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What is Business of Software Conference?

Business of Software Conference Europe (BoS) is a two day event for software leaders, entrepreneurs and decision makers.

BoS targets those in the ‘scale up’ stage of their business – Companies ready to take the leap into growth. BoS is an event with a unique, intimate atmosphere where guests are encouraged to come to learn from one another and help each other through their challenges, not shout or boast about personal achievements.

Despite being a software person conference, the focus of the topics is not technical. Guests will hear talks from industry leaders on anything from marketing to mental health and everything in between. The result? Guests leave with an idea of how to grow their business to the next level, and the contacts to make it happen.

Why does Business of Software Conference exist?

Business of Software Conference was set up when Neil Davidson realised that the conferences he was invited to attend seemed to focus either on (a) how to be a startup and (b) how to fund/sell his software business.

He wanted to learn about how the best software companies grow and he set up the Conference to share ideas with others. The Business of Software community is made up of companies around the world who want to build software people love and companies people love working for.

Somewhere between a land where teenagers on skateboards selling their companies to Google in yet another Silicon Valley Acquihire and a land where everyone works for Microsoft lies the Business of Software community. Business of Software Conference is a bit like a ‘spa for geeks’. A chance to spend time thinking about working ON, not, IN, your business.

Expect to learn things, meet great people and have fun in the process.

Who is it for?

Founders, CEOs, CMOs, COOs, product managers, development managers – they all come and get something from BoS. If you are making decisions in a software business, regardless of how technical you are, BoS is for you: you won’t have to talk code to enjoy it (we certainly don’t!).

You might be venture backed, you might be bootstrapped. You might be a sole trader just starting out, or a large and fast growing organisation. Either way, if you feel you are still learning about what it takes to grow a great business, then BoS is for you.

Can I speak?

Certainly, if you meet our requirements: here is a summary of a longer blog post here, which explains our philosophy about speakers in a bit more detail:

BoS doesn’t have speaker deadlines. We do have a limited number of speaker slots – when they’re gone, they’re gone. We try, very hard, to curate an overall collection of talks that give a rounded perspective on the experience of building a technology company.

The effect of this is that we sometimes have to turn down people we know to be brilliant speakers because their topic doesn’t fit with what we want to do for that year.

It follows that successful speaking proposals for BoS tend to:

  • Be directly from people with senior level perspectives
  • Include a short description of the topic they would like to address and ideally why it’s relevant to your peer group
  • For bonus points, include a link to video of you speaking.
  • For double bonus points, be submitted early.

We are particularly keen to hear from ‘under-exposed’ speakers and women – if you are just starting out with speaking but have a really interesting topic, we’d love to hear from you.

To apply to speak, please send a note with your thoughts on topic to mark@businessofsoftware.com.

Even if you don’t meet the criteria for a full speaking slot, the Lightning Talk experience is a great way to extend your speaking comfort zone and raise your profile.

Several Lightning Talk speakers have graduated to full BoS speakers, others are now regulars on the conference circuit.

What is a Lightning Talk?

Lightning Talks are always one of the highlights of BoS. They give a chance for those who aren’t in a position to apply for a main speaking slot a chance to take the stage for seven and a half minutes, on any topic of their choice.

The speakers in 2015, for example, covered topics as diverse as Artificial Intelligence, Product Roadmaps, Office Etiquette, and Problem Solving.

There’s more detail on how Lightning Talks work and the application process here.

Lightning Talk alumni agree that this can be a scary, but extremely worthwhile, way to showcase topics you are enthusiastic about.

Who speaks at BoS?

  • Entrepreneurs, academics, writers, thinkers: anyone who can speak with authority, experience and brilliance on topics that are relevant to growing a software business, including:
  • Business development
  • Company culture
  • Recruitment and leadership
  • Dealing with crisis
  • Customer support
  • Product management
  • Strategy and business models

Past speakers at BoS have included Prof Clayton Christensen, Dharmesh Shah (Hubspot), Seth Godin, Scott Farquhar (Atlassian), Geoffrey Moore, Dan Pink, Gail Goodman (Constant Contact), Alexis Ohanian (Reddit), Kathy Sierra, Tom Erickson (Acquia), Scott Berkun (WordPress), Prof Noam Wasserman, Sarah Hatter (37 Signals, CoSupport), Prof Rita Gunther McGrath and Joel Spolsky (Stack Exchange).

Can I see BoS talks and get an idea of what you do?

Yes, absolutely. A small sample of some of our highest rated talks are here, along with a short introduction video from last year’s Boston event.

If you would like to see more, either sign up for our short email series on the home page, or check out the BoS US site.

Videos from the 2015 event will be published throughout the year, so it’s worth signing up for email notifications.