Big conferences are dead…

E3 (the big game conference) is dead. Great analysis.

The truth is you gotta look deeper than that. Look at how you heard about when I quit Microsoft. I talked to 15 people. At a freaking blogger conference which cost almost nothing to put on. And it got, according to one PR guy I know, 50 million media impressions.

So, why does anyone need to go to a big conference to hear the news again? Simple: you don’t. It’s not worth doing.

Not when a CEO can write a blog, get more people to visit it in 36 hours than would probably visit his booth at the Detroit Auto Show.

How do you get news out? Invite a blogger over for lunch. It doesn’t matter who the blogger is. If the news is interesting it’ll spread and spread fast.

I wonder how long CES will survive?

Comments

  1. Because we all know that a blog from a CEO is much more compelling than actually getting to play the games or see the new hardware in person. Soon, the internet will be embeded into our brains and speeches from CEOs will be downloaded into our brains at night while we sleep.

  2. Because we all know that a blog from a CEO is much more compelling than actually getting to play the games or see the new hardware in person. Soon, the internet will be embeded into our brains and speeches from CEOs will be downloaded into our brains at night while we sleep.

  3. Yeah, and how many people actually could afford to go to E3? Only a hundred thousand or so out of six billion on the planet. What, you elitist?

    The people I keep running into these things are other journalists and bloggers anyway. So we’ll have to go visit Sony’s offices now to get the hype on PlayStation3. Boohoo. I won’t miss the 2-hour taxi lines, that’s for sure!

  4. Yeah, and how many people actually could afford to go to E3? Only a hundred thousand or so out of six billion on the planet. What, you elitist?

    The people I keep running into these things are other journalists and bloggers anyway. So we’ll have to go visit Sony’s offices now to get the hype on PlayStation3. Boohoo. I won’t miss the 2-hour taxi lines, that’s for sure!

  5. Example (making the quote up)

    “The wii is great. It’s lots of fun to play.”

    Wow, that Nintendo exec sure did convince me. I’m glad I don’t have to find out for myself if it’s true or not.

    That’s why I like E3 like it is, because you can go and demo the new games and hardware for yourself. You know, objectively, not what some CEO tells you. And if I couldn’t go, I trust a non-biased company like GameSpot to report back to me their honest thoughts on the games/hardware, and give me lots of videos showing me how it works.

  6. Example (making the quote up)

    “The wii is great. It’s lots of fun to play.”

    Wow, that Nintendo exec sure did convince me. I’m glad I don’t have to find out for myself if it’s true or not.

    That’s why I like E3 like it is, because you can go and demo the new games and hardware for yourself. You know, objectively, not what some CEO tells you. And if I couldn’t go, I trust a non-biased company like GameSpot to report back to me their honest thoughts on the games/hardware, and give me lots of videos showing me how it works.

  7. Are you saying you think big tech conferences are dead or all big conferences are dead.

    I’m thinking that in the acedemic world, conferences have traditionally been the place to present important papers and get the word out about the latest advances in the field. Do you see this changing as people move to the web (and open access journals) for information on advances in science?

    Chris

  8. The key point is number 8: the high cost. Large-scale exhibitions only make sense if they’re a true overview of the industry they’re about, which means that small companies must be able to afford to exhibit. In the case of E3 (like Macworld NYC), that’s no longer the case. When you’re being charge $1000 for a week’s worth of ropey WiFi connectivity to your iny booth, you need do a LOT of business on the back of it to make ROI. And if it’s costing a tiny booth-company a lot, you can imagine how much it’s costing a Sony, Adobe or Microsoft.

    ROI on small events is both easier to manage and easier to measure.

  9. Are you saying you think big tech conferences are dead or all big conferences are dead.

    I’m thinking that in the acedemic world, conferences have traditionally been the place to present important papers and get the word out about the latest advances in the field. Do you see this changing as people move to the web (and open access journals) for information on advances in science?

