In the process of organising the second edition of Out of Office, we revisited the challenges and successes of our first edition, starting with reaching out to Basecamp’s Jason Fried to join us as a speaker.
For a web development agency with a strong standing in the WordPress community, promoting and organising Out of Office – our first online remote event – was completely unchartered territory. There was so much that was new; the audience, the community, finding the channels to reach them, let alone the content of the event itself.
So, why did we do it? And how did we get Jason Fried, from Basecamp, to speak at our very first event?
The ‘why’ is pretty simple: we’re a global team of almost 50+people all working from different corners of the world, managing projects, products, events and clients: we’ve been doing this for over four years and we do it pretty well. We have a strong company culture and believe we do our best work flexibly. We’ve also learned that’s it’s important for us to share the experiences we’ve collected in the things we enjoy doing, and those things are often the ones we do well.
One of the ways we’ve shared this knowledge in the past is through our White Paper on Dealing with Stress in Remote Teams. We also built Nomadbase, a mobile app which helps working and travelling professionals connect with others in the same city they’re in; and we write and curate the Nomadbase Digest, a monthly newsletter of stories and ideas on remote work.
Out of Office: work in the digital age
Out of Office wasn’t our first venture into the remote work scene, but it was the first time we’d attempted to create an event with relevant and practical content exclusively for a community of remote professionals.
We weren’t sure whether anyone would turn up, or whether it was something the community wanted. We wanted to test an MVP and didn’t want to plough money into marketing; there needed to be something organic about how people encountered the event for the first time and signed up because they believed the content was good. Even if it meant having fewer people show up in the end. Remote work is a relatively new scene and as the list of influencers grows and expands, there are some names that are recognisable to all because they’ve been around for as long as people can remember. Basecamp and Jason Fried are two such names, and as a recently conceived brand launching an entirely new event we wanted to develop ties with brands we respected and loved. So, we undertook the relevant research and did the unthinkable: we cold emailed Basecamp and asked if Jason Fried would speak at our event.
Of course, Basecamp wasn’t the only company we cold-emailed, and naturally, we didn’t hear back from everyone. But we did hear back from Basecamp, and several other brands we weren’t in contact with before. In the process, we created partnerships with remote brands all over the world, including several coworking spaces that hosted our event.
We announced the event September 29th and by November 29th we had just over 1,400 people sign up to watch the event. It was a great success for us, particularly as the post-event survey showed that 100% of the people who attended (and answered the survey) would attend again. That’s a net promoter score we’ll find hard to beat in future!
We’re gearing up for the second edition of Out of Office with speakers from Github, Baremetrics, Hanno, Lullabot, Human Made and Zapier. The event will be streamed live May 30th from 4pm GMT: join us!