project for free for up to 25 members, any more than that and you’ll have to opt for a paid plan starting from $19/month.

Twoodo

Some highlights Restyaboard has to offer include:

  • add tasks by drag and drop & sync with Google Calendar
  • work with integrated cloud storage services like Dropbox and Google Drive
  • work with task management and collaboration services like Trello, Slack, Bitbucket etc

Freedcamp offers super useful features including these highlights:

HiTask

Bambam is an advanced task management tool that adapts to the various needs of different industries, with its customizable workflow and layout manager. The same data set can be displayed in different layouts for different viewers eg developers, designers, clients etc. You can assign tasks, set milestones, prioritize work, and add filters to easily identify and manage the tasks among your teammates.

HiTask

Some of ProjectPlace’s highlights are the ability to

  • custom reporting
  • issue tracking
  • smart grouping for better organization

Restya is home to the Restyaboard, an open source, self-hosted, kanban-type project management tool, which allows adding boards easily and features offline sync (an awesome feature). Restya is heavily inspired on Trello and allows the importing of Trello’s data including boards, organizations, and members. To get a feel of how Restyaboard works, check out the demo here.

Comindwork

These tools keep your projects and team organized under one roof and on the same page as a project develops. Some of these tools include time-tracking and invoicing tools, commenting systems and version controls, and intuitive interfaces to keep everyone on track to achieve their milestones.

Comindwork

Updatey is a simple and minimal project management platform with an elegant interface where all the options are easily accessible and you can view your project in the big picture to be aware of your goals and other important details. You can also share snapshots with your teammates, and share the progress of the work to keep them up-to-date.

  • prioritize your work and milestones
  • get unlimited customizable options as well as ready-for-business apps
  • get weekly backups and a data import tool

ProjectPlace is an all-in-one project management platform, which improves online collaboration and engagement among teams. You can communicate in real-time and share media resources with your teammates on a single dashboard. Moreover, you can manage workload, secure accounts with two-factor authentication, integrate using API’s, and do much more.

Con(s): Restyaboard’s UI is based on the kanban board and card style. If this is not your cup of tea, you might be better off with other tools in this list.

  • 10 project management tools for freelancers
  • Working remotely? Here are the 10 best project management software for you.
  • 10 best collaborative apps for project managers


Understanding CSS Writing Methodologies

BEM’s site also lists how the block, element and modifier segregation can also be brought into the CSS file system. The blocks like “buttons” and “inputs” can have their own folders consisting the files (.css,.js) that are associated with those blocks, which makes things easier when we want to import those blocks in other projects.

A “block” is essentially the same as an “object”(from the example before), an “element” refers to the components of the block (image, title, preview text in the above preview-post- objects). A “modifier” can be used when the state of a block or element changes, for example when you add an active class to a menu item to highlight it, the active class acts as your modifier.

In OOCSS, the very first step that Nicole proposes we do is to identify objects in CSS.

Cons of BEM:
To keep the names sane-looking, BEM advises that we keep block to element nesting shallow.

CSS Methodology

Pros of BEM:
Easy to use class names and reduction in deep CSS selectors.

Nicole also suggests to not add styles based on location, for example, instead of targeting all the links inside a particular div to highlight, give those links a highlighter class with the appropriate CSS styles. This way when you need to highlight a link in some other part of the page, you can reuse the highlighter class.

Pros of ACSS:
Styling HTML without leaving HTML.

  1. OOCSS (Object Oriented CSS)
  2. BEM (Block, Element, Modifier)
  3. ACSS (Atomic CSS)
  4. SMACSS (Scalable and Modular Architecture for CSS)

We need to separate structure and skin (ie styles that create the objects’ appearance). The two types of objects have different structures, one is in a larger box even though they look similar, with images to the left and titles to the right.

1. OOCSS

We have here two types of objects, a bigger preview of titles which we will name post-preview-primary and a sidebar with titles which we will name post-preview-secondary.

oocss

The above CSS methodologies will give you a system to manage and optimize your CSS codes. They can be combined together, like OOCSS-SMACSS, or OOCSS-BEM, or BEM-SAMCSS to suit your needs.

