This time last week I was at my first XeroCon. And it was every bit as awesome as I thought it would be.
First impressions – so many people! So many exhibitors! So much food and coffee! There’s even a playground in the middle of the exhibition hall!
Everything was high tech, from the eTicket sent by text the first morning, to the eReaders used to check us in to each session (and collect our goodie bags and enter prize draws with the Exhibitors), and the special XeroCon app we used to navigate the different sessions and rate the speakers.
When we went into the main hall to start the day it was like walking into a nightclub. A D.J. was set up on stage playing the latest hits and mashups, bopping away doing her thing. The lighting was low and if you broke out dancing it wouldn’t look weird.
The presenters have so much passion and enthusiasm. As do the attendees. There’s over 2000 people. The very first XeroCon only had 125 people so it’s come a long way.
There are so many new features coming. One of the things I love most about Xero is that they listen to the users, as evidenced by the many improvements so far and the many more that are coming. And if you don’t like what they’ve done they do take it personally. They genuinely want to make Xero the best accounting software in the land.
The sessions ranged from MD Australia Trent Innes and MD NZ Anna Curzon speaking about the work Xero is doing, an informative session about the Panama papers, Rachel Botsman talking about Trust in the digital technology age, with examples like Airbnb, Tinder and Uber changing the way people connect and experience things, and breakout sessions including ’using big data to make real decisions’ (read more here: https://www.xero.com/blog/2016/09/big-data-small-business/), ’unearthing artificial intelligence and robotics. What this means for you’, ’the changing industry landscape’, and a session on client training.
Xero’s Andy Lark finished day one with his session ‘Innovate or be eaten’ which you can read here: https://www.xero.com/blog/2016/09/andy-lark-innovate-eaten/
On the second day Xero’s head honcho, Rod Drury, showed us why he is the boss. He spoke about Xero’s strategy and the plan for the future which they have been implementing step by step. Xero is already impressive, and it is only going to get better. You can watch it here – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kU-JGdUkVeQ
Rachael Robertson, Antarctic Expedition Leader, spoke to us about her experiences during her year in Antarctica with 18 strangers and the lessons learned, my favourite being ‘get rid of triangles’. Compelling and insightful, and lots of great photos too. You can read more here: https://www.xero.com/blog/2016/09/showing-big-leadership-small-moments/
Day two there were more breakout sessions including ‘the AI revolution’, ‘Have your cake and sell it too: the 7 key ingredients of business success’, ‘Creating a successful digital business’, ‘The power of social media’, and lots of other interesting and informative sessions.
My favourite presenter was totally non accounting related. Ex Hindu monk and entrepreneur Dandapani spoke about managing one of life’s greatest finite resources: Energy. He discussed his learnings as a monk on how to understand and control your mind, learn and practice concentration, and wisely manage and invest energy to create the life you want.
“How do we concentrate? By practicing doing one thing at a time and integrating this practice into our every day life”
He also spoke about Awareness – being aware of where you direct your thoughts; and Energy – its finite, and you should decide where to spend it.
Dandapani then took it a step further, saying you should spend time with people who uplift you and avoid those who don’t, the ‘energy vampires’.
XeroCon finished with the Gala Awards dinner which saw the Xero Accounting partner of the year announced – Queensland accounting firm Consolid8; with Perth based Digit books being named the Bookkeeping partner of the year.
So what’s new with Xero? So many things! My picks:
Cloud Street – 3D interactive shopfront for online retailers. This was an amazing experience. http://www.bandt.com.au/media/xero-launches-virtual-reality-experience-part-cloud-street-campaign
I’m so glad I finally made it to XeroCon!