Well, what a week and what a conference the first ever Xerocon hosted in London turned out to be.
We jammed 230 delegates into the ICAEW’s Great Hall inside their central London headquarters where the irony of our hosting an online accounting conference in a building constructed in 1890 did not escape the notice of one of our guest speakers who playfully renamed it the ‘Hogwarts of Accountancy’ much to the amusement of the audience and ICAEW staff present. Alongside the locals and the Xero UK team we had intercontinental ballistic Xeros flying in from our global HQ in Wellington, our US headquarters in San Francisco, one guest presenter all the way from Christchurch, New Zealand and another from Spain and delegates from as far afield as South Africa and as close by as Ireland. We even had a nice chap called Neil from Intuit UK’s marketing department along to pick up some tips on how to be awesome.
Social Mediation Across The Nation
XEROCON BY THE NUMBERS
- There were precisely 1,002 tweets mentioning #xerocon
- Exactly 223 individuals mentioned #xerocon at least once
- #xerocon popped up in 414 RTs
- Our audience (local and distant) tweeted a grand total of 16,535 words, the most popular appear in the word cloud shown below.
More Than Contented With The Content
Being our first UK Xerocon, I was keen to ensure we packed the day with as broad and as deep a selection of news, insight and learning as possible. We always get great feedback whenever we weigh the balance of the time towards customers and guest speakers and Xerocon in London was no exception. We were lucky to hear some fantastic insights from accountants at the forefront of the cloud shift like Paul Bulpitt, Dave Jessep and Stephen Paul, and it was a privilege to hear first hand the unmistakeable commentary from our guest analyst Dennis Howlett (you can read what Dennis thought about Xerocon here), as well as useful insights from the ICAEW and Microsoft.
Throughout the day we also aired a few new customer videos for the first time, including one featuring UK customer Sarah Lafferty of Round Earth Consulting.
“That makes no sense, put into a sentence for me…”
Of course, there was also a good chunk of time set aside to share our vision as it develops with Rod Drury up on deck first to update the audience about our journey, and as expected during the roadmap session there was a healthy dialog around what’s coming next in Xero – lots of happy faces during that session – and what our medium term priorities should be. Over the course of many conversations there was some agreement, some healthy disagreement but ultimately a useful and first-hand sense check on what we’re doing right and where we’re going next. Even if Andrew Tokeley (below) at one point permitted himself to get rather amusingly confused about what the audience was telling him.
In A City Far Far Away…
The audience was also treated to a talk from our CTO, Craig Walker, who had flown in from his base in our US headquarters in San Francisco and who, assuredly as ever, wowed the assembly with news that our long gestating Xero Touch for Android app was about to be born. Then, having begun his talk by disclosing to the audience that he considered himself to be the Han Solo of our renowned Dev team, he had cause to demonstrate his space-age gunslinging chops by whipping an errant browser back into line after it refused to play ball during his live demo of the imminently awesome Online Invoicing capability. It was clear that the audience seemed to love Craig’s unflappable geek swagger just much as the new Xero goodies he was showing. Han Solo, right enough.
Great Supporting Cast : Xero Add-On Partners
Xerocon UK wouldn’t have been a proper Xerocon without representation from our Add-on Partner community and so London was no exception. Anytime I checked in on the breakout area, every one of the Add-on Partners; ActionStep, CustomerSure, ProcisionPlus, Receipt Bank and Vend looked like they had more interest than they could handle. Owing to the size of the venue we had to turn away a few partners this year, but we’ll make sure there’s loads of space in 2013 – the feedback I got from the Add-on Partners and delegates was all very positive.
After the last of the daytime sessions closed, a select group of 100 people; Partners, Add-on Partners and speakers attended the inaugural Xerocon UK Awards Dinner back in the same room at the ICAEW, with a total of 8 awards to hand out; everything from the 100% Xero award, with a trophy boasting “You look good in blue” to fastest growing partner, aptly named “Pedal to the metal” the responsibility fell to me to announce the winners, with Rod on hand to congratulate them.
The first winner of the night was for fastest growing partner which went to Valued Accountancy Services. Stephen Paul, principal said he was very proud of the team who had won the award. The Xero Knowledge Award went to Nicola Wilson from Totally4Business, a great advocate for Xero in the UK for the last 4 years.
The partner website winner went to Virtual Business Source for the beautiful www.orange-balloon.co.uk and the 100% Xero award went to Horizon and was greeted with cheers from the Horizon team in the audience. Emerging Add-on Partner of the year was won by Movemybooks who magically convert data from other accounting software (like Sage & Quickbooks) into Xero.
The Add-on Partner of the Year award went to Receipt Bank and this proved a very popular choice among the audience.
The evening closed with the two big awards of the evening, with Xero announcing their largest partners – the UK recipient of the Partner of the Year Award went to the Cloudco Group, and there was an award for Denis Breen & Co, Xero’s Partner of the Year Ireland.
In The End…
Even though this was our first ever Xerocon in the UK and we could have been forgiven if it was a little rough around the edges, that frankly wasn’t good enough for us. So, I’m pleased that all the hard effort and planning paid off and we delivered something that will be seen as a great foundation for the years ahead.
Sincere thanks to all our attendees for having faith in us and showing up, to our guest speakers and Add-on Partners for their invaluable support and to all those involved in making the UK’s first Xerocon something to remember.
(Read the #xerocon liveblog as it unfolded.)