In web3, it seems there is always a conference happening, and another one right around the corner. If you're new to the web3 conference scene, it can be a bit overwhelming and intimidating. I'm going to share some of my tips & tricks when preparing for the conference, to help you get the most out of your experience while you're there.
Set yourself up for success
The more you prepare for your conference in advance, the more you can enjoy when you're there. Do a lot of the leg work up front so you are set up for success and ready to hit the ground running upon arrival.
Full transparency, I have yet to attend the "Main Event" at a web3 conference. I have always stuck to the satellite events happening around the main event. And let me tell you, there are always plenty of FREE side events to fill your days. Oftentimes, the official conference ticket is expensive. If you're paying for yourself and especially if you're paying for a whole team of people, it adds up; the travel, accommodations, food + drink, transportation, etc. I'm not saying paying for a conference ticket isn't worth it, sometimes it will be, depending on the conference. However, in my experience, I have yet to feel like I'm missing out by attending satellite events only; fantastic networking, amazing panels, spectacular events.
Sign up for events in advance
There will be lists of events that start circulating a couple/few weeks before the conference. Sign up for as many free events as you can - ones that are applicable to you, of course. Even if it seems like too many, just sign up! It's better to sort through and prioritize them later, rather than have events book up and not have enough to attend. That might mean you end up skipping some of the events you signed up for. Better to have too many, than too few.
Organize your tickets + events ahead of time
Once you have signed up for your events, you'll have all sorts of emails/tickets - Eventbrite, Partiful, Luma, individual tickets via email. I put all of these emails in a folder labeled for the conference so I can readily access and organize them. I also make sure they are all on my calendar so I know what events are happening each day. This allows me to plan out when and where I plan to be throughout the day - not a perfect science but it certainly helps me manage my time.
If you don't have a Telegram account, get one. Telegram (TG) group chats are started leading up to the conference. These are a great resource to learn about events and get invites, get lodging suggestions, learn about the city you're visiting, and simply connect with your peers prior to the conference. I was in multiple TG groups for Devcon Bogota - some were for everyone, and a couple were specifically for women and non-binary. As Devcon approached there was a lot of chatter around safety. These TG groups were a great way to get insights from those familiar with Bogota to get more legitimate information. Not to mention, these groups were a great way to connect with people when headed to an event - but more on that later
Prepare to exchange info
You will be meeting so many people who are working on all sorts of cool projects. You'll want to be exchanging info so you can follow up with them after the conference.
I have found that most people use Telegram, and this is what I use most often as well. Telegram automatically creates a personal QR code so people can scan it and instantly connect with you! *Pro-tip #1: Set the QR code as your lock screen on your phone, making it quick and easy to exchange info. Otherwise, create a shortcut. You'll understand why once you're opening your phone, getting to TG, finding the QR code, etc., every time you're meeting a new person.
Now, Telegram isn't the end all be all, though I have found it to be the most commonly used when exchanging info. Some people prefer LinkedIn, or Twitter; I suggest having all of your social apps readily available on your phone so your'e ready to connect in any and all ways. I also have Blinq. Blinq is great, because it is a digital business card with all of your contact info (email, phone, link to business, Twitter, Discord, TG) in one place and it creates a personal QR code. Once scanned all of the info is saved in your contact list. I really like this app but I haven't see too many people using it yet. Nonetheless, I'll hold onto it as I find it very useful.
Download a map of the city you're travelling to
I found this to be a super useful tip! You can download an offline Google map of any city before arriving so you don't need to rely on internet... here's how to do it.
Google maps can position you with just your normal phone signal GPS, no need for expensive mobile data (as long as you have the map downloaded offline)
Whew, there is a lot to do when preparing for a conference. But by signing up for events, having all of your social media and networking apps downloaded, along with a map of the area you're travelling to, you're setting yourself up for a more successful and relaxed experience upon arrival. Now go find that next conference you want to attend and start preparing.