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Jun112012

Preparing the "Future of..." Conferences for the Excellence Economy

 

I was struck by something Jason Calacanis said at Future Insights Live. When discussing why he converted Mahalo from a human-powered search company to a tutorial for-pay apps company, he said the barrier to entry in many kinds of business is so low that you have to be excellent in order to thrive. We are now living, he said, in the excellence economy. 

The excellence economy is one in which there are 125 different task management apps in the iOS app store, and one or two of them will own 90-95% of the market. I made those numbers up, but that's the general idea. The way to separate your product from the preponderance of competitors is by moving from good to great -- from a star rating of mostly 3's or 4's to nearly all 4's and 5's. 

This applies very much to technology and design conferences. There are many out there, and more all the time. 

This week, the entire Future Insights team (minus Tash who is on holiday somehwere more exciting) will be together in Boston for a full week of meetings, discussions, planning, and probably boozing, to answer one question: 

How can we thrive in the excellence economy? 

How can our events (and this site, for that matter) deliver such high value to our customers that they DEMAND their friends and colleagues join them next year? What are the elements that separate a good conference from a great conference? What have we ignored in the past but should deliver in the future? How should we measure our success going forward? 

The good news is we're not starting from scratch. The web design and development events founded by Ryan Carson have grown into some of the most renowned and respected events in the world, and we already regularly review content to try to ensure we're not missing anything. We have even started to measure success via on-site conference evaluations and other means. (Future Insights live scored a 98% approval rating, meaning 98% of you said you would recommend the event to a colleague or friend.)

But that doesn't mean we're there yet. We plan to get better every conference, every year. And it starts this week. 

If you have ever attended one of our events and have some suggestions for us to consider, please let us know in the comments. We're open to suggestions in all areas, from content to speakers to location to on-site experiences or anything else you can think of. 

We'll keep updating you on this site to let you know how it's going. 

Thank you. 

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