Ross Mayfield

Piers points to a posting of Ross Mayfield, making a great point:
It’s becoming cheaper to host your own event than attend one.
This is a point well worth elaborating upon.
It is what the BlogWalks Lilia, Sebastian and I organize sets out to do. It is what BlogTalk in the past 2 years, Reboot last June, recent Barcamp and dozens of smaller gatherings I see invitations pass by for, have in common. Attendees create sessions, costs are shared and kept to a minimum. Your stated curiousity and reputation are the usual criteria for admission.
Meanwhile the regular industry is very much feeling something is changing (see the comments there). Ark Group e.g. were trying to change their model this year for KM Europe, but in the end the way out they chose was moving up market by increasing their admission prices to 865 Euro and hammering on the exclusivity of what you get for that money. A choice I can respect, but it is a classic response in light of Christensen’s Innovator’s Dilemma, and makes the underbelly of the industry vulnerable and leaves a real foothold for the self-organized events to grow and become mainstream even. Remember that the World Economic Forum started out as animated fireside chats between a handful of people. What would you like your event to be the ‘Davos’ of?
These new type of get-togethers, sometimes called un-conferences as they often seek to follow other patterns than the back-to-back powerpoint presentations large conferences tend to be, are the places where I think the most valuable exchanges take place in terms of substance and of keeping track of what is new in a given field.
These DIY-conferences form a logical alliance with the DIY-publishing of weblogs, and other social software tools. They all put the power with the individual, reduce dependence (of those who seek to monopolize brokering relations and exchanges), and foster (the realization of) interdependence (for creative work and learning).
That is why I am curious to see how the next BlogWalk meeting in Seattle will go, as it is looking into this relationship between unconferencing and blogs.
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4 reactions on “Unconferencing, Long Tail of Conferencing?

  1. Behold the unconference

    Traditional event organizers should be keeping their eye on this trend, as outlined by Ross Mayfield and expanded on by Ton and Rich at the TSMR blog, among others: The unconference. Ross points out this painful truth:
    With the right social software…

  2. I’m doing an unconference. One thing…it still does cost money to do these things. You still have to get a place. Nothing big, you just need a place and that does cost money. You still have to pay for the incidentals like someone to stand behind the bar. My event is pretty local so we have to pay for flyers and hand outs. And for the people putting it on, it’s all consuming. It’s the marketing that has gotten so friggin cheap. But for the local focused events, the web 2.0 style can work but it’s sweet to still have the local, indie rocker newspaper to help get the word out. The radio helps, too. Unconferences are not super expensive. But for most of us, putting an event together is no small things. They’re boot strapped affairs.
    But I do agree. These unconferences fit right into the DIY world. And that’s what makes them so dang fun.

  3. Unconferencing: How should we select our Keynote speakers?

    It seems to me that there is a growing dissatisfaction with the standard conference model of panel presenters and an audience full of possibility who are just listeners. I’ve put together the following (very incomplete) timeline: Dave W…

  4. Knowledge Board Fringe Event

    Monday and part of Tuesday I will spend at the KnowledgeBoard Fringe Event. It is the community part of the KCC conference, that used to be known as KM Europe. In the past I have been critical about KM Europe’s model,…

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