    Chris

  10. The key point is number 8: the high cost. Large-scale exhibitions only make sense if they’re a true overview of the industry they’re about, which means that small companies must be able to afford to exhibit. In the case of E3 (like Macworld NYC), that’s no longer the case. When you’re being charge $1000 for a week’s worth of ropey WiFi connectivity to your iny booth, you need do a LOT of business on the back of it to make ROI. And if it’s costing a tiny booth-company a lot, you can imagine how much it’s costing a Sony, Adobe or Microsoft.

    ROI on small events is both easier to manage and easier to measure.

  11. OH, and there’s just a natural business cycle at work here. The big events become too expensive (for customers and companies alike), people decamp to smaller, cheaper events. These become more popular, and grow larger… which makes them more expensive… and so on.

  12. OH, and there’s just a natural business cycle at work here. The big events become too expensive (for customers and companies alike), people decamp to smaller, cheaper events. These become more popular, and grow larger… which makes them more expensive… and so on.

  13. Big media conferences are mere excess in times of plenty, the Aeron chairs, if you will. It makes no sense supporting an “industry” when you can support thyself. I am surprised it took them this long.

    And yes, blogs did play a part, yes, but not a starring role, many other factors. It’s all complex, as even that analysis doesn’t go far enough, it didn’t even touch on next gen economic troubles…

    What happened? Commodization of the industry, the Internet (blogs and other forms of wide and immediate news distribution), the oligarchy nature of the games industry (if a few cold feet, it all implodes), smaller publisher marketing events, the super high costs of attending and the labor union serious added “taxes”, the sorry state of the games market and the next gen troubles (PS3 in no man’s land, with development issues galore, and the 360 barely breathing mode, with high cost games), the massive marketing monies and effort sapping every ounce of energy, energy that could be more strategically applied. And so on and so forth.

    CES (and NAB) be more a trade and sales event, over a media event, so they will be more insulated, people will always show up to sell off to buyers. But even that’s not a given, once CE and Broadcast moves more into commodity.

  14. Big media conferences are mere excess in times of plenty, the Aeron chairs, if you will. It makes no sense supporting an “industry” when you can support thyself. I am surprised it took them this long.

    And yes, blogs did play a part, yes, but not a starring role, many other factors. It’s all complex, as even that analysis doesn’t go far enough, it didn’t even touch on next gen economic troubles…

    What happened? Commodization of the industry, the Internet (blogs and other forms of wide and immediate news distribution), the oligarchy nature of the games industry (if a few cold feet, it all implodes), smaller publisher marketing events, the super high costs of attending and the labor union serious added “taxes”, the sorry state of the games market and the next gen troubles (PS3 in no man’s land, with development issues galore, and the 360 barely breathing mode, with high cost games), the massive marketing monies and effort sapping every ounce of energy, energy that could be more strategically applied. And so on and so forth.

    CES (and NAB) be more a trade and sales event, over a media event, so they will be more insulated, people will always show up to sell off to buyers. But even that’s not a given, once CE and Broadcast moves more into commodity.

  15. Or have yourself an UnConference. That’s what we’re trying with PodCamp Boston (http://www.podcamp.org) You’re invited, as is everyone who wants to come play with podcasting, blogging, new media, etc. No keynotes, no booth babes, no hideously expensive registration fees. Just a bunch of folks who want to learn as much as they can in a weekend.

  16. Or have yourself an UnConference. That’s what we’re trying with PodCamp Boston (http://www.podcamp.org) You’re invited, as is everyone who wants to come play with podcasting, blogging, new media, etc. No keynotes, no booth babes, no hideously expensive registration fees. Just a bunch of folks who want to learn as much as they can in a weekend.

  17. Hey STOP!! Stop this talk. The more you guys go on about stopping big conferences, the more you will influence my boss to stop paying me to go which impacts on the economy. Hotels will close, airlines will lose revenues and so will conference centres close down.

    But mostly, having no conferences will prevent me from having realtime conversations with people who I can’t get an email or blog response from because you are all too busy with your A, B or C lister rankings!

    Stop with the doomspeak please! I want conferences to help me learn stuff and interact with humans.

