Tom sent me this TEDx talk, and it pretty much exactly captures why I do conferences.
This came up in looking at some of the events that compete with my events. There’s several people jumping into the iPhone conference space. It’s hot, it’s new, people see the iPhone community as a bunch of dollar signs. They won’t be around long. People see our events, and; 1. think they can do it (it’s not rocket surgery I admit, but you can’t just create a reg site, and expect success and profit) 2. poach our speakers thinking that speakers alone (don’t get me wrong, we pride ourselves on AWESOME speakers) make an event a success, and simply bringing them along will bring the attendees. 3. Think they can do better, because their SAP event, or their single publishing company line up of speakers can do better.
I’ve heard from several people, who’ve attended 360|iDev, as well as one or more of the new comers. Overwhelmingly, they all said the vibe was much more corporate at the other events. Corporate sponsors, sessions to schill corporate goods/services/ideas. Watching this video resonated to me, why our events attract developers, attract community, attract indie gamers, scratching and clawing to make a living on their software. Because that’s who we are, we are indie. We aren’t a company looking for another profit center event.
I don’t do conferences (or Ignite Denver) to get famous, to get invited to other events to talk, to make my name bigger. I do it because I enjoy doing events that people love coming to, that give the attendees more than what they came in with.
We started (and I’m continuing) 360|Conferences, not because we thought conferences would make us rich, or famous. But because we saw a need in the community for the events that made the most impact to the developer community. We didn’t start asking how much can we make? Can we quit our jobs tomorrow? How can we get famous doing this? What will people pay for our events? What will make us rich?
No, we asked “Why?” Why do events suck so much? Why do they cost so much? Why do attendees get so little in exchange for (in so many cases) their hard earned money.
I was an independent consultant, I paid for Adobe MAX, CFUnited, etc with my own money. Each conference was several days worth of billable time just to get in the door. Several more days in un-billable time in attending. I wasn’t alone in asking those “Why” questions.
Enjoy the video. Think about who organizes the events you attend, are they in it for reasons you agree with? Do their actions (reg price, session depth, sponsors) match what you would like to see?