Conferences are broken (but we’re working to fix them)

We believe conference presentation videos are broken. Actually, it’s bigger than that. We believe professional conferences are broken.

We believe they serve everyone far less well than they could–presenters, event organisers, the audience, and the industry as a whole.

And we believe we have a way to address this, which we hope will lead to an explosion of amazing presentations, and encourage the growth particularly of really focused events and deep dive content.

We’re getting ready to take the covers off. If you’re interested, sign up to hear more, and be among the first to participate. Whether as a speaker, event organiser or professional looking to maintaining grow your skills and capabilities.

Or read on for more of what we think is broken, and how it can be better.

What’s wrong and how could it be better?

We know, because we’ve been on all sides of the equation. We’ve organised dozens of commercial conferences, and community events small and large, over many years.
We’ve spoken at events from small local meetups to keynoting at some of the biggest conferences in our industry. And we watch many many presentations, in person, and online, every year.

And we believe there’s a better way for everyone.

Presenters put dozens, even hundreds of hours into their ideas, examples, slides, code, and if they are lucky they present it once, for little if any compensation, with the video available for free on Youtube, making no one other than Google money. Engagement with the audience is limited, at best to the Youtube comments associated with the video.

Meanwhile, there’s little if any incentive for high profile presenters to develop new material with any great frequency. Events will often be fine with the same presentation someone has delivered many times. Which makes perfect sense for the presenter. Developing a great presentation is a staggering amount of work. But this means we get to see so much less from experts in our fields since it makes little economic sense for them to create more.

But what if there were a way for presenters, both established and just starting out, to be well compensated for all that effort, and the courage and generosity of sharing their knowledge and expertise? That would unlock much more of the capacity of speakers by rewarding them for new presentations? A way too to engage more directly, more professionally, with their audience, wherever they happen to be, whenever they happen to watch?

Conferences and their organizers go to significant expense to record, edit and publish videos (not to mention the risk of holding the event in the first place), yet rarely see a return on that investment. Few if any events have the scale to generate even a modest amount at Youtube via advertising, and most events in our industry, even high profile ones, work very hard just to keep the lights on. Sure you might get a lot of views on Youtube but how does this close the loop, driving attendance for upcoming events, providing the income needed to invite new speakers? In our experience that’s a resounding no. So we see the same speakers, and same presentations time and again. Or worse still, sponsor content dressed up as presentations.

What if conferences could reliably generate revenue (and engage their audience better) from videos of the presentations at their conference?

For the audience though, it’s all good right? They get lots of great free content from amazing speakers.
Except. How much more would there be, and how much better quality, if presenters had an incentive to create new presentations, and engage with their audience in an ongoing way? If organisers had an incentive and were rewarded for finding new speakers and original content? Of creating focussed, niche conferences that are hard to justify relying solely on ticket sales?

We believe this would lead to an explosion of amazing presentations, and encourage the growth particularly of really focused events and deep dive content.

And we believe we have a way to do this. We call it Conffab.

We’re getting ready to take the covers off. If you’re interested, sign up to hear more, and be among the first to participate. Whether as a speaker, event organiser or professional looking to maintaining grow your skills and capabilities.