XEROCON 2018 - read about Elysia’s experience

This was Elysia’s first time at XEROCON and it didn’t disappoint. Read her highlights below..


Hot topics!

Always a hot topic at Xero events, is Time. The value of your time. How to get your time back. How to spend less time of things that don’t matter, so you can spend more time on the things that do. Saving time was part of every discussion at Xerocon, and will continue to be one of their important topics at future events

AI & Automation There were several discussions about the future of Artificial Intelligence in Xero & business, and the role that Automation plays in creating efficiency in the business.

Automation & AI are different things, but they work together to create efficiencies.

For example, some email software now has the option of suggested replies to emails, based on what the email says. The best part though, is that their AI will use your previous email responses to create a response similar to the way you speak in emails.

This type of machine learning and automation will be used more and more frequently to drive everyday tasks and save you time and money. Email replies are just one small way that AI will be used to drive business forward, and there will be a lot more to come!

Human Being human was also celebrated at this years Xerocon. As businesses are moving forward and everyday processes are becoming more automated, the human side of business will still remain crucial. Relationship & trust building between clients and advisers requires human connection, which no AI can replace in a business. The closing speech at Xerocon focused on celebrating the things that we can achieve, and the things that make us human.


Speaker Highlights

Mark Manson - Blogger, Author, Anti-self help guru

Author of the book ‘The subtle art of not giving a f*ck’, his keynote speech was an absolute delight. He was funny, clever, and very interesting to listen to.

I won’t repeat his colourful language here, but the key take aways from his speech were:

  1. You are not special

  2. You can choose how you respond & react to things, even things you cannot control

  3. Do fewer things, and do them well

Genevieve Bell - Professor of Anthropology at the ANU, Director of the 3A Institute, and Senior Fellow at Intel

Genevieve’s talk at Xerocon brought just one word to mind - phenomenal.

She is smart, articulate and completely fascinating. I found her discussion about Artificial Intelligence & its role in the future of business and technology captivating to say the least.

To begin with, she told us her story of how she went from being raised barefoot in an Aboriginal community, to becoming a professor of Anthropology in the US, to then becoming part of tech giant Intel (which involved the words “you seem interesting, would you like a job?”), while the internet was still in its dial up days.

She then continued to discuss how AI will become part of the future of technology, business, and the world around us.

"The steam engine gave us engineers. The computer gave us Computer scientists. AI & automation will give us…?". Genevieve’s next mission will be to work with the 3A Institute to help to develop the next field of Applied Science. Watch this space.

Rod Drury - Founder of Xero, Non-Executive Director

Rod is the original founder of Xero. His talk was part of the closing address at Xerocon on day 2.

Rod is cheery, funny, and light hearted. He discussed what it was like to start a business from scratch, for it to then become an ASX 100 listed company. His story would resonate with many - working too many hours to start up & establish a business, missing out on time with his family (he spoke about not having taken a holiday for 10 years!), to finally being able to reap the rewards and spend time with his family.

He also added in a story or two about ‘rich guys and Teslas’

Breakout session highlights

Paul McPherson, Head of Security at Xero - Staying one step ahead with Security

Data security. Not usually a sexy topic, but one that I found the most informative.

In this interconnected era (which isn’t going anywhere anytime soon!), data security should be a priority for absolutely everyone.

Paul gave us a simple, informative discussion with tips on how to protect yourself and you business’s data.

  1. Passwords (pass phrases to IT pros) - Complicated is good, but longer is better. An 8 letter password could take up to 10 minutes for a malware program to crack, but 16 letters could take years. Longer password = better security.

  2. Use different passwords and logins for your apps & accounts. If someone gains the details of your login and password, they will try these with various different apps and programs - and since this is all done through automation, it could be done in less than a minute. Remembering logins can be a nightmare, so if you you have too many apps and programs, investing in a password storing app is the way to go. That gives you one login to access all of your logins, which again saves you time as well as keeping your data secure and easily accessible.

  3. Don’t be an easy target. Hackers will normally go for an easy target, so if you use a few simple tips to protect your data, they will usually give up an move on.

James Fielding, CEO of Audeara - A Journey to Personalisation

An inspiring talk about James' journey to bring two of his passions together - medicine and music. The creator of the Audeara headphones discussed what it took to go from an idea he had with friends who were in the medical field, though all of the pain that comes with developing and marketing hardware items, to releasing these incredible audio testing headphones.

The take away from his talk was simply to stick with your passion & don’t compromise your goals, or take shortcuts, just to please others. And, most importantly, try to raise loads of money before you begin developing hardware!

App & Add On Highlights

Futrli- Reporting and forecasting. This app is incredible! It has such detailed forecasting and reporting abilities, and can be a really valuable tool for small businesses & advisors. Futrli was one of the most talked about reporting apps at Xerocon.

Deputy- Winner of the 2018 app of the year! Deputy was widely talked about at this years Xerocon, and for a good reason - it is a complete solution for scheduling, rostering and timesheets for hospitality businesses. Integrating easily with Xero, this app makes payroll and reporting so much more efficient.

Receiptbank- Always a favourite, receipt bank was discussed across Xerocon as on of the best automatic Accounts Payable software on the market. We use RB, and couldn’t run out business without it! The automated bill entry allows you to snap and send bills straight into Xero, saving you tons of time, and minimising data entry errors.