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If his point is it's hard to get EVERYBODY in 1 big room, and get everyone interested in one thing - of course. Everyone wants their own themes, based on own interests and meeting up with their own peeps. That part is true enuf maybe.

What was proved by #EC10 http://eventcamp.org/ was that it's the combination of "cheap communication" (ie Twitter) with event that made the difference.

In a larger setting - if you expect people to line up for a massive homogenized experience, there will only be limited occasions that will work.

Even CES works now as massive event because it provides the intersection between a lot of overlapping communities who gain from the additive effect of coming together as one.

Of course, without a massive event, how will the "stars" like Godin get their massive speaking fees :-) (this from private twitter conversation with another startled events person)

justin locke

not every event will survive, and i suppose those that do will have to add more and more value to do so. i think that's good news. speaking as a performer, being on tv or being recorded is simply not the same as having the audience right there. there's content, and then there's connection. both can have value.


(Apologies for the cross-post on the EventProfs Facebook discussion.)

Jenise, we've been discussing this on Twitter and it's been somewhat frustrating. Thanks for moving the discussion to a place where we don't have to speak in 140 character chunks.

Here's my take on Seth's short post.

When he says that big events "don't work" I think he's being sloppy. What I think he means is that they don't work as well as some alternatives that are now available.

With today's ubiquity of streamed and on-demand video on the internet, one-to-many content is no longer only available to people in the same room as the presenter. Thirty years ago I might get on a plane to be in the audience for a Seth Godin talk to a thousand people. Now I'd watch and listen to him in my home office. Passive content has become a commodity with a rapidly shrinking price for a fixed amount of value.

So what's left? Plenty. Face-to-face interaction is not going away any time soon, not until we get the virtual high-resolution hologram experience beloved by science fiction writers. And we need f2f to find out who we like, who we trust, and who we want to have business relationships with.

So events in the future will be much more about good f2f connections and interaction, and much less about listening to big names speak. And here's the point - f2f works much better in small events than in large ones. There are several reasons why, and they are described in my book.

So I think that Seth is right about the limited effectiveness of big events (to me, events with +100's of people). But he's wrong about replacing them with "frequent cheap communication". Instead, big events are going to be replaced by multiple smaller events with participatory formats and participants who have more in common with each other than those in the 12,000-attendee soon-to-be-dinosaurs extravaganzas to which we've been going. And those participants are going to have a much better event experience than they've ever had before.

I actually think all this is good news for those of us in the events industry who adapt to this coming change but I'll leave why for another day.

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