Let’s give the images of both objects a class post-preview-image and add the code that puts the image on the left. This stops us from having to repeat the code of where to put the image inside objects in CSS. If there are other similar objects, we reuse post-preview-image for them.

OOCSS Objects

Once you’ve identified the components, name them accordingly. For example:

“SMACSS is a way to examine your design process and as a way to fit those rigid frameworks into a flexible thought process. – Jonathan Snook”

Skin separation can also be done for simpler styles like borders or backgrounds. If you have multiple objects with the same blue border, creating a separate class for the blue border and adding it to objects will reduce the number of times the blue borders have to be coded in CSS.

Cons of SMACSS:
None I can think of.

A methodology is a system of methods. Think of a method as simply a way of doing something in a systematic manner, in a certain preset way of doing things to achieve the result we want.

The naming can be modified to what works for you. The idea is to be able to identify, blocks, elements and modifiers from the class names. Check out some of the naming system listed in the BEM site.

Our preferred methods have either been established on our own over time or influenced by others or required in our workplace or due to all of the above. But over time, CSS veterans have formulated methodologies to write CSS that are more flexible, defined, reusable, comprehensible and manageable.

2. BEM

Cons of OOCSS:
Without a fair amount of repeating visual patterns, separating structure and visual style codes seem unnecessary.

bem

SMACSS identifies 5 types of style rules namely base, layout, module, state, and theme.

Cons of ACSS:
Too many classes, not very neat and you might hate it.

  • a menu block will have the class menu
  • its items will have the class menu__item (block and element are separated by double underscore)
  • the modifier for the disabled state of the menu can have the class menu_disabled (modifier delimited by a single underscore)
  • modifier for the disabled state of a menu item can be menu__item_disabled.

For modifiers, we can also use key_value format for naming. For example, to distinguish any menu items that link to obsolete articles, we can give them the class menu__item_status_obsolete, and for styling any menu items that point to pending documents, the class name can be menu__item_status_pending.

Below is an example of classes based on ACSS and how they’re used in HTML.

To get better results, we improve our methods by planning them better, changing up the order, simplifying steps – whatever that works faster and is more efficient.

It’s hard to determine when ACSS (Atomic CSS) was first developed since the concept has been in use for a while now. Developers have been using classes like .clearfix{overflow: hidden} for a long time. The idea in ACSS is to have a class for pretty much every reusable non-content related property-value pair we’ll need in our site, and to add those classes when needed to the HTML elements.

In this post we’re going to see what CSS writing methodologies are, some well known methodologies, and how they can be useful to us in optimizing our CSS code. Let’s start with the simplest question to get the ball rolling. What is a methodology?

3. ACSS

Take for example this structure from this site. Here’s something that is a repeating visual pattern and has its own independent HTML and/or CSS:

acss

Made famous by Yahoo, somewhere near the end of the first decade of the 21st century, ACSS’s key concepts consists of creating classes for the most atomic level of styling i.e. a property-value pair, then using them in HTML as needed.

Note: None of the concepts mentioned below should be confused with any framework, library or tool that may have the same name and concept as these methodologies. This post is only about the methodologies to write CSS.

Now let’s talk about CSS methodology. Just like with just about everything in life, we’ve a method of writing CSS too: some write reset CSS first, some place layout styles last, some start with two to three classes for styling an element, some write all the CSS codes in a single file.

The different style rules can be identified using a prefix in the class name for example, l-header (for layout) or t-header (for theme). We can also organize these different types of rules by placing them in separate files and folders.

“Basically, a CSS "object" is a repeating visual pattern, that can be abstracted into an independent snippet of HTML, CSS, and possibly JavaScript. That object can then be reused throughout a site. – Nicole Sullivan, Github (OOCSS)“

4. SMACSS

Developed in 2011 by Jonathan Snook SMACSS (Scalable and Modular Architecture for CSS) works by identifying the 5 different types of style rules. Class names and filing system are created based on these.

