In the face of others doing it right, holding course is certainly one option

Tom and I aren’t born to the calling of conference organizers. It wasn’t in our blood from birth, and we didn’t start conferences to push other business. We do conferences to promote community. In the case of 360|Flex, it’s to bring the Flex developer community together under one roof, for one purpose. We’re not trying to retire young (though that’s not a terrible goal I suppose), we’re not trying to get rich on any single event. We’re certainly not in it to (pardon the term) rape our customers. Other than a few other visionaries in the space, we’re alone in that last one.

I’m not going to name names, but there’s an event in DC, I’ve attended it, it was ok. Not cheap, and the price seems to go up almost yearly. For that reason alone, before even starting 360Conferences, Inc, I decided I wouldn’t return.

As far as I know pre-conference training has been part of this event for a while. Always a seperate fee, always a lot of money. This year’s no different.

When Tom and I had the opportunity to offer pre-conference training, we jumped at the idea. We also decided to make the training free. If you’re registered to attend the conference, the training is free, just show up. Why? Why not? Why should the attendee pay even more? We don’t believe our customers deserve to, or want to be nickel and dimed. I know as a consumer, I don’t like it. Why would I do it to my customers?

What has always confused me about business is the lack of agility. Now, Ford or GM turning on a dime, not possible, but the rest of the business community? Really you can’t do it? Tom and I completely tossed our first model, and adapted to what our customers and speakers said was important. It wasn’t hard, it didn’t hurt. (Editoral note from Tom: Though it was humbling. Thinking you have the perfect model, then getting a “Well, not quite.”)

That said, I can’t for the life of me figure out why this other event is still telling their customers to bend over for pre-conference training. The company that runs the conference has never to my knowledge let it’s numbers out, so who knows how many people will end paying $900 for two days of training. $900 bucks? Yup.

Their announcement made sure everyone knew, NOT FREE, NOT INCLUDED.
*All classes are $449 each (this cost is not included in your conference registration for the main event, it is completely separate)

$449 each? 450 bucks a day if you want pre-conference training? On top of about $1,100 to attend the conference itself. Really?

Tom and I may not be a huge threat, yet. But having attended this other event before, they’re not doing anything Tom and I don’t do, except give out backpacks and a shnazzy printout of the slides… SNORE. Well, the prinouts are nice, but $600 nice? So how do Tom and I do it, for less than half the price? How do Tom and I do it, without having another business to prop up the conference? To use the conference as a marketing event for other services? Hmmm…good question. I’m hoping the community at large is asking this as they decide what events to attend. They should be.