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Topic # 120973 20-Jun-2013 06:41
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Hi

I'd like to hear thoughts on conference attendance - especially from the self-employed / small-medium sized business owners (ie, you're ostensibly writing out the cheque to attend)...

The reason I'm asking is cos I'm ummming and ahhhing about whether or not to attend one particular conference and I see some of the speakers have a bit of a local reputation for being very good at patting each other's backs ... 

Which gets me wondering how good the conference will be ... 

So I'm interested in what criteria you might use to decide.

TIA



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  Reply # 840181 20-Jun-2013 11:35
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What's the cost, and how long does it go for? Do you need to fly anywhere (and need accommodation) ?

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  Reply # 840208 20-Jun-2013 11:59
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For me the only criteria is whether I perceive that the conference is value for money, relative to the conference plus travel/accommodation/food costs.




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  Reply # 840216 20-Jun-2013 12:11
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Also looks who its organised by. If its a national user group conference or vendor specific (Microsoft TechEd) then its usually a sure thing that you will derive benefit from.

I do however see a lot of "conferences" organised by event organisers which just seem to be like having a conference just to have a conference (if that makes sense). Normally these are generic IT conferences.

I know an ex-colleague who gets approached to speak at these types of conferences and usually the agenda is written by the conference organisers and then they go off and find speakers.

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  Reply # 840296 20-Jun-2013 14:26
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Don't forget lost revenue/customer chargeable time. Maybe not a direct cost but may be a factor all the same.




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  Reply # 840307 20-Jun-2013 14:48
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Yes, thanks - forgot that one. Chargeable time lost is very important to factor in as well.




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  Reply # 840311 20-Jun-2013 14:53
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Would ability to network with potential clients be a factor to consider?

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  Reply # 840315 20-Jun-2013 14:55
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I'm self-employed as well. The only conference I've attended since doing that is Codemania. It is cheap enough that I can justify the expense, and I enjoy the opportunity to network with fellow software developers (even if I am usually the only Delphi developer there :-)).

I would love to attend TechED one year, as I think the actual technical meat there would be more beneficial to me, but the price is too high for me to be able to justify it.



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  Reply # 840414 20-Jun-2013 16:47
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The costs are $2100 + GST + accommodation + travel (three hours total) + 3 days lost income... so when you add all that up it's quite an expense (for our small business at least) ... 

The delegates / attendees will be my in/direct competitors - not potential clients.

This isn't a conference I'd normally consider attending but am only doing so because we've recently secured a client in this sector and thought it'd benefit him indirectly by adding to our industry knowledge of his niche (if that makes sense).

I'd like to think that we're 'wowing' him already and therefore he'd have no hesitation in recommending us to others without us needing to attend this.

I really appreciate everyone's feedback and input.  Thanks!



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  Reply # 840446 20-Jun-2013 17:24
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Can't say I did, but they were mostly hardware supplier ones, and involved travel quite some distance.

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