Why impact is not about the budget, but about the passion

Photo by Hermes Rivera on Unsplash

Businesses don’t focus enough on impact, and quite reasonably. How do you measure impact, and how can you be certain it will make your company better?

7 years ago, my partner and I have founded a company called 500Tech. When we just started, that name meant nothing. Quite an odd name indeed, and we never really had a good explanation for it.

Fast forward 7 years, we heard not once or twice about people who dream of working for 500Tech. We heard dozens of times people who are sure that we are at least 100 people (while, in fact, we were between 15–25, depends on the time).

So how did we make this impact? Since the early beginning, we got into developer communities. Even when we were just 2 people — we got a place, talked with some speakers, built a meetup group — and started assembling other developers around the same topics that we are passionate about. There was no clear vision of what business goals we want to accomplish.

During the years our meetups evolved into larger, more frequent meetups, and then international conferences with over 650 attendees. But all along, the core was the same. Passionate developers that want to share their passion with other developers. We never stuck our brand inside, and for years people didn’t even know what our company does.

Many times I wonder — is it that simple? Was it just our timing? Maybe just luck? How did we make something so special, competing with companies with huge budgets that try their best to create these communities and don’t succeed?

I believe that the main reason is that it is always run and led by developers. There are no manager setting goals, there are no marketing people promoting messages and branding, there is no HR person hunting recruits. We go there, do our show — and people are captivated. Are they converting to leads — I don’t know. Is it cost-effective for our recruitment process — no idea. But there is one thing certain — the impact is great. We are making a huge dent in the ground, and everyone gathers around to see what’s going on.

To summarize my point: You should invest in making a big impact, and you don’t need a big budget for that — just a lot of passion and good people.

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