For the second year in a row, I had the privilege of attending Ops Conf. This conference is a semi invite-only conference focusing on founders and executives of small (under 200 employees), boutique software consulting companies.
This year, our retreat was located on Amelia Island in Florida where we stationed ourselves at the Omni Plantation Resort. The workshops were balanced out very nicely with group outings, allowing us to continue our conversations and collaborations over wonderful food and drinks. We went on a boat tour of St. Mary’s River and Cumberland Island where there are wild horses, as well as an amazing dinner at the Sprouting Project. However, the highlight was being on the beach right underneath the fall out of someone’s wedding fireworks!
The working sessions were facilitated by Jessie of The Improv Effect, who did an even more amazing job than last year (if that’s even possible). We were able to talk about our failures and successes within our business. Almost every failure was something another attendee had gone through and this brought moral support and a sense of camaraderie to have such shared experiences. We did 5 minute lighting talks to discuss a success from the year, allowing others to gain insight into new techniques to try within their own organization. Everyone went home with new ideas to try.
What I take away from Ops-Conf are new ideas and inspiration, but most importantly, mentors and other people I can talk to about challenges faced by services businesses. I’ve been to conferences where tech startup founders talk about their challenges and work to inspire the audience with entrepreneurial insights, but there are issues that a services company faces that are unique. For instance, balancing the need to bill hours versus matching the perks other companies might offer, for instance, unlimited vacation.
I also won an award, but that’s a subject for another blog post.
I’m looking forward to attending next year. If you are reading this and think you or someone at your company would be a good fit for Ops-Conf, let me know and I will put you in touch with them!