There’s a free online book you can read about SMACSS, or you can buy its ebook version to study it more.

smacss

We’re going to look at those formulated methodologies, which will include:

  • Base styles are the default styles directed at the basic HTML tags like <p>, <a:link>.
  • Layout styles are styles used to define the layout of the page, like coding where the header, footer and side menus will go.
  • Module styles are specific to a module like gallery or slideshow.
  • State styles are for highlighting elements with changeable states like hidden or disabled.
  • Theme is used for changing the visual scheme of the page.

There are also frameworks and libraries if you want an automated system for executing CSS methodologies such as:

 .mr-8{margin-right: 8px;} .fl-r{float:right;} <div class='mr-8 fl-r'> </div>

As you can see, the number of classes will get high with this method and the HTML will be crowded by all those classes. This method isn’t 100% effective but can be made useful if wanted. Yahoo uses this after all.

Pros of SMACSS:
Better organized code.

Developed by developers at Yandex in 2009, the key concepts for BEM (Block, Element, Modifier) encompasses identifying block, element & modifier and naming them accordingly.

Conclusion

Developed by Nicole Sullivan in 2008, the key concepts of OOCSS (Object Oriented CSS) includes CSS object identification, separation of structure and visual styles, and avoiding location based styles.

Pros of OOCSS:
Reusable visual styling codes, location flexible codes, reduction in deep nested selectors.

  • OOCSS framework
  • BEM tools
  • Organic CSS framework (follows atomic concept).


How to Share Tweets Privately

Twitter has introduced a new feature called Share via Direct Message which allows you to share tweets privately. You can find this function in the form of an Envelope button (on iOS and Android apps) in the same row as the Like and Retweet.

(Step 1) Click on the little Envelope button (as shown in the image).

A message button to share tweets privately has been added in the Android & iOS App (April 2016). If you don’t see it yet, it may take a while to roll out.

Sharing Private Tweets via Web

(Step 1) Click on the More (triple dots) option below the tweet.

More Options

(Step 3) Search & select the name(s) of person(s) or group(s) you want to share the tweet with.

Share via Direct Message

(Step 1) Tap & hold a tweet you want to share privately and a pop up menu will appear.

Enter Name

Here’s how you can use this to share tweets privately via Web, Android & iOS App.

Share tweet

Sharing Private Tweets via App

(Step 4) Add any note and click the SEND button to share the tweet privately.

Method 1: Send via Direct Message

(Step 2) Click on Share via Direct Message in the drop down menu.

Method1: Send via Direct Message

(Step 2) Click Send via Direct Message.

Method1: Search Names

(Step 3) Enter name(s) of person(s) or group(s) you want to share the tweet with and click the Next button.

Method1: Share tweet

Method 2: Share With Message button

Images are from the Twitter official blog.

Method2: Message Button

(Step 3) Add any note and click the SEND button to share the tweet privately.

Method2: Search Names

(Step 2) Search & select the name(s) of person(s) or group(s) you want to share the tweet with.

Method2: Share tweet

(Step 4) Add any comment if you want and click the Send button to share the tweet privately in the message.


Artists Manik and Ratan Bring Pet Dragon To Life On Paper

The brothers draw Drogo on paper interacting with real life objects like a hair dryer, stacks of coins, a taxi cab and even the dreaded Nokia phone.

Manik and Ratan are a pair of twins based in Dhaka, Bangladesh. Both brothers are graphic artists, cartoonists, designers and animators. They both also have an adorable pet dragon named Drogo who interacts with real life objects. The adorable Drogo even has a Facebook fan page where you can follow him in his adventures.

Drogo pop balloon
Drogo pet
Drogo gets vaccinated
Drogo picking up
Drogo in love
Drogo in a bottle
Drogo snuggle sleep
Drogo xmas
Drogo resting
Drogo hungry
Drogo scared
Drogo tired
Drogo bite me
Drogo gifts
Drogo eye drops
Drogo hanging around

To follow Drogo’s adventures, follow This is Drogo on Facebook. You can find Manik’s other drawings via Behance or Instagram.