Early September, Brisbane played host to the world’s most beautiful and innovative conference for cloud accounting leaders in Australia, NZ, and Asia – Xero Con.
So, what is Xero Con all about? And what benefit did we get?
Well, keep reading below as Jess tells us a little recap of hers and Amy’s Brisvegas journey to Xero Con …
Amy and I arrived at our apartment at about 10.30pm on Wednesday 5th September. It was not the best arrival, considering our key wouldn’t work in the elevator so we could not access our level. It took us a good 15 minutes and a phone call to the after-hours help number to determine that there were two completely separate buildings, and we were simply in the wrong one. I’ll blame this on the couple wine’s we had on the plane 😉
A mad dash in the rain to find somewhere for dinner allowed us to find a cute little place that was still serving food at 11 pm on a Wednesday (We’re not in Isa anymore, Toto!). After inhaling our dinner, it was back to the hotel so we could get a relatively early night in preparation for the opening of Xero Con at 8 am the following day.
Boy oh boy were we absolutely blown away with the expo hall upon walking in. It was fully decked out, with something new and exciting popping up every place you looked. They had mini-golf, table tennis, a basketball court with professional players to play with, and a ‘pool’ (a giant ball pit) complete with blow-up flamingos and a pool guard. Scattered throughout were the copious amounts of partnering apps (If you’re new to Xero, they have 700+ time-saving apps that connect with Xero) all ready to talk to you and show you how they can help your individual businesses & help you grow. See Xero’s Photo Gallery here: Click me!
That morning, Amy and I only had time to register, stand around dazed, take a couple pics and have a quick ‘dip’ in the pool before getting called into the main stage for the official opening of #XEROCON2018
You didn’t walk into the main stage, you danced. They had an amazing DJ set up with her own booth absolutely smashing our eardrums with 80’s tunes remixed to dance and dub-step. This set the vibe from the get-go and had the whole room, no matter the age differences, singing and dancing along. Xero seems to always just nail everything 😝
There was a performance by Tom Thum, who is a LEGENDARY beatboxer. Selecting him as the opening performance was clearly a strategic decision from Xero, as they wanted to highlight what extraordinary things humans can do alongside technology. Tom did a performance of his layering technique, where he created incredible sounds all layered on top of each other, only his voice.
After his performance the entire rooms so full of anticipation and endorphins we were literally vibrating! 😲
First up then was newly appointed CEO of Xero, Steve Vamos (who’s worked at Apple with Steve Jobs, ninemsn, and Microsoft), who told us about his journey up until now, and about his vision for Xero.
From here we could really establish the the theme for this years Xero Con … HUMAN. Diversity. Inclusion. Authenticity. The human element. #human
After this we heard many talks and workshops on;
- The latest in Digital Updates – “We want Xero to do the heavy lifting. We help save more than 307 hours per day across 1.4million small businesses.” – Herman Man
- Elevating our practice to become your trusted advisors
- Changing the way we think to allow businesses to grow
“What we think influences our actions or our inactions. So we have to be responsible for every thought we have.” – Gill Hicks
Some Key Notes that really stood out to us were:
Gill is an Adeladian author, founder of M.A.D. for Peace, and a 2005 London terrorist bombings survivor. After surviving the London bombings, Gill found herself lying in a hospital bed, without the ability to walk or talk. Learning to live with the loss of both her legs under the knee and a lot of time ‘with just me and my mind’ challenged her perspective on the things she fears the most. (Taken from Xero Blog)
Write a new script
Not many of us get the chance to write a new script and start again.
“I got that chance. And it made me realise that perhaps the skill I needed to learn most was to be agile and to expect broken expectations; to fall and get back up.
“Which is why, for me, the worst thing that can happen is not death and it’s not failure. It’s to be alive and not live. Because surviving is not enough.”
And that comes back to time – and how you choose to spend yours.
Mark Manson is the best-selling author of self-help antidote The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck. A veteran of blogging and an online business entrepreneur, Mark sustained his career through self-publishing… and plenty of disappointment, which he shared through three key opening statements:
- You are not special – Do ordinary things extremely well
- Motivation is overrated – Focus on the few things that matter
- Don’t pursue happiness – Pursue pain
(Taken from Xero Blog)
Today’s culture, Mark contends, revolves around feeling good or chasing feeling good, but that can distract us from finding deeper meaning. The pursuit of pain, in that respect, is a far more effective way of identifying your values.
Less is more
Developing the skill to find the few things that matter the most is important and rare, Mark says. But there are three good places to start:
- Focus on fewer things and doing them really well
- Focus on fewer people and really caring about them, and
- Focus on less information of higher relevance
Trent Innis is the managing director of Xero and has worked for the company for 5 and a half years. His key note was called “The 1% is everything”. He spoke about continuously showing up for your customers.
“That’s why one question comes back to time and again as we expand to support more small businesses, and that is, what can we do to ensure our next customer feels just as special as the first?”
Finding the one percent
For any business, it helps to understand that ninety-nine percent of what you do is invisible to your customers. It’s important work, and it may be hard, but it’s expected. We all go to a restaurant and expect good food and wine. To truly differentiate yourself, to make your mark, you constantly have to find and deliver the extra one percent.
How do you create an environment where people strive to make incremental improvements and exceed expectations? How do you build a team that values the moments of beauty you can create for your customers?
It’s all about your people
I can’t stress enough how important it is to hire for attitude, rather than simply for experience. When you recruit people who embody your mission and values, in roles that energise and excite them, you build a high-performing culture that values the relational over the transactional.
Which means, of course, you have to live by your values. One of ours is ‘beautiful’ – and it’s important to mention that now. Because ‘beautiful’ is there to remind us to be ourselves and to go the extra mile.
What’s your one thing?
A challenge every business faces as it grows is resisting commoditisation – where your goods or services become relatively indistinguishable from competing offerings – in favour of creating an impact through incremental improvements. So what’s the one thing you can do to make the lives of your people and your customers just that little bit better, and when can you start? (Taken from Xero Blog)
So, what’s next?
As with any event like this that you attend, you come back with so many ideas and motivation. Amy and I don’t want to lose this momentum and just fall back into the day-to-day of things. We’ve learnt so much from our first experience at Xero Con, and are eager to push forward with all the improvements we can make for ourselves, and our clients.
Aside from continual focus & fine-tuning our brand, passion, and mission to make positive impacts on our community, our first big project is learning more about the app marketplace. We want to continue to find better solutions for your businesses to increase time, efficiency and solve all your business needs.
Keep a look out over the coming months as we start to host free events to showcase some of the apps that really stood out to us at Xero Con to benefit our clients.