Conferences Are a Rip-Off, You Can Replace Them With Online Tutorials

September 21, 2011

in Uncategorized

Actually not, but this article by Andy Budd from Clearleft (amongst other things, organizers of dConstruct), and the discusion it generated, is worth the read for event organizers (don’t miss the comments, at least the first bunch). The two original articles cited by Andy are linked below and have some interesting points to reflect on too.

A few extracts (bolds are my own):

As an individual or small company it is incredibly risky to put on events like this and I know numerous folks who have lost money on their conferences. As such, organising a conference isn’t the path to riches than many people suspect. In fact it’s an incredibly stressful endeavour that is just as likely to see organisers out of pocket. But people continue to organise these events because they love the industry and desperately want to put something back into the community. As such I really feel for these smaller conference organisers when people accuse them of not trying hard enough or profiteering.


The truth is that conferences are hugely costly to run and what seems like a massive profit to the untrained eye quickly fades to nothing. […]


Like all things, it’s about the value proposition. […]

I’ve learnt new skills which have allowed me to charge more for my time or at the very least help me out of tricky situations; I’ve met new business prospects and built a network of friends and associates who provide leads and recommendations; I’ve found new staff for my company and met many people who have found jobs via a similar mechanism; and these are just the tangible things. I’ve met speakers who have inspired me and had hallway conversations that have helped crystallize thoughts I’ve been having for months. I find myself explaining techniques or using concepts with clients that I know I picked up at conferences, although I can’t for the life of me remember which ones. There are so many benefits to attending a conference above and beyond the tangible; it’s difficult to put a dollar value on them.

Original article:

Cited articles:

Hat tip to folletto for pointing out this conversation.


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