We love geeks at Tulos. We always have. Yes, we thought geeks were cool long before geek was deemed the word of the year by the Collins online dictionary. So it’s only natural that we invest quite a bit in our geeks.
In an effort to help our geeks literally become world-class and spread the geek love we recently conducted a 4-week pilot of our new International Geek Exchange (IGE) concept with our geeky friends at Portent, Inc.
We love to learn and want to stay ahead of the curve. So we regularly have our geeks attend all kinds of digital marketing conferences. IGE is a natural extension to that. You see, as we have noted before, the biggest benefit of SEM conferences often is being able to exchange thoughts with some of the brightest minds in the industry.
But conferences last just a couple of days at best and they only scratch the surface of interesting topics. They’re over just as you get going. So what if you could extend that experience over a number of weeks?
This is the whole point of our geek exchange — having more time for exchanging ideas, networking, learning and teaching.
“But isn’t that going to be very expensive? Is it worth it?” I hear you ask. Let’s compare between SEM conferences and IGE for just a second.
LEARNING AND NETWORKING
Conference: 1-3 days
IGE: Over several weeks
Conference: None in practice
IGE: Over several weeks
Conference: None unless you are speaking
IGE: Part of the program
Seminar: Airfare, short accommodation, seminar fees
IGE: Airfare, longer accommodation
So actually the cost is roughly the same, but as you can see you might very well end up getting much more out of IGE.
I can already hear someone say “I wish I had a couple of weeks to spare!”. That’s a valid point. But the beauty of IGE is in how lean we have kept it.
Instead of abandoning your day-to-day client work (as you would likely do during conferences) during IGE you take it all with you. Trust me, it makes sense for a couple of reasons.
First, there will be no hassle for you or your team in trying to figure out who’s going to substitute you. Second, this way you are more likely to come up with concrete and current issues to share. And besides, everyone at the host company will do their own day-to-day work so there’s no reason why you wouldn’t, too.
But all that time that you’d otherwise use in your team meetings, reading books or blogs or chatting next to the water cooler is now used for doing things with the host company in an unhurried and even spontaneous manner — you have weeks, remember?
IGE 1.0 With Portent
We signed an appropriate reciprocal NDA so I was as if any new member of team Portent participating in meetings and other activities. On one hand it was heartening to exchange thoughts and see a growing agency on the other side of the world dealing with just the same issues that we also do — the challenges you face aren’t as unique as you easily might think.
Although we still don’t have Google Shopping in Finland (an absolute shame on Google), it was still interesting to get familiar with how Portent utilizes the service and get all the more prepared for its launch over here.
As mentioned, training also is part of the program. So for this occasion I did a presentation about what we do at Tulos and something that we in Finland are a bit more familiar with than the folks in US: Yandex & the Russian market and Baidu & the Chinese market. As part of the program I also got to write a blog article in Portent’s valued blog.
So all the elements were there. Collaboration, learning, training, public speaking and networking. Our pilot was a great experience. It was enjoyable getting to know many of the talented geeks at Portent and sharing ideas with them. These guys have taken geeky humor to a whole new level!
As you can see, there are many reason why I highly recommend IGE.
If it sounds like something you and your company would like to do, feel free to drop me a line @ToniVoutilainen. Remember to love your geeks!