January 23, 2018

MicroConf 2018 - who's going?

Hey guys,

Is anyone going to MicroConf this year? Link: http://www.microconf.com/starter/

It'll be my first time, and I've heard great things about it.

It seems right up the IndieHackers alley, so it would be awesome to have a meetup or something while we're there!


  1. 12

    I know that I am a bit late to reply to this thread, but I've had a lot of questions this year about 'is MicroConf worth it?'

    This year will be my third MicroConf. I have already purchased my ticket to Starter.

    tl;dr I was hesitant to go to my first MicroConf. I have no regrets.

    I agree with everyone who has said that the value of the conference is huge, but the biggest impact is not a direct $ for $.

    I have to fly there, so with conf tickets, plane, parking at airport, uber, 3 nights at hotel (w/group discount), food and extras, I budget about $1,500 (US) every year. And I do that on a very minimal budget. I don't gamble or go to any shows while I'm there. I eat out with other attendees, but bring my own snacks (this is more so I can have my favorite snacks, but yeah, I'm that bad too).

    To be fair, I also was on the fence about going my first year. I was on the edge about whether I could spend the money. I had the money, but it was going to put a good dent in my savings. However, I really wanted to go and found out that a couple of entrepreneurs (including @jasonswett who has answered here already) that I knew personally were going and so I decided to go.

    It was one of the best things I did for my business. That said, I'm not sure if I would have gone that first year without the pressure of knowing that other entrepreneurs I knew were also going.

    There are many intangibles I have taken away from the conference. I met @mijustin there two years ago. I've gotten great advice from people who are a step ahead of me in business. I've started forming great connections and relationships with people who I continue to stay in contact with and yes, I have picked up countless great tactics from the speakers.

    I also think it is important to flip the perspective a bit as well. When they started splitting the conference last year between Growth and Starter, I started to realize that I had experience as a freelancer that would be helpful to other attendees. You may be able to help other attendees who are not in the same position as you. The experience of helping other attendees can be very rewarding as well.

    My experience with other MicroConf attendees overall has been very good. The conference is better about matching people with similar experiences now, but even when it was one conference, people were polite and gracious. Everybody is happy to be hanging out with people who are struggling with the same questions. Even those entrepreneurs who have growing businesses would be considerate and helpful to those who were starting out. Yes, you will meet those people who you can tell are not engaged in your conversation. So, you simply part ways and move on.

    Obviously, someone providing unsolicited advice is not appreciated, but I've found that most people at MicroConf do not do that. And yes, you might get irrelevant advice, but you can simply do what most people do, be polite and then move on to a new conversation.

  2. 12

    Pro tip: add yourself to this Who is coming to MicroConf 2018 list and connect with people ahead of time!

    https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1FgPamAK6dGYNOE5hbBETO2UHk4s6EhtWOo2hk-Mh_2Y/edit

    I've also written a MicroConf 2018 guide here:

    https://justinjackson.ca/microconf/

    1. 1

      That's a nice pre-conference guide!

  3. 8

    Courtland and I will be there for both starter and growth. We should definitely all meet up!

    1. 1

      Awesome! When it gets a bit closer, please let us know when/where :)

      1. 1

        They usually open up a MicroConf Slack at some point. We'll probably be able to coordinate using that.

  4. 5

    I'm going to Growth. It will be my third MicroConf.

    I would love to meet any fellow IH fans while we're in Vegas. If you want to connect before the conference feel free to email me at jason@codewithjason.com. (This goes for Shaun or anyone else who's going.)

    In case anyone is curious, my projects are Angular on Rails and Code with Jason.

    1. 1

      Good to hear! Thanks!

  5. 4

    I'll be attending Growth and speaking at Starter so will be there the whole week 👍

  6. 4

    Going! Growth edition.

    Mostly because I'm a solo-founder, working from home in the suburbs on multiple small SaaS's, and miss the energy of being around other entrepreneurs.

    Plus it's a fine excuse to go to Vegas for a few days.

  7. 4

    Is it worth going even if your idea has not fully materialize or even if you don't have an idea ?

    1. 7

      It can be a good place to go if you're at the ideation stage. Plenty of people to pitch ideas to and see what their reactions are.

      I went in 2014 and that is where I realized the idea I was thinking of pursuing wasn't right for me, while a side-project idea I had at the time was the thing I should actually be pursuing (http://www.cicerone.co).

      Being able to talk to Hiten Shah, Patio11 and Rob Walling in one evening can really set your ideas in their place!

