Conferences, especially in the technology sector, are great opportunities for people of similar interests to meet up and interact. On Sept. 22, Malta held its Hi-Line Technology Roundup. The free conference focused on the use of communication technologies in a rural environment, with topics relating to remote work, software for ranchers and technological advances in rural healthcare.
Similar events of different scales are held all across the country. Last week, I traveled to California for Twitchcon, a video game conference in San Diego, and Dreamforce, a cloud technology conference in San Francisco. Though both conferences primarily pandered their new products, it was a great opportunity to meet industry leaders in person.
Normally, it’s cumbersome to have the senior management of a variety of businesses all in one place, but when they are, it’s a great opportunity to expedite and close business deals. At Twitchcon, a tenth of the floor was blocked off with black-curtained meeting rooms just for this purpose.
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Conferences are great opportunities to try different products and services in one concentrated location. For example, if you are in the market for a split screen video streaming platform, you can try the software in person and even meet the teams that make them. Finally, it’s fun. I got to meet a lot of people with similar viewpoints from across the country.
These conferences also project an aura over their hosts and host cities. Everyone who attended Dreamforce probably left thinking that Salesforce is the greatest thing ever.
Though most attendees came to meet others in the industry, they are implicitly subjected to four continuous days of marketing. Honestly, there are many cloud technology companies that rival Salesforce — each with its own unique advantages and disadvantages — but outside of San Francisco, they don’t have the monetary scale to make business.
Dreamforce didn’t just benefit Salesforce, it also advanced the reputation of the city. When a city consistently hosts the newest and, possibly, greatest technologies, the city is quicker to adopt the technology itself. For example, GPS-based taxis have been common in San Francisco for the past three years, but it’s just gaining traction in Montana.
Conferences are great resources for new innovations in your industry, and they’re excellent opportunities to meet future business partners. Bozeman’s Big Sky Dev Con in August and Malta’s Hi-Line Technology Roundup did just that. Though adoption of such conferences are just beginning here at home, it’s a great opportunity to set the precedent for Montana as a technological leader.
Jason Zeng is an online specialist for The Montana Standard. He was the former editor of SF Tech Beat, a San Franciscan technology weekly, and holds a bachelor's degree in economics from Berkeley. He can be reached at Jason.Zeng@mtstandard.com.