It’s a major step for both of us. I’ve been organizing events in various forms for the last dozen years, and started doing it more seriously three years ago, when Future Exploration Network launched the Future of Media Summit. Since then Future Exploration Network has organized the Future of Media Summit annually – which is a major production since it’s run simultaneously in Sydney and San Francisco – and we’ve also set up and run for the last two years both Enterprise 2.0 Executive Forum and Web 2.0 in Australia.
I have loved creating these events. Conferences are a true manifestation of networked business, bringing together people in one place to share ideas and meet, as well as disseminating content out to a far broader audience around the world. Done well, they can create massive value. However creating events has taken a large share of my time and energy over these last years, slowing down my book writing and ability to launch other ventures. Establishing a company dedicated to building an events business frees me up to spend more time on other things, while increasing momentum on what we can do with events. We now will be able to do justice to the many, many opportunities in this space.
I first met Beth when she was working for Saxton’s Speakers Bureau shortly after having arrived in Australia, when she engaged me as a speaker for her clients. Since then I have seen her do a fantastic job at launching and running the highly successful ad:tech business in Australia. At the inaugural Sydney event in 2007 I chaired the keynote panel and also a blogging panel, and afterwards wrote, “Ad:tech is lifting the bar for this kind of event in Australia.” There is no question in my mind that Beth is one of the top people in events in Australia, and I am privileged to work with her on this venture. As CEO she will drive its success.
I have written extensively for many years on how the traditional events industry is broken and the potential for new ways of connecting ideas and people. Most recently an article in News.com.au titled Networking Trend: The ‘Unconference’ captured some of my thoughts on the topic.
Beth and I both believe that there is a massive opportunity here. The events industry has always had massive oversupply, most of it of poorly run events. This is definitely going to be a challenging year for the industry, with both sponsorship and delegate budgets severely constrained. There is much new activity and competition, much of it from very cheap or even free events. However there is undoubtedly enormous scope to create massive value for attendees, sponsors, and industries. We are aiming to create the future of events, as we wrote in our launch press release. We hope to catch up with you on the way!