How does it work – FAQ
Q: Can other companies participate?
A: Yes! The procedure is simple: First, get to know people at any of the participating companies (more on this below). Then pitch your company and yourself.
As the core point of IGE is to share knowledge and know-how, you should be able share some findings from your work. This means that you have to have some experience under your belt. Also, IGE is designed to be lean and hassle-free. This means that nobody is going to micro-manage you at the host company. So we’re talking about relatively independent and seasoned geeks here.
Q: Who arranges everything?
A: You do. And this really means you, not your company. It’s worth the effort.
Q: Where do I start?
A: If you already know someone from a participating company – great. If not, start by making friends with your fellow geeks. Read their blogs, connect with them on Twitter. Ask, comment and participate, exchange a few helpful emails, meet them at international seminars and conferences.
Once you know somebody, you can pitch yourself as an exchange geek. If there’s a fit with another company you’ll get to agree on how to set up your exchange and arrange logistics.
Q: Why no centralized organization?
A: Because the need for personal initiative acts as a filter, weeding out free riders and those that might not suit the program anyway. We want to keep the hassle and bureaucracy to a minimum. International Geek Exchange is based on personal connections – and they are easier to create than ever.
Q: So will I actually be working as a new employee at the host company?
A: No. The idea is to keep the concept very lean and hassle-free. Dealing with working-visas would be a hassle. That’s why you will do your own day-to-day work as always but all the time that you’d otherwise be spending in meetings, reading blogs, taking coffee breaks and so on is now used for doing things with the host company.
Q: What information can, and should I share?
A: Your company culture plays a major part in this. But the fact that you’re working for an Internet (marketing) company and are even considering an exchange would suggest that you’re no stranger to the sharing economy.
If you’re only going to do small-talk and are not ready to give of yourself, this is not for you. The whole point of the concept is to share findings and know-how. NDAs have been used before to give both parties peace of mind.
Q: Is anything required of me?
A: We hope all participants will contribute to this community by sharing their findings and experiences with IGE in the blog section (to be revived soon). 😃
Q: I am a freelancer, can I participate?
A: At the moment International Geek Exchange is reserved for companies only. There needs to be a host company to host the geek in exchange.
Q: What does it cost?
A: Not that much. As an example, here’s a quick cost-benefit analysis between SEM conferences and IGE.
LEARNING AND NETWORKING
Conference: 1-3 days
IGE: Over several weeks
Conference: In practice, none
IGE: Over several weeks
Conference: None unless you are speaking
IGE: Part of the program
Seminar: Airfare, short accommodation, seminar fees
IGE: Airfare, longer accommodation
So actually the cost is roughly the same, but as you can see you might very well end up getting much more out of IGE.
Q: Who’s behind IGE?
A: The program was initiated by Toni Voutilainen, who first introduced it to Elizabeth Marsten and the two conducted a pilot of the program (thanks to Tulos and Portent for sponsoring!). Both are still involved in developing the concept and spreading the word – and we’re happy many more are joining in and providing feedback!