Conferences Are Broken 

Over the last few years I’ve had the chance to attend what we might consider the mega conferences.

Most of them have over 1000 attendees.

The speakers are the usual suspects

The structure is exactly the same. It’s an endless stream of sessions, followed by a temporary escape to happy hour in the evening. This lasts for 2-3 days. Networking is generally a drunken business card exchange or a 5 minute conversation in the hallway.

The content is organizer driven as opposed to attendee driven.

Speakers are treated like celebrities. If you go to a conference in hopes of getting to know a speaker, good luck. If they are a keynote speaker, you’ll be waiting in line with all the other groupies to get your two mins of starfu#$#ing and it’s unlikely the speaker will remember you. It’s a fiercely competitive environment for somebody’s attention. And yet that’s exactly the reason we go to these events.

Mega conferences won’t go away because they’re profitable. But we need more niche events that give emerging talent a voice. We need events that results in lasting connections. The only way to do that is to make them smaller, more exclusive, and highly experiential. We need to create unforgettable experiences for the attendees. There is no map for this.

Just know that conferences in their current format are broken. That’s your compass. What are you going to do with it?

I’m the host and founder of The Unmistakable Creative Podcast, where I have weekly conversations with creative entrepreneurs and other insanely interesting people. Our guests have included bloggers, authors, bank robbers, happiness researchers and world famous cartoonists.