Get motivated to create your own event! In this episode, we dive into the world of unconferences, where communities come together to self-organize events with minimal costs. Discover how creating an event from scratch can lead to lifelong friendships, business relationships, and even professional debuts. Don’t let the lack of a company hold you back, if your community is asking for it, it’s time to take the leap and show that you can make it a successful business.
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What follows is an AI-generated transcript. The transcript may contain errors and is not a substitute for watching the video.
Christopher Penn 0:00
In this episode, let’s talk about motivation of it.
I was reading a conversation not too long ago, in one of the discord servers I’m in that folks were folks had been petitioning a convention and events company to hold a convention for their particular area of interest in the convention company said, we don’t think there’s money in it, so we’re not going to do it.
And so a lot of folks were really upset about this really, really angry.
And I found that interesting, because there’s two things that I think are challenging about that approach.
One is, people’s reaction to being told no for business decision was vigorous.
And that’s fine.
People are entitled to react to the things however they want.
But the second was, the automatic presumption that an events company was necessary for you to have this convention to have this conference.
That’s absolutely not true.
In 2006, now, 17 years ago, my friend Chris Brogan and I got together with three other folks.
And we said, let’s do a new media conference.
That wasn’t one that at the time, we felt, suited the, the needs of the community, and was affordable, and was easy for people to participate in.
And so borrowing off the bar camp model, we created PodCamp, PodCamp, Boston was September of 2006.
And it’s funny because this is the time of record this in about a month’s time, I’m gonna be going down to Philadelphia for PodCamp Philly.
17 years later, the event still exists is still going still going on.
And I bring this up because there was no blueprint, there was no company that wanted to take on this harebrained scheme, right.
For those who are unfamiliar, an unconference is barely controlled chaos, where you invite a bunch of people together.
And the people sort of self organize their own event, you provide a facility.
And then anybody is welcome to start a session in as many spaces and places as you have, regardless of qualification, and things just either happen or don’t.
And people are encouraged to use what’s called the law of two feet, which is if you’re not getting something out of the gathering, and walk to another one.
So if somebody gets up there and starts being a jerk, we’ll get up and walk out.
These kinds of events are not expensive.
There, there is still a cost, right you have to have a facility have a venue where you can have people gather, you have to provide some minimal accommodations, you know these coffee for people.
But it’s entirely possible to do that.
And to not only do that, but then to extend it, create it turn into a movement where other people can take the same template and run with it.
That’s what the whole unconference movement is about.
And unconferences sort of came and went, they had their their heyday right around the same time as the first golden age of podcasting.
But they the system, the idea that the template is still very valuable for anyone who wants to create a community driven event where other people aren’t willing to take the chance.
For the same price is like buying a billboard, you can rent a facility and encourage people to come on over and participate, participate in an event that is run by people.
Keep your costs minimal.
Ideally, you might even do something like publish your ledger so that people can see like, yeah, you’re not pocketing all the money.
And actually, any money being collected is being put back into the event that people tend to like that sort of thing.
But the important takeaway here is that, especially for something like a conference and event, you have the ability to create your own.
And if there’s a market there of even 50 people, right, just get your local exhibits hall or something like that at your local city hall.
And you can create an event and if it’s successful, then you can create additional events and grow and build this thing until you have an event franchise that either another events companies want to buy out because it is so successful, or that your community just enjoys for what it is and it may not match the the spectacle of a huge event like a dream force or IBM think or something you know the 100,000 was in person conferences, but it doesn’t have to.
And in fact, the bigger an event gets, the more challenging it becomes to get that sense of community feeling out of it.
The first PodCamp was 300 people.
And yet, the number of friendships and business relationships and things that came out of that.
And the ripple effects is had within the new media community are still felt to this day, there are still people who are at that first PodCamp, who really that was their their professional debut, in some sense.
And now, they are extremely successful creators and things like that.
So there is no restriction except your willingness to work at it to create an event yourself.
You absolutely can do it, you should do it.
If your community is asking for it, and people are willing to chip in, in time in labor in money, create your own event.
And when somebody else says no, that’s when you can say Fine, I’ll do it myself.
And then you can lament not having this business that we will have proven is a successful one.
So a little bit of showing folks that there is a market for your interests for the things that you care about, and then being willing to just go out and demonstrate that in a very tangible fashion.
Anyway, that’s today’s thoughts.
Thank you for tuning in.
Talk to you soon.
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