  18. Hey STOP!! Stop this talk. The more you guys go on about stopping big conferences, the more you will influence my boss to stop paying me to go which impacts on the economy. Hotels will close, airlines will lose revenues and so will conference centres close down.

    But mostly, having no conferences will prevent me from having realtime conversations with people who I can’t get an email or blog response from because you are all too busy with your A, B or C lister rankings!

    Stop with the doomspeak please! I want conferences to help me learn stuff and interact with humans.

  19. Sigh..

    No Robert, big conferences are certainly *not* dead. Macworld 2006′s rather solid growth from 2005 showed that. What are having problems are conferences that are nothing more than exhibition floors and booth babes. Take a look at the conference schedule for a Macworld some time. There’s a *ton* of content there that you most certainly are NOT going to get in a blog, not even yours, unless you’ve figured out a way to replicate a two – day hands on lab in a blog. Or the interactivity of of a 7 hour workshop.

    Maybe you’re just going to the wrong conferences. Try going to a Macworld a tad earlier than 3-4 hours before it closes on the last day, and see what I mean.

  20. Sigh..

    No Robert, big conferences are certainly *not* dead. Macworld 2006′s rather solid growth from 2005 showed that. What are having problems are conferences that are nothing more than exhibition floors and booth babes. Take a look at the conference schedule for a Macworld some time. There’s a *ton* of content there that you most certainly are NOT going to get in a blog, not even yours, unless you’ve figured out a way to replicate a two – day hands on lab in a blog. Or the interactivity of of a 7 hour workshop.

    Maybe you’re just going to the wrong conferences. Try going to a Macworld a tad earlier than 3-4 hours before it closes on the last day, and see what I mean.

  21. I don’t know that I agree, there is a drastic difference between “Big Conferences” and “Big Media Conferences”. Chris Paton mentioned that academic conferences are very different then the likes of E3, as are some of the other big conferences that are put on by vendors like Microsoft. Yes those are also a place full of releases and media; however, they usefulness is in both the media area and the teaching area.

  22. I don’t know that I agree, there is a drastic difference between “Big Conferences” and “Big Media Conferences”. Chris Paton mentioned that academic conferences are very different then the likes of E3, as are some of the other big conferences that are put on by vendors like Microsoft. Yes those are also a place full of releases and media; however, they usefulness is in both the media area and the teaching area.

  23. I think you’re right that conferences are dead — in general — for information groking.

    Most of the O’Reilly conferences I’ve been to, for example, have been good + useful — but only because of the contacts I’ve made and the discussions I’ve had, and not because of the conference sessions.

    But that’s the point in itself — where do we build up the face-to-face contacts? You can subscribe to all the social networks around but there is still something about ‘touching flesh’ with people to create relationships.

    I’m a big fan of the BarCamp/UnConference movement but again, it’s still got a massive social aspect.

    What I wonder is what happens if you hold a conferenc but minus the speakers (be they scheduled or unscheduled/barcamp-esque). You have a room full of people eager to meet eachother.

    All you need to do is create an environment that promotes mingling and networking — something to break the ice and help people make the right contacts.

    That’s not just an unConference it’s a non-conference.

  24. I think you’re right that conferences are dead — in general — for information groking.

    Most of the O’Reilly conferences I’ve been to, for example, have been good + useful — but only because of the contacts I’ve made and the discussions I’ve had, and not because of the conference sessions.

    But that’s the point in itself — where do we build up the face-to-face contacts? You can subscribe to all the social networks around but there is still something about ‘touching flesh’ with people to create relationships.

    I’m a big fan of the BarCamp/UnConference movement but again, it’s still got a massive social aspect.

    What I wonder is what happens if you hold a conferenc but minus the speakers (be they scheduled or unscheduled/barcamp-esque). You have a room full of people eager to meet eachother.

    All you need to do is create an environment that promotes mingling and networking — something to break the ice and help people make the right contacts.

    That’s not just an unConference it’s a non-conference.

  25. I am sorry to see it go! I went in 2003 and loved every second of it. Between the girls and the shows it was something out of geek wonderland. I didn’t go this year but to saw the video of the events on their website. It looked great!

