There are some amazing conferences that are on around Ireland, the UK, europe, the rest of the world and some of them have some amazing prices too. Le Web this year in Paris is €1,495.00 – €1,794.00 depending on how early you register. The O’Reilly Web 2.0 moneyfest in Berlin was a few grand too. Even in Ireland you see conferences ranging from €250 to over a grand for a day or two-day event. That’s a lot of dough these days to pay to be lectured to isn’t it?
I do often wonder for the specialised but expensive conferences whether you’d be better off just hosting your own day-long event in Ireland without having to fly in the big names or the big guns. They’re certainly great to see and draw a crowd but when some charge from 10k to 100k for a speaking gig, it’s no wonder that the cost of a ticket to some conferences can be up to 3k per person.
And then these big guns don’t mix. They hide out the night before in their hotel room, maybe talk to the others presenting and then are probably protected from the mad crowds during the event. It all seems very mercenary.
Wouldn’t it be great to see some expert talk and give them live feedback? Not by one of those boring “backchannels” things but by someone putting up their hand and saying something. Not that it’d be allowed in a large conference. The speaker (not converser) is there to make a few points without engaging, ta very much. I’m not talking about Barcamps but a model like that. Highly targeted speakers and audience members and small too so that information circulates, not just flows from the powerpoint to the scribble pad of someone in the audience.
Photo owned by molecularck (cc)
I guess it’s the “brown bagger” model in American companies where people to lunchtime training modules while everyone eats food supplied by work.
It’s ironic that many of us network better at big and international conferences yet there is so much shared knowledge in our own island and so many people we should be meeting and talking to who are only a few miles or event a few feet away from us. A strong local base is probably good for individuals and companies alike. That’s why those old school business networks like BNI do well, because they have the basics right. The delivery is probably all over the shop though and silly rules like having to give business to the person in your chapter is bad for you and them. Your rep and their weak business, if that’s the case. Focused conferences where everyone going brings something with them and contributes would be of extreme value I should think.
Think of it. You’re at a conference and some flown-in expert says something and you think “excellent, didn’t know that” and then they say something else and you think “D’uh, heard that ages ago” or you might actually be ahead of where they are. Now imagine everyone else in the room are like you. Does the room need the person at the front in this case?
Renting a room for a day costs anywhere from 500 euros to 2000 euros and charging people a modest sum to go would cover all costs. In fact there’s probably a business in “buying” off-the-shelf conference packages from hotels for a standard fee. Ciara too has a guide on running a conference on a shoestring.
What conference would you want to have for your specialist area, do you think you can run it? I bet you can.