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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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