    PC Expo in New York City is the one that is so dead you can see headstones. That was an Expo that used all of Jacob Javits convention center at its height, now is reduced to a back room near the food stand.

    How the mighty have fallen.

    Timothy Graf
    http://internetnewsdaily.wordpress.com/
    http://www.grafweb.com
    http://www.grafwebnetworks.com

  26. I am sorry to see it go! I went in 2003 and loved every second of it. Between the girls and the shows it was something out of geek wonderland. I didn’t go this year but to saw the video of the events on their website. It looked great!

    PC Expo in New York City is the one that is so dead you can see headstones. That was an Expo that used all of Jacob Javits convention center at its height, now is reduced to a back room near the food stand.

    How the mighty have fallen.

    Timothy Graf
    http://internetnewsdaily.wordpress.com/
    http://www.grafweb.com
    http://www.grafwebnetworks.com

  27. If conferences are dead, why did you go to BlogHer?

    Even these so-called unconferences (e.g. BlogOrlando) still require people to get together and discuss their issues face to face.

    E3 got out of control. So did COMDEX years ago. Rather than remaining as business conferences, they became short-term amusement parks. Cute, but was that really good for business?

    If conferences are truly dead, someone better tell the convention center folks here in Orlando. They still want to expand. Maybe they know something about the market for conferences.

  28. If conferences are dead, why did you go to BlogHer?

    Even these so-called unconferences (e.g. BlogOrlando) still require people to get together and discuss their issues face to face.

    E3 got out of control. So did COMDEX years ago. Rather than remaining as business conferences, they became short-term amusement parks. Cute, but was that really good for business?

    If conferences are truly dead, someone better tell the convention center folks here in Orlando. They still want to expand. Maybe they know something about the market for conferences.

  29. I think the point is that ‘big’ conferences are dead. Robert is saying that at a smaller event he was able to communicate with a large audience by talking to a small group of easy-to-reach influencers. It’s something to think about. At a large event the messages of smaller players might get lost…and its in the smaller players that you’ll find true innovation. It’s still worth meeting others in your space, but who wants to deal with the hassle of breaking through all the noise?

  30. I think the point is that ‘big’ conferences are dead. Robert is saying that at a smaller event he was able to communicate with a large audience by talking to a small group of easy-to-reach influencers. It’s something to think about. At a large event the messages of smaller players might get lost…and its in the smaller players that you’ll find true innovation. It’s still worth meeting others in your space, but who wants to deal with the hassle of breaking through all the noise?

  31. Here’s the oddity. There are over one million courses provided entirely on-line by thousands of fine universities. And there are a gazillion face-to-face conferences and a relative few that are held on line.

    We’ve tried to change that by leading by example. Every October we hold Global Learn Day, a round the world “voyage” that features exceptional people from 24 time zones. You can participate on the Net. You can listen on several streams. You can listen on the phone. And, in some places you can listen on an ordinary radio. And, by way of the Long Tail, and participating community radio stations we think more than a million people will hear segments of our event. Help from readers here would be appreciated.

  32. Here’s the oddity. There are over one million courses provided entirely on-line by thousands of fine universities. And there are a gazillion face-to-face conferences and a relative few that are held on line.

    We’ve tried to change that by leading by example. Every October we hold Global Learn Day, a round the world “voyage” that features exceptional people from 24 time zones. You can participate on the Net. You can listen on several streams. You can listen on the phone. And, in some places you can listen on an ordinary radio. And, by way of the Long Tail, and participating community radio stations we think more than a million people will hear segments of our event. Help from readers here would be appreciated.

  33. John: That’s not why these conferences are held. They are held because there is an exhibition attached, and it’s an opportunity for face to face contact with possible customers, clients, business partners. That’s all, and all of them being in one place is very convenient and cost effective.

    Conferences are only an added value. Should they not be held, no big loss in my opinion.

  34. John: That’s not why these conferences are held. They are held because there is an exhibition attached, and it’s an opportunity for face to face contact with possible customers, clients, business partners. That’s all, and all of them being in one place is very convenient and cost effective.

