• Marcus John Henry Brown

Konfer8tion - rethinking conferences

+++ UPDATE +++

This post has been updated and the stream moved to April 1st from 10:00hrs CET. The Livestream will take place on my Twitter feed.

I was asked to take part in two digital events last week. Both happened because of the cancellation of the SXSW festival in Texas. The XPLR Media Bavaria event took place in ZOOM (in German) and here it is:

The German Innovation #couchbycouchwest interview has made its way to YouTube. Here it is:

I've been thinking about how festivals and conferences could evolve for a while now: two years ago I created a virtual format for my favourite Finnish client, a Livestreaming format that we built upon again this year. Then there are my performances: little conference hacks that place with the context of what an audience expects to see on a business conference stage. Yes, there have been lots of ideas and a bunch of good discussions with smart people about how to make conferences great again. We thought we had time to plan, produce and launch these ideas. Then the virus came and wiped out pretty much my entire business model. These are urgent times.

It seems like people are rushing to their webcams to create “digital events”. Speed, as always, is of the essence - panic fast and break things, etc. I'm watching what's happening and what's being created, and it worries me: the quality, the ideas, the production value - it all bothers me. I think we can do it better and I've decided to have a go.

Konfer8tion - rethinking conferences

So the conference business has been wiped out, and the entire event value chain is turning to the Internet in the hope of finding a business-saving model. Konfer8tion is a two-hour Livestream that explores what it would take to make a successful online event.

Here's my idea: Instead of writing a lengthy post about why I think everybody is approaching this the wrong way, I've decided to Livestream the creation of an entirely new business model for conferences and digital festivals. I'm calling it Konfer8tion, and it will be streamed in the way I think business conferences of the future can and should be produced. I'll be building and presenting a new model for conferences and events and you can watch me do it - live. When finished, the model will be open-source, and it can be used by anybody who wants to work with it. Konfer8tion will be produced and presented from my home office/studio. Here's what Konfer8tion will explore:

  1. What formats can we explore, remodel and steal from?

  2. How do you create and sustain an online audience without boring them half to death?

  3. What are the key, business-critical elements of a conference and is it at all possible to recreate them in a digital conference?

  4. What are the essential skills for the speaker of the future?

  5. What's the minimum viable technical setup for a digital-only conference before just looks like a shitty Skype call?

  6. What is the future of the audience?

  7. What can we now do that we couldn't do before?

  8. How the hell is anybody going to make any money out of any of this?

The Audience is King - be there and take part.

No conference would be complete without an audience, and I'm hoping as many people as possible will come and watch as bandwidth will allow. It's completely free, and you can watch it on YouTube. Konfer8tion will take place on April 1st, from 10:30 am CET and continue until we all get bored with it. It will take place on my Twitter thing. The hashtag is #konfer8tion. Go over there now, and follow me, if you fancy it.

I'm hoping that you will come, watch and participate.

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