Gotta Shake Things Up at Tech Conferences!
Like you, I have attended a whole bunch of tech conferences this year. I am jazzed that so many organizations want to put together conferences around Hadoop, Big Data, Cloud Computing, Digital Media and much more. Via conference such at TechCrunch, Strata, and many other venues we have reached global audiences with dialogs about technology any where from the US, Europe, China, India and much more. However, I am equally concerned regarding the following:
1. Let’s get more paying customers (users) to the conference and make it less of a vendor-fest. Hey- not to say there isn’t loads of fabulous inter-vendor networking, but great if we can hear actual customer user case stories from customers. How ? Let’s just invite customers.
2. Let’s be less sponsor centric. When you go to a tech conference these days, it is really about the platinum, gold and other sponsors. Let’s make it about technology!
3. Let’s play it less safe! Let’s push the boundaries and disrupt more. What the tech industry does great is deal with the ‘what-if’…let’s stimulate and dare to disrupt and not play it super safe. Let’s point out what we do very well and what we don’t
4. Let’s improve year on year. Have you noticed how super-constant the agendas are? You can almost take the agenda and change the year and voila, a new conference and more than anything folks, seriously.
5.Let’s change up the speaker roster. Not to say the sponsor speakers are not great, but how many times a year can you hear the same speaker? Are there not free thinkers in the tech giants, others who can present?
6. Let’s let disruptors present, shake things up and let’s invite, encourage and demand more women technologists and thinkers on the stage! No wonder that the female attendance is so low at techfests. Maybe because we don’t have enough women speakers? With about 50% of the tech field women, is there a reason that we still have conferences with zero women presenters?
So, let’s disrupt to innovate. Let’s dare to use these conferences as venues to think, stimulate, mix things up and come up with the impossible.
A great example of disruption which brought about one of the more eclectic conferences, is TED- multi disciplinary, searching for the out of the box thinkers, to create a renaissance environment for creativity, which has given rise to many TED’s around the world and now via podcasts available to all at no cost. Why not to Tech-TED?
Hey, I want to see more events. I just want to see us grow and not stay stagnant. It isn’t all about landing the sponsor dollars, it is about educating, stimulating and growing.
I welcome your thoughts as always.
- TEDGlobal 2012: ‘The more you give away the more you get back’ (guardian.co.uk)
- Tech Conferences Should Not Be Just for Vendors… Let’s Change the Game! (lindabernardi.com)
- TechCrunch Disrupt Hackathon – Hackers Gotta Hack (twilio.com)
Picked up a copy of Provoke yet? You can find it on Amazon. All my best,