Chris Pirillo: Producing a Social Media Conference [interview]
Ever wondered what is would be like to plan and produce a major social media conference? Seattle Graphic Designer Terri Nakamura interviews Chris Pirillo, conference organiser, technical advisor to CNN, columnist, author in this guest post.
How far in advance do you have to plan?
In some cases, planning can begin a year ahead. Sometimes it’s difficult to do, especially when the economic situation is so unpredictable, because we can’t predict what it will be like a year from now.
Do you establish a budget and work from there, or identify the format and content, then ask yourself how much money you’ll need to make it happen?
Maybe a bit of both. You look at possibilities and ask how long will it take to get cash-flow positive or how will it take to generate revenue.
How do you identify who will participate?
Sometimes it’s a plan and you look for the people who fill the topic you want to cover, but often it boils down to who is available, where they are and what they do. With Gnomedex, we tried to identify people who were emerging-people who were on the cusp of hitting it big.
What are the benefits to the stakeholders?
For those producing the event: It connects you with people who are doing things, who can teach others, and inspire.
For the attendees: Different things depending on the type of event. In the case of Deploy, they will have access to real-world applications of cutting-edge software development technologies.
For the speakers/panelists: It gives them the opportunity to promote themselves or find an audience for what they are doing.
For the sponsors: It depends on the packages that are put together. Every sponsor is looking for something different. I always tell them, give people something to talk about-something tangible-something they want to share with others. If you’re not doing that, you’re wasting your opportunity.
Chris, are there any risks?
Investing money up front you could lose; miscalculating the ticket price and no one shows up; or it’s not the right audience.
If someone wanted to start a conference event, what is one piece of advice you would offer?
Don’t do it. It will tear you apart. I have nightmares, still. 🙂