    Conferences are only an added value. Should they not be held, no big loss in my opinion.

  35. E3 had really worn out its welcome a few years ago when the big media outlets started getting the stories early, embargoed until the start of the show. Most of the major publishers would hold a press conference or “gamer’s day” earlier in the week, or even the week before. Some the month before. I started to notice that I was only going to E3 for face-time with publishers and interviews, because I’d seen all of the games already, and all the news was already on our website.

    As for the games, most of them are so early that they shouldn’t really be shown at all, or so late in the process that you’re better off waiting for a reviewable disc. For the privledge of playing unfinished code, something that in most cases won’t even resemble the finished product, you get to stand in line for HOURS … when I could have just had them send me the game in the mail. There was nothing about the trade show atmosphere that benefitted anyone. E3 was only good for creating a media spectacle, and in the last couple of years, it was even failing in that regard.

    The one and only exception is the five or six year window when new hardware is released. That alone would make E3 worth going to, but those press conferences and play-fests could really happen anywhere, and on a publisher’s terms.

    E3′s demise is a welcome one. It will certainly make the lives of games “journalists” a lot easier.

    I’ve been thinking … I wonder what would happen if publishers took their E3 budgets and spent them by giving away copies of their games to bloggers to write about …

  36. E3 had really worn out its welcome a few years ago when the big media outlets started getting the stories early, embargoed until the start of the show. Most of the major publishers would hold a press conference or “gamer’s day” earlier in the week, or even the week before. Some the month before. I started to notice that I was only going to E3 for face-time with publishers and interviews, because I’d seen all of the games already, and all the news was already on our website.

    As for the games, most of them are so early that they shouldn’t really be shown at all, or so late in the process that you’re better off waiting for a reviewable disc. For the privledge of playing unfinished code, something that in most cases won’t even resemble the finished product, you get to stand in line for HOURS … when I could have just had them send me the game in the mail. There was nothing about the trade show atmosphere that benefitted anyone. E3 was only good for creating a media spectacle, and in the last couple of years, it was even failing in that regard.

    The one and only exception is the five or six year window when new hardware is released. That alone would make E3 worth going to, but those press conferences and play-fests could really happen anywhere, and on a publisher’s terms.

    E3′s demise is a welcome one. It will certainly make the lives of games “journalists” a lot easier.

    I’ve been thinking … I wonder what would happen if publishers took their E3 budgets and spent them by giving away copies of their games to bloggers to write about …

  37. Robert: Your post and comment shows a critical lack of understanding of E3 and the games industry. Blogs had nothing to do with this change in E3. Gaming coverage IS my industry and blogs are put to shame by the more traditional media outlets’ sites such as 1up.com. No blog can compete with 100s of hours of video, interviews with the major players in the industry, exclusive hands-on coverage with games. Once a blog gets even remotely close to that territory, it isn’t a blog any more.

    That analysis you link to is pretty good, but it’s goal is to get an even 10 for the story. The most important points are these:

    1) EA, Nintendo, Sony, and Microsoft wanted to pull out. EA was the first to be vocal about it a couple years ago. The point of E3 is not to have Wal-Mart employees dicking around in their booths. They want to reach press and industry partners at E3 and each year that became more difficult and more expensive.

    2) Expense is the second big one but is tied into every other point. The information is mostly not public, but with enough googling you can probably find the cost per square foot at E3 in the major halls. It’s ridiculous and that’s the cost before actually paying for the elaborate booths.

    3) The E3 away from E3. This isn’t exactly how the author put it, but it’s the best way to say it. It’s a fact that for the past few years the most attention (from consumers and press alike) was paid to the pre-E3 press events from Nintendo, Microsoft, and Sony. This is largely because they are now covered and telecast live over the internet. And upon completion of each one, a plethora of media for all the newest games is available in online press kits.