    2. 5

      The Starter Edition would be perfect for you. I recommend spending time in the hallway joining random conversations, asking people how they decided on their ideas, listening to their stories, and telling them about your situation, skills, and roadblocks. If you do that a few times a day, every day, you'll come out of the conference way further ahead than you went into it.

    3. 5

      I would say so. There will be people there who can help you go from no idea to idea.

      I went to MicroConf 2016 with no idea and came away with Angular on Rails. I did have a blog at AngularOnRails.com at the time but no conception of how to monetize it. Attending MicroConf was a life-changing event for me.

      1. 1

        Was it a starter or growth that you attended Jason ?

        1. 2

          2017 was the first year they split it into Starter/Growth. In 2017 I went to Starter and it frankly didn't do much to move me forward, although I suspect that has less to do with the conference and more to do with the fact that I had already been chipping away at the entrepreneur thing since 2008.

          I'm going to Growth this time, not because I'm qualified revenue-wise, but because I feel like Growth is where I'll have access to the types of people who will be able to give me the kind of advice I need at this point in my journey.

          If it were my first time going to MicroConf and I hadn't yet made much money online I would go to Starter.

  8. 3

    I'll be at Starter! Would love to meet other IHers

  9. 2

    I’m going to starter and growth! Never been before and super exited!

  10. 2

    I am attending MicroConf for the first time this year. I'd love to meet other people from the community!

  11. 2

    Can't wait!

  12. 2

    I would probably like to go (even if I don't see a real point) but it's sooooo expensive! It's incredible expensive and I really don't understand why. So I'm OUT.

    1. 2

      I can offer my rationale, though I cannot put a direct value on it. I'm going for two reasons:

      1. to learn from people who are in the same boat/already rowing along. I've never run a business before, so surrounding yourself with people who're doing just that (or about to) seems like an excellent way to learn. I can't imagine coming out of it and not learning at least something that I didn't know.

      2. to network with people who might be building (or thinking of building) apps/products that could benefit from my own product.

      Different people have different value systems, but to me, those two, however risky, seems like a worthwhile investment.

      1. 2

        Well, I admit that there can be some very valuable things for someone. I just don't understand why is it SOOOO expensive. It just blows my mind. I don't believe that I will get much for this money. I know, most of the microentrepreneurs don't attend this conference and they are still successful.

    2. 0

      It's not that crazy. I understand it's a large sum for many people, however I treated it as simple business expense and it's definitely been worth it.

      One the reasons Rob and Mike set the price point a bit higher is to be able to keep the total number of attendees low, way lower than at conventional conferences. This pretty much guarantees you'll be able to meet every single attendee in person and really connect when wanted. For me this makes perfect sense. The MicronConf conferences feel more like a friendly get-together than a massive anonymous conference.

      1. 0

        There are others ways to restrict the total number of attendees. For example, you just may sell only 200 tickets and that's it. The only reason I see why the price is so high, is that they just found the golden proportion that gives them the highest profit as described here: https://www.joelonsoftware.com/2004/12/15/camels-and-rubber-duckies/

        1. 2

          Sure, there might be other ways. However limiting the number of tickets while keeping the price low can quickly turn into a financial problem, as those who are giving talks will need be paid (and sponsorships will only get you so far).

          Rob, Mike and Xander are smart people and have been organizing this conference for quite a few years, I am sure they have looked at other possible options. If I am not mistaken, and I think they have talked about this on the podcast a few times, they typically don't expect to turn a profit from the conference and typically tend to break even. This would suggest they're picking the ticket price about right.

    3. 0

      As far as conferences go I don't find it to be anything too crazy. I look at it as an investment which has the potential to pay itself back many times over.

      1. 1

        I always struggle with rationalizing the expense of conferences. How do you measure ROI? What type of return have you seen in the past, Jason?

        1. 2

          Some conference benefits don't translate directly to ROI, others are hard to quantify.

          3 years ago I attended MicroConf for the first time and it blew my mind. it was exactly what I needed, and every talk felt tailor made for me and what I needed to know. i would say the sheer learning curve that the conference saved me was immeasurable. I had previous experience in client services but was new to software, customer acquisition, churn, and general strategies for software growth. I didn't know what I didn't know.

          I also made a connection there that led to a project collaboration that helped us put a downpayment on our house, and led to another project 6 months later.

          Some of the benefits, both tangible and intangible:

          • Conversations and insights you simple can't get anywhere else, and that only come from being in the same room as that person (hallway conversations, after hours events, etc)

          • Connections + partnerships + friendships. You may meet people whose product or service relates to yours, or someone who may need your help or insights.

