Several people have asked me if I will be organizing a third version of DSrupted, a conference focused on emerging and disruptive technologies in the signage market. The short answer is No.
And here’s the longer answer:
The 2015 and 2015 conferences generated very positive feedback, and the events confirmed my sense that there is a hole in the marketplace for longer-format, curated education conferences about digital signage and related technologies.
However, I was doing this on my own, in spare moments. Everything from finding speakers and helping arrange to get them here, to managing the website and sitting on top of ticket registration and payments. Anyone who has done conferences will confirm it is a LOT of work.
And then there’s the steady need to market, market, market the event.
I think we pulled off the first two and made them tight, professional and money well-spent – but sometimes I can have so much going on I’m getting to things at 1 in the morning. Like these days. I was very concerned I wouldn’t have time to do a 2016 version well.
So why not hire someone?
Well, yeah, I could contract it out. But that person or company would, crazily, want to get paid. That would therefore mean bumping up prices to a point I don’t think is going to work for anyone but locals from larger companies. My goal was always to keep tickets down so start-ups and other small companies could show up. Both years, I slipped tickets to a few people who badly wanted to go but knew they didn’t have $300 to get a ticket.
I could add a “trade show” component and get money that way – but I quite honestly find the whole card tables in the foyer, micro trade show thing shabby. Maybe it works really well, but it’s not for me, and didn’t suit the format.
There’s also a sense I have that what’s disrupting the industry right now is very general stuff – like cloud services, web technologies and a low barrier to entry. I talked to a content app start-up company last week and gave them an idea … the CEO sent me a note back a couple of days later, saying he had 3-4 hours free, so he pulled the content app together, and could I have a look?
That’s how long it takes to do some things if there is a foundational platform in place and you know your coding.
Maybe this needs to be about disrupting companies, but the most disruptive ones tend to be bootstrapped, Starbucks-as-head-office types of efforts. They’re not funding events anytime soon.
I’m interested in putting together conferences in the future, but I’ll need a partner(s) or one big sponsor. You know where to find me.
Thanks to the sponsors who supported DSrupted in 2014-5 and venue host TELUS.
Dave Haynes is the founder and editor of Sixteen:Nine, an online publication that has followed the digital signage industry for some 14 years. Dave does strategic advisory consulting work for many end-users and vendors, and also writes for many of them. He’s based near Halifax, Nova Scotia, on Canada’s east coast.