MicroConf and the Early Stages of a Bootstrapped Business

The conference for Bootstrappers par excellence, MicroConf, recently sold out their 2014 Las Vegas conference in under a half an hour.  That’s impressive, and having been to the European edition last year, I can say that it makes sense.  It’s the best conference that I’m aware of for people interested in, and working on small(ish) bootstrapped software businesses like my own, LiberWriter.  Demand obviously far exceeds supply, which leads to some obvious options: increase the price, or increase the supply.  Given that the entire thing is organized by just a few guys, who have other things to do with their lives, supply probably can’t go up that much, leaving price.  While I would understand completely if that happens, it’s also kind of unfortunate, because I think it would tend to crowd out those of us who do not have established businesses.

I got to thinking about this in relation to the various hurdles that bootstrapped companies must cross and where things like books and conferences relate to each step along the way.  A good conference is fun for me whatever I get out of it in terms of learning, but if I force myself to think about it in strictly financial terms, the proposition becomes a bit more difficult, given how good material tends to wind up on the internet, for free.  Said another way, the $$$ a conference costs are going to be a larger percentage of what a small business is taking in, and the given time constraints involved in many bootstrapped projects, the knowledge gained is less likely to be deployable in a short time frame.

On the other hand if you have the time and bandwidth to take what you’ve learned and really start going to town with it, then I’m sure MicroConf could pay for itself in a very short time frame.  That would naturally tend to push the conference in the direction of higher prices and an audience composed mostly of people doing their own companies full-time, at minimum.

I was relieved to see that Mike and Rob are keeping “the rest of us” in mind with the conference, though:

we’re trying not to make it unaffordable. We want new entrepreneurs, new founders to be able to come. We also want experienced folks. I find that mix is a positive thing for everybody. – http://www.startupsfortherestofus.com/episodes/episode-169

So once again a big thanks to them, for putting on a great conference, and helping to extend that to those who are still finding their way.

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