          • Community. Attending MC opened up a whole new online community to me when I was invited by another participant. This in itself has led to incredible new connections and collaborations

          • Having dedicated time to learn and reflect, and focus on your business. Conferences can be great to pull you out of the daily grind and give yourself a chance to get into a different headspace. We use the conference as an opportunity to take a mini-vacation (or biz-cation?) where you're focused on having fun dreaming about what your business can be, and taking action on some of the tactics you may have learned about.

          • Massive time saved. Some of the insights that came from the talks AND from the hallway conversations I am certain saved me weeks, months, and possibly years of painful learning. Sitting and hearing some of the talks made me wish I'd been there the year before because I would have approached things SO differently.

          I'm coming back for my third year this year (speaking at Starter) and it is by far one of my favourite conferences.

          WELL worth the investment (and I've been coming from Canada - paying way more with the $ exchange because seriously, it's worth it!)

        2. 2

          Some, none. MicroConf 2016 led me to turn AngularOnRails.com into a business which made $8,000 (and counting). Other conferences have had a less directly measurable ROI. For example, I'm now on friendly terms with Brennan Dunn and patio11 (I think). I don't know what that's worth in money but it's definitely worth something.

          I also like to view it from the other direction. What would happen if I never went to any conferences in my life? That would be a pretty certain way to stay on the slow track.

          1. 2

            haha I love the disclaimer next to patio11. Waiting for him to chime in on this thread...

            What exactly about MicroConf'16 helped you generate revenue for your biz?

            Also how do you leverage those connections that you've made? I'm on talking terms with some pretty amazing, prolific entrepeneurs, but I don't know how to leverage those connectionts to my benefit.

            1. 1

              Also sorry if it seems like I'm grilling you -- not my intention at all.

              It seems like you've gained value from conferences so I'm just trying to figure out how I can do that for myself.

              1. 1

                When I went to MicroConf 2016, I a) didn't know if my blog's traffic was high or low (it was high) and b) didn't have any good ideas on how to monetize it.

                The conversations I had at MC helped me realize that I had a lot of traffic on my hands. Those conversations also helped me realize that I could pre-sell a book or course as a way to test monetizing my blog without risking a lot of wasted time.

                How is it valuable to have connections with big-name entrepreneurs? I can't tell you, to be honest. Maybe it's not.

                1. 1

                  Those conversations also helped me realize that I could pre-sell a book or course as a way to test monetizing my blog without risking a lot of wasted time.

                  That's awesome! Congrats on monetizing your blog

          2. 1

            Can you tell us, exactly, what conferences gave you that nothing else can give? Another question is how do you know for sure what were direct consequences?

            1. 1

              Well let me be clear that I'm not trying to sell anybody on going to conferences.

              But I do see conferences as having certain qualities that are hard to get elsewhere. I don't know of any other way to have intimate, unrushed conversations with big-name entrepreneurs where I have the ability to ask the exact questions I want to ask and basically get free coaching for multiple days.

              I also don't know of another way to go away for two days and then come back with a collection of relationships which last indefinitely and sometimes grow pretty deep.

              Conferences for me also have a way of fast-forwarding everything for me by several months or perhaps even years in certain ways.

              It's hard to say what the direct consequences were because a lot of the consequences are probably things that would have happened eventually anyway, e.g. discovering the existence of Jonathan Stark. But maybe the conference helped that discovery happen years earlier.

  13. 1

    I just bought my ticket to Starter, flight, and hotel.

  14. 1

    I'm strongly considering it. It would would be my first MicroConf.

    I feel like I'm pre-Starter. I've been trying to find an idea to start working on for a while now.

    But, whenever I think I've got one, I think about existing competitors... or the fact that there are zero competitors.

    Plus, I'm kinda shy/bad at networking... so it would be REALLY outside my comfort zone.

  15. 1

    This year will be my first at MicroConf - I'm going to the Growth edition. Looking forward to it!

  16. 1

    I'd really love to go, but it's a bit too far from Norway :/

    1. 1

      You might be aware but they do have a MicroConf Europe. I think it usually takes place in Spain IIRC.

      1. 1

        Lisbon last time. Enjoyed it and signed up for Growth Edition in Vegas.

  17. 0

    Are the MicroConf conferences related to microservices? I have created this website http://www.gotodevops.org/ a couple of days ago and I'm wondering if I could add MicroConf to the list. There is not much info on the conference website at the moment.

    1. 1

      No, MicroConf is a conference for bootstrapped software entrepreneurs. The attendees tend to be technical but MicroConf is a business conference, not a technical conference.