Friday, December 05, 2008


The Plight of Industry Conferences

On Wednesday, I attended the Financial Security Conference in New York City where there was over a 60% last minute cancellation rate...

The ability to remove discretionary spending in these troubling times goes without saying and conferences tend to be lumped into this budget. In my mind, it says that conference organizers need to do a better job at providing value for conference attendees.

The model is busted. As an employee of a Fortune enterprise, no one has ever asked me how a conference can increase their value proposition. I have also never been asked what particular topics would I like to hear about. The way conferences find speakers is to simply ping those who have spoken at other events in the past and allow them to propose their own topics of interest to them and hope that the interests between attendees and speakers are aligned.

Us enterprise architect types have lots of things floating in our heads. More importantly, we also have access to our strategies, budgets, processes, etc and could do a thoughtful case study or just share perspectives on topics that are of interest to others. All conference organizers have to do is ask.

Are you happy attending Gartner conferences? What about all those sys-con events? How about the upcoming Burton catalyst conference? I know that OWASP conferences provide value, but how can they provide even more value?

I have a strict rule in that I start from scratch every single year with a brand new theme that I will talk about at industry conferences and would love for it to be shaped by receiving feedback from attendees on what others would want to hear about...

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