Job hunt hack: finding interesting companies

I often hear from people who are interested in breaking into the smart cities space.

We talk about my job, about the landscape, about the emerging technologies. And then at some point, I get asked:

“Do you know any interesting companies in the space?”

To this, I respond with my recommended method of looking for smart city companies. But really, it is my recommend hack to find companies in any industry you might be interested in.

Start with the conferences.

Conferences around a particular topic, especially an emerging tech topic, are now a dime a dozen. Want to find blockchain companies? How about Consensus. Waste management? Try WasteExpo. Conferences are easy to find: most are marketed heavily.

The smart cities space is no different, and there is an event around the topic almost every month.

Conferences tout their ability to bring together the who’s who in a particular interest area. They are a shortcut to two lists: a list of speakers, and a list of exhibitors/sponsors.

So here’s what I generally recommend to people interested in smart cities:

  1. Make a list of smart cities conferences (Google is great for that)
  2. Look up the sponsors/exhibitors list.
  3. Look up the speakers list and back out the companies they are representing.
  4. Cull that list down to the companies that are interesting to you.
  5. Reach out to those companies.
  6. If they had speakers at the conference, you could refer to the topic of their talk in your reach out to demonstrate you’ve done your homework.

Why are conferences good sources? Because companies at conferences often have the resources to hire. It costs anywhere from $5-$50k to get a booth on a conference floor, and some pay-to-play events charge for the privilege of submitting speakers.

A quick Google search on smart cities conferences turns up this list:

Screen Shot 2018-05-14 at 4.30.35 PM.png

But, how do I know which conferences are good?

Great question. Thankfully, that’s also a question that companies themselves ask before deciding to attend a conference. So, if there’s a company you know and admire and they are at a conference, odds are someone in marketing has gone through the exercise of vetting that event for its value.

So, add two steps to the method I outlined above:

  1. Go to the website of a company you admire
  2. Find out which events they are attending over the coming months
  3. Make a list of smart cities conferences etc. etc.

Most companies will loudly publicize the events that they will be attending. This may be done through a blog post, social media, or if you’re lucky, a full Events section on their site.

Screen Shot 2018-05-14 at 4.29.22 PM.png

 

Let marketing teams do the heavy lifting of screening the conferences. Track down those event announcements, and you’ll be on your way to a great starter list for your job hunt.

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One last note: a nice bonus of making this event list is that you now also have a list of potential opportunities to meet these companies in person. If you’re a student or in academia, conferences often have heavily-discounted education passes.

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