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Xerocon 2018

Picture this: almost 4,500 people at the Brisbane Convention Centre, for a two day conference, described as Coachella for accountants.

A giant pool filled with 200,000 blue balls and pink blow-up flamingos, a basketball half-court, mini golf course, several table tennis tables, live DJs and bands… and this was an accounting conference where we learn about ‘software’ 😉 Xero can throw a party, that’s for sure.

Pre-Con

Xerocon started the day after this but we were lucky enough to be invited to the Xero Awards night which was held the night before Xerocon kicks off. Anytime we get a chance to go away we like to use our time together wisely and get stuck into working on our business, so we flew out early and spent the day at our airbnb in Southbank Brisbane doing just that.

The Xero awards night is a tight knit function where only previous award winners from 2017 and the 2018 nominees are invited to the convention centre. Having won the Victorian partner of the year, we qualified to be in the running for Australian partner of the year. We felt like winners already because just being in the same room as peers killing it in the industry was such a great feeling. The nerves started to build as the awards started to get read out! We won the Xero Accounting Partner of The Year… and we were blown away. Then we kicked on to a pre-con party, sponsored by a favourite app Practice Ignition.

Day 1 (Xerocon starts officially)

The day kicked off with an opening keynote from the new CEO of Xero, Steve Vamos. He shared his journey, and the updated mission for Xero- to rewire the global economy, connecting millions of businesses to their banks, advisors and each other. LOVE. IT. We see RBK as being the core to that plan, we want to connect our clients with all of the relationships they need to be successful in business and in their personal lives and felt Xero’s mission played perfectly into our plans.

At each of the Xerocon’s we’ve been to over the last two years, they’ve had a big focus on artificial intelligence and robots. It was fitting that the second presentation was called the AI Revolution, but there was a huge focus around the human relationship. Xero shared their values and #human is something that they’re really starting to focus on, and this ran true throughout the entire conference.

The most notable presentation of day 1 was Gill Hicks whose keynote presentation “What’s The Worst That Can Happen?” was a powerful retelling of what it was like to be a London Bombing Survivor. It was completely breathtaking to see a person taking to the stage with her prosthetic legs and pacing around, owning it. One of the key takeaways was about adding value- to…

…give more than you can take and give without the expectation to receive. Where you can add value be present, and live life with good intention. You should choose to do so. Something as simple as words can make a difference to someone else’s life.

She was truly awe inspiring and is now the Founder of MAD for Peace.

Day 2

We began with Mark Manson, author of The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck. This was one we really wanted to see after reading and loving the book. He started the session (at 9am) by getting 3,500 accountants to scream “FUUUCK!”. That’s one way to wake up. The beauty of the presentation was that he spoke in the same way that he wrote the book… raw, hilarious and ruthlessly honest. His opening statements set the tone:

“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.”

The pursuing pain is around how useful pain can be. If you can get through the struggle it’s a huge driver.

The other notable thing worth mentioning (other than the afterparty) was the presentation by Trent Innes (MD of Xero) called The 1% Is Everything.

Our culture and Xero’s culture is well aligned and we know this through our dealings with their team. We get along with everyone we speak to- we’re on the same wavelength. Trent’s examples of the 1%er’s to make your organisation a better place show that incremental change by doing the little things in business, drive the biggest result. A great example he used was washing the coffee cups at the sinks so no-one has to wash up after you. It’s something as simple as that which we notice at our co-working spaces. It’s so easy, but it makes for a much nicer workplace, setting the right tone.

We just want to wrap up by reiterating the work (the 1% efforts) our team put into every single day that make things like winning the Australian Xero Partner of The Year possible. Reflecting on what Mark Manson said, we aren’t special. Winning the award was very deliberate… we love the platform and we wanted this. We set a goal and worked HARD to achieve it. #Human sums it up- it’s all about the relationships. Relationships in your workplace, with your clients and with the partners you work with.