The Weekly Review

by Chris Bowler


Last month, I had the privilege of heading to the east coast to meet with our entire Customer Success team for a week. And a busy week it was. It included a stop in Georgetown (just oustide of Toronto) to visit my son, 4 days in Philly, and a quick 2 day trip to NYC.

The purpose of our train ride up the Big Apple was to take in SupConf, a relatively new event from the folks who run the Support Driven community. This was the second iteration of this event, this time run from the Digital Ocean office in Soho.

All images courtesy of the SupportDriven community.

Overall, this conference was a little less polished than most I’ve attended. Which is a compliment. Where many conferences focus on the talks given, SupConf seemed to have two primary focuses:

  • give informative content for each talk
  • get conference attendees talking to each other

What I appreciated about the first area of focus is that the team behind the event mixed in a few speakers who were further into their career and used to giving talks with people who had never done this type of thing before. And each speaker worked with a team to polish their talk. Each was required submit an outline, then their slides, and work with the team to improve the presentation as needed. This showed in that no talk was terrible.

I did state that the event was “less polished”. That showed in some talks, as some speakers were clearly doing this for the first time. However, that added to the charm and the mood in the room was encouraging, rather than embarrassed or condescending. Web events need more of this: encouraging and aiding people in all stages of their career to be involved. This added to the charm of SupConf.

The second area of focus was also a bonus. As each talk ended, a question would be put on screen that was related to the talk just given. The audience was encouraged to turn to their neighbour and discuss the question at hand. And the overall intention was to move around, so you would find new people to meet during the event.

Apart from that, there were breakout sessions where each speaker was located in a different spot in the room and attendees could ask questions about their presentation or experience.

Mr Patto doing his thing

There was also the usual conference stuff. Sponsors giving swag, good food, and a photo booth. But, like any conference, the value derived is from the conversations you have. I’ve been blessed to attend some fantastic events in the past (XOXO, Brooklyn Beta), as well as some less fantastic events. SupConf was a really cosy middle ground, smaller in size and focused on the right things.

As for the content itself, there was some good value. For our team, it was a great reminder of how good we have it at Wildbit. A good number of the talks were focused on how support teams can improve their standing in their company, something we never have to deal with. However, there were a couple of talks focused on how to use data and how to make compelling cases from that data that helped me think “big picture” … always a good thing.