Why I’m headed to YoastCon

Next week Yoast is celebrating 5 years as a business. To do it right, they've decided to put on a one-day conference – YoastCon.

If you can't make it to Amsterdam (it's actually in Nijmegen), no need to worry, I think a livestream will be available.

But it does raise the question, why would I spend more time flying than being at a conference when I'm only going to speak for less than an hour?

I'm glad you asked. Let me share with you an insight I learned years ago and it guides me to this day.

And to be clear, this isn't a WordPress insight. It's not a development insight. It's not a leadership or management insight.

This is a business insight – and relational in nature.

I won't belabor the point, so let me state it clearly.

People who don't meet face to face ever, rarely go far together.

This isn't an african proverb. It's not something I learned in a rhyming form, but I turned it into a rhyming form so I could remember it better.

The lesson I learned years ago – when people were first thinking of using WebEx (and later GoToMeeting) instead of flying places – someone told me it was still worth the cost of the flight and hotel. I was young and tech-oriented, so I was making the case for an online meeting. Skip the hassle of travel.

And that's when they took me on a sales call with them to North Carolina. We were implementing a huge system for Bank of America and the relationships I' built with those people that I ate with, spent time with, and all that – those relationships were very helpful during the rest of the implementation (which took almost a year).

I learned that back in the late nineties and it's changed how I think about travel. Today I will go to a conference even if it's just to spend a few hours face to face with the folks speaking, putting on the conference, or even key attendees – all because that relationship connection has the opportunity to pay dividends downstream.

But if you never meet face to face, it doesn't mean you can't do business together. I just think it takes way more time to develop trust.

So consider the face to face meeting as a trust accelerator. That's how I think about it.

And that's why I'm headed to YoastCon next week.

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Chris Lema
Chris Lema has been working with WordPress since 2005. Over the years he's been a blogger, a speaker at WordCamps, a coach for WordPress product companies, and the founder of the conference for WordPress business owners, called CaboPress. Today he's the VP of Products at Liquid Web, where he manages the world's first managed platform for WooCommerce stores.

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