I'm not a conference person. But this was my type of conference.
There are people I've always looked up to in bootstrapping: Tyler Tringas, Reilly Chase, Dru Riley, Shl, to name a few. They've done (and continue to) what I aspire to do.
Meeting them in person was like meeting anyone else. Spoiler: they're real people. I've not been able to meet many founders in real life since starting this journey. It's easy to get caught up in the Twitterati (at least for me) and imagine that they might be Gods amongst men.
Sitting down for dinner with Tyler, or spending a few minutes with Dru and Riley each, or painting Alebrijes across from Sahil for 90 minutes, it's easy to start thinking: "Ok, this person is kinda like me. Kinda normal. Maybe I have a shot at being successful at this thing after all."
The same goes for everyone I met. They were all incredibly smart and empathetic to the journey we're on. There were also great folks, like Michele Hansen and Steph Smith, that I only realized afterwards our initial interactions that I consumed their work.
It's a good feeling to know we're all human.
A recurring theme in this conference were tactics and tools to uncover our blind spots and tackle what's holding us back. One speaker, Itamar Marani, helped a room full of us get comfortable talking about root causes behind our blockers. Namely, how fear can hold us back from what we really should be doing.
I've been scared to truly market my work. As a builder, I fall into the "Just one more feature/bug/release and I'll be ready" trap. I'm inspired to lean into the fear of gathering customers while my product is still rough around the edges.
I've set a goal for myself of $2k MRR by year's end, chiefly through cold outreach and 1:1 demos. I've walked my math back into 50 personalized cold emails a day, using my tool to sell my tool. It'll help me hone the product as a user, show its worth, and get to what matters most: something that users want to pay me for.
People who can express a thought in a consumable few characters are valuable. People who can communicate with someone directly in front of them, no matter who that person is, are most valuable to me. I love the depth a good conversation can reach when we break through the "What do you do?/Why are you here?/Where are you from?" cycle of small talk.
I was able to connect with a handful of people in a way I'd never get to online. And because of that, I know we can chat online with such a deeper understanding of each other that we can truly help each other build our businesses and ourselves.
I came out of this week with a few folks I'll be keeping tight contact with, and I'm excited to see again.
This conference fit people who were having $1k problems (me), $10k problems, or million-dollar problems. The first day we all attended together. Day 2, we broke off into the tracks that interested us the most. Day 3, we socialized with the folks that we had been workshopping with in some shape or form from the previous days. Or, if you were me, laid up in bed with Montezuma's Revenge.