Where Inspiration Collides With Education: Collision Conference 2019

By Sarah Taylor

Despite what you may have heard about app developers and “internet people,” we do have social skills.


In fact, we frequently have the privilege of attending industry events where we network with and learn from industry peers and leaders (in-person!)

The most recent conference we attended was Collision Conference in Toronto, Canada, which was a bit of trek from our hometown of Boston. Worth the time chiefly because we got to be in the same building as Seth Rogen! Okay, hearing from other people like Scott Harrison (of charity: water repute) and getting quote-tweeted by a fintech billionaire were pretty cool things too.


All jokes aside, it opened our eyes to the plethora of opportunities that await behind the power of authentic connection and shared mission.




Christopher, Kristijan, Cecilia, and Juan from the Sixpence Team were honored to attend an event that brought together the top technology companies and leaders in the world. Here are their 5 main takeaways from Collision that we think any business could benefit from hearing.

They also talked about their experiences in our new podcast, which you can which you can listen to here.


1. Laugh at Yourself

We all suffer from the occasional typo- even NASA has been known to make errors!

But what if your lack of proofreading actually worked in your favor? Allow us to explain:

At the beginning of the conference, we accidentally tagged billionaire co-founder of Stripe, John Collsion (@Collision), who then retweeted us as an example of what not to do, with some good-natured sarcasm thrown in. That is enough to make anyone blush (and give our intern a minor heart-attack).


However, despite the minor embarrassment, we gained a lot from this experience.


First, our Twitter impressions increased by about 1,600% and our engagements increased by about 93,000%.


This insane increase would have never happened without our mistake and the subsequent shout-out from John Collision.


While Sixpence is expanding, one of our main goals is brand awareness.


Rather than dwell on the fact that we received attention for an error, we are choosing to focus on all of the new people who now know about Sixpence… and the power of proofreading.

Second, we learned that mass scheduling posts in Hubspot can betray you if you don’t read closely. In the words of our content advisor, Brad, #NeedsAnEditor.


3. Authenticity is Valued More Than You Think

Although it can be easy to get caught up in building an online presence, there is still great value in face-to-face interactions- take it from the people that just attended an event with 25,000 tech leaders.


Even those who spend all day online value authentic, in-person connection.


One of Kristijan's biggest takeaways was that people do business with people they like, and that making friends is better than making connections.

It isn’t uncommon for professionals to have LinkedIn networks larger than small countries… but how many people have they actually had a conversation with?


Are we really connected with our connections?


The opportunity to speak with both industry leaders and peers in small groups was an aspect of Collision that resonated with Juan. The small group sessions allowed for personal connections to be built as everyone shared their stories. These interactions helped to personalize a very large conference.


3. Dream Big

Collision Conference 2019 was attended by people who have big dreams and are making them happen. There was a contagious air of optimism and opportunity that lead to great conversation and ample learning opportunities.

Juan noted that watching three finalists give their pitches in Collision's Pitch competition at the end of the conference made him envision what it would be like to be a finalist one day. We believe that, in the future, Sixpence will be in a position to tell our story in a larger setting and inspire our peers to do good and engage their communities.


Rather than walk away intimidated by the large crowds, we are invigorated with new ideas to incorporate future technologies into our business.


We are dreaming bigger because of our experience at Collision.


4. Diversity Isn’t a Trend, It’s Necessary

Collision Conference focused a lot on new trending technology such as blockchain and AI, but one thing we noticed about Collision that wasn’t trendy was how diverse the attendees were.

The Sixpence team is about as diverse as they come. Our small team is comprised of three Colombians, a Serbian, and three Americans; three women and four men.



Not only were there a large variety of nationalities represented at Collison, but 45.7% of attendees were female, which is unfortunately atypical in tech-related fields. Cecilia noted that meeting female tech professionals, like Rola Dahger, inspired her to connect with more women in the industry.


Diversity isn’t trendy, it’s necessary for acquiring unique viewpoints, cross-cultural collaboration, and the breaking of antiquated stereotypes.


We loved the diversity prompt that Collision provided at the conference and used it as an opportunity to bring attention to an important topic that is close to our heart.


5. Being Unique Doesn’t Mean You Have to be Left Out

As a company built around the concept of social good, Sixpence stands out in any industry that is separate from religious institutions or nonprofit organizations. We are proud of that.


Juan noted that Sixpence was one of 14 out of 150 tech companies that attended Collision that were focused on social good.


We believe that this benefits us in two ways. First, we were able to speak to more of our peers at the event because there were a reasonable amount to try and meet. Two, we stand out among other companies in the tech industry because we are not in direct competition with them. How many other companies have a primary mission to use technology to enhance how people give and support their communities?

While it can be hard to forge a new path, we are excited by the opportunity to write our own rules and collaborate with other companies that are doing equally cool, yet different things.



We had a great time at Collision Conference and everyone on our team is excited to attend next year. It was a truly educational and valuable opportunity that we will certainly learn and grow from.

Did you attend Collision? What was your biggest takeaway? Leave it in the comments or tell us on social!

Connect with the Sixpence team members mentioned in this blog:

  • Christopher @Haylettc
  • Cecilia @cecybaeza
  • Kristijan @Kristijankocic
  • Juan @juansmacias
  • Brad Dell @BradDell_



Tags: Conferences, Lessons Learned

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