On Sept 11th, 2010, I spoke at the first #TalentNetLive in Dallas. I was the opening keynote. It was the first time I had spoken in the US, and it was the first time I met Craig Fisher (better known as @Fishdogs in Smith’s English Pub in Dallas. Over a few pints, we formed an early friendship talking plans and possibilities. At that time #TalentNetLive was a one off event. A cheap option for those Dallas recruiters who could not secure budget to attend ERE. A few weeks later I lead my first track at an unconference at Recruitfest in Toronto. I was hooked on the concept, but wanted to break a few more rules. In November, just a few short months later, I hosted the first #truLondon and bullied and begged 80 people to attend. This was another one off, but I could see the appetite to break away from the usual conference format and do something different. To provide accessible, low cost events where people talked rather than listened.
In 2011, I first met a Finn Aki Kakko Aki was launching a new service to research markets as well as recommend the best channels and content to use to promote opportunities. Shortly after that #truLondon I met up with Aki again at the Finnish embassy. It wasn’t a great meeting and in normal circumstances it would have been the end of most normal relationships. I didn’t know Aki well then, I do now.

Firstly, I’d got off a plane after 14 hours and lost my luggage. Secondly, I didn’t think the product was all that original or good. In fact, I told him it was S****. There was no way I was going to share it, write it up or work with them.

A few days later I got a message that changed my view. Aki messaged me to say that he had taken my comments on board, agreed in part, and wanted to talk some more. He wanted to know how to make it better, and he did. I respected the willingness to take some fairly tough criticism as a good thing, and to make changes. I got to love the Joberate product, as it evolved over the coming year.

Once #tru was up and running, and both the concept and name got better known, we started to recieve more and more requests to take #tru further and further afield. Starting with#truAmsterdam (where we have now hosted 8 events), Stockholm, Dublin, South Africa, Romania, Hungary, San Francisco, Boston, New Orleans, Helsinki, Australia and more. In 2011, I teamed up with Aki and Joberate to advise on product and to take #tru to new locations in the Far East like China, Tokyo, Singapore, Hong Kong, New Zealand and others. The plan was, and is, to be genuinely global series of events.

When I’d been running #tru for about a year, John Sumser wrote a post about the new kids on the block. The list included me, Craig Fisher and Jessica Miller-Merrell, and a few others who have since gone quiet. We were all exploring social media and events, without a digital media background. We were breaking a few rules, producing lots of content, building networks and being different. Sumser’s view that we would all end up being content marketers and generators. Although we didn’t know it then, he was right.

Whether it was a blog post or an event, we were working out what would work with the new audience, in the new channels. I now view events entirely as a series of live content, where the most important thing is the participants and what they want. It’s not broadcast, it’s conversation. During this time I was also continuing to take part in as many of Craig Fisher’s Talent Net Live events, and Craig was attending #tru. The events were different. #TalentNet is more of a facilitated conference where the attendees get plenty of opportunities to ask questions. It’s more structured, but some people need that. Both Craig and I have been fortunate enough to build brilliant networks who support what we do, young and older, everyone is welcome.

And so we get today. After events in Australia and New Zealand, Craig, Aki and I have been hatching a plan to bring it all together. This comes in the form of a new business, Globaltru, which brings the two events together. In some cities and countries we will be running #tru; in others #TalentNetLive; and sometimes both. We are supported by global sponsors Kelly, Joberate and the Stack Overflow recruiter brand Careers 2.0, as well as a host of local sponsors. We are grateful for their confidence and support. The team includes Ruta Klyvyte who has the not too simple job of dealing with logistics, organising the three of us (which is like herding cats), and keeping an ever-changing community and website up to date. We are planning 100 events this year, and 300 next year. We are receiving requests each week to bring #tru to a new city, and new countries. All we need to bring an event to any city is a willing host, a venue and a sponsor. We really don’t care where it is. We want to reach recruiters, HR professionals and technologists everywhere. You want us, we will come! We intend to reach more individuals in the people space, and have more conversations than anyone else. We want to connect people, and give them the opportunity to talk. In the last 3 years we have connected lots of people who have done business together, got jobs, done international deals, and inspired at least four companies to set up. We did this by giving people the opportunity to talk. I’m proud of that.

Thanks everyone who has been on the ride so far. There are far too many people to mention, but you know who you are.

Our first venture is the forthcoming US road trip, that starts with #truSanFran on the 13′th May that features track leaders including Kevin Wheeler, Stephane Le Viet, Bill Fisher, Craig Fisher, Kes Thygesen, Irina Shamaeva, Master Burnett, Jerome Ternynck, and Justin Hall, at the SmartRecruiters‘ HQ.

#truOC in Newport, OC with track leaders Rayanne Thorne, Michael Clarke, Stacy Donovan Zapar, Kevin Wheeler, John Sumser, Bill Fisher, China Gorman and others.

#truNY in the ‘Big Apple,’ hosted by Stack Careers, with track leaders Ivo Bottcher, Danelle DiLibero, Victorio Milian, Laurie Ruettimann, Kes Thygesen, Adam Lewis, Steve Levy, Chris Russell and others.

I hope you can join us.

Bill

Here’s to the future. Hold on to your hats. It’s going to be fun!