Okay, I will admit it. Adam Lueb and I are crashing CUNA GAC 2008. We are not invited. We are not official conference goers. We are not exhibitors. But we love our CU peeps so much we made the trek down just to hang with them. When you are a small company, such as we are, it is a risk to come all this way, take time out of two employees busy schedules, and pay for meals, transportation, lodging, etc. So is it worth it?
The answer is a resounding yes. I’ve found that nearly always something positive happens when you do any or all of the following: break your normal patterns, go visit your peeps, understand your customers’ world better, facilitate getting smart people together, make new connections, and/or reinforce existing connections.
Over on OpenSourceCU, some are questioning the ROI of attending a BarCampBank. I have no response to that, other than, if you can’t see the value in meeting smart, creative, passionate people who are willing to learn and share what they know about the leading edge of the industry, then you definitely should not attend.
Tonight, Adam and I hooked up with Robbie Wright of MaPS Credit Union in Salem, Oregon. Last July, Robbie invited me to attend BarCampBank Seattle just a few days before it was about to occur. By chance, I was in Spokane at the time consulting with a CU there, instead of at my usual home base in Western Massachusetts. I had never heard of a BarCamp nor BarCampBank, and after checking out the wiki page for it, didn’t want to rearrange my schedule to hop over to Seattle for the weekend rather than return home to my son whom I hadn’t seen in many days. While I love my son dearly, I am still kicking myself that I did not attend that first BarCampBank in the U.S. when I had the opportunity.
Returning to the present, at Adam’s suggestion, we headed over to Washington DC’s Chinatown for Tony Cheng’s Mongolian Barbecue earlier this evening. While enjoying the fabulous dinner, Adam and Rob got to talking tech stuff. It turns out that Rob faces the same challenge we do in wrangling the NCUA 5300 data on all 8000+ CUs in the U.S. into shape every quarter when it is published. Rob asked Adam if he would be interested if his CUSO developed a way by which we could import it in the blink of an eye, andweimmediatelyansweredYES. So now Rob has direct feedback of the usefulness of a potential product, and we now have a potential source for a process that sidetracks us from more relevant work for a significant amount of time each year. This conversation would not have occured had I not invited Adam to come to DC with me.
As an additional bonus, we discussed briefly the online switch kit that EverythingCU offers to make it easy for a member to switch their previous financial institution to the credit union, and realized that MaPS CU is not offering it to their members. Talking with Rob has reminded me who the person at his CU would be the one to evaluate the product, I’ve sent her an email about it.
This trip is already worth it, and we’ve only connected with one person so far and haven’t even gotten to the main event; the reason why we’re here, the TwittaBloggerSocial MeetUp.