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.
(tags: blogwalk, unconference, unconferencing)