The Conference Balancing Act

By Peter Radizeski, RAD-INFO

There are so many conferences – VON, NXTcomm, The Cable Show, KillerApp/BB Properties, WCA, Muni, VPF, TMC, ISPCON, and the PHONE+ two. And that doesn’t include shows like GEL, DEMO, O’Reilly or BarCamps.

How do people afford both the time and the money to attend even half of them? How many attendees leave without a real take away or return on the time and money invested? How many vendors feel like they get a decent return?

From what I am hearing, before and after is the key.

Planning is all. The ability to know who is attending; make appointments; schedule the show for maximum efficiency – like what COMPTEL tries to do – is an attendee favorite.

Both vendors and attendees would also appreciate a way to follow up, continue conversations, etc. One of the ways that ISPCON tries to accomplish this is through its forums. But many do not register, log-in and participate. Another way might be to utilize a social network such as LinkedIn, where the conversations can be continued. The other benefit would be that the networking which is one of the top reasons for conference attendance could be enhanced via use of a social network, like LI.

Another thought might be if moderators created a Yahoo Group for the topic before hand to collect questions – and afterwards follow up with answers and threads.

These are just a few of my ideas. I would like to hear what you need from a conference. It’s getting more expensive – both in time and money – to attend events, let’s help the organizers maximize our returns.

Peter Radizeski is president of RAD-INFO. He can be reached at


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