    Those are the big ones, the very large straws the broke the camel’s back. Big shows are not passe. There’s a decline in big trade-only industry shows, but it’s alongside a spike in consumer shows. E3 is diminishing, but PAX is getting bigger and similar shows have popped in everywhere from NYC to cities in Europe. Look at anime, a smaller industry than gaming. They have conventions all over the place and companies pay to set up camp there and talk to their customers. I hardly see a decline in big events, just a decline in ones that aren’t run well.

  38. Robert: Your post and comment shows a critical lack of understanding of E3 and the games industry. Blogs had nothing to do with this change in E3. Gaming coverage IS my industry and blogs are put to shame by the more traditional media outlets’ sites such as 1up.com. No blog can compete with 100s of hours of video, interviews with the major players in the industry, exclusive hands-on coverage with games. Once a blog gets even remotely close to that territory, it isn’t a blog any more.

    That analysis you link to is pretty good, but it’s goal is to get an even 10 for the story. The most important points are these:

    1) EA, Nintendo, Sony, and Microsoft wanted to pull out. EA was the first to be vocal about it a couple years ago. The point of E3 is not to have Wal-Mart employees dicking around in their booths. They want to reach press and industry partners at E3 and each year that became more difficult and more expensive.

    2) Expense is the second big one but is tied into every other point. The information is mostly not public, but with enough googling you can probably find the cost per square foot at E3 in the major halls. It’s ridiculous and that’s the cost before actually paying for the elaborate booths.

    3) The E3 away from E3. This isn’t exactly how the author put it, but it’s the best way to say it. It’s a fact that for the past few years the most attention (from consumers and press alike) was paid to the pre-E3 press events from Nintendo, Microsoft, and Sony. This is largely because they are now covered and telecast live over the internet. And upon completion of each one, a plethora of media for all the newest games is available in online press kits.

    Those are the big ones, the very large straws the broke the camel’s back. Big shows are not passe. There’s a decline in big trade-only industry shows, but it’s alongside a spike in consumer shows. E3 is diminishing, but PAX is getting bigger and similar shows have popped in everywhere from NYC to cities in Europe. Look at anime, a smaller industry than gaming. They have conventions all over the place and companies pay to set up camp there and talk to their customers. I hardly see a decline in big events, just a decline in ones that aren’t run well.

  39. Bring out ya dead!

    I’m not dead yet.
    Get back here. I’ll chew off your knee caps.
    Scoble thinks big conferences are dead. Nope. He’s wrong. He’s a step too far from reality on this one. Too much Second Life and not enough of the first.
    He&#82…

  40. Conferences might be dead, or dying, but there is a thirst among people to get together offline, in smaller groups. It’s in the offline face-to-face experiences that conversations become more real and personal. I much prefer meeting people than engaging in email conversations or blog conversations.

  41. Conferences might be dead, or dying, but there is a thirst among people to get together offline, in smaller groups. It’s in the offline face-to-face experiences that conversations become more real and personal. I much prefer meeting people than engaging in email conversations or blog conversations.

  42. Remember people, this is the same Scoble who didn’t have a MS bias in his posts when he worked there.

    The same one who touted PDC ’03 as a “must attend” to stay current. Touted PDC ’05 pretty much too.

    As he should – he was one of the coordinators/evangelists for it at the time.

    And he’s the same person who now is employed by a blogging startup.

    No, no bias at all.

  43. Remember people, this is the same Scoble who didn’t have a MS bias in his posts when he worked there.

    The same one who touted PDC ’03 as a “must attend” to stay current. Touted PDC ’05 pretty much too.

    As he should – he was one of the coordinators/evangelists for it at the time.

    And he’s the same person who now is employed by a blogging startup.

    No, no bias at all.

  44. You can listen remotely all day. But that’s still not going to give you the same interaction as being in the room.

    A conference that’s big just for big’s sake *is* ridiculous. That’s ego-stroking.

    A conference that grows because more people want to attend, teach and exhibit there every year becomes big for the right reason: Demand. The part that so many fail at is meeting that demand in a useful function.

    The problem right now is, most conferences are locationally biased with no valid reason whatsoever, and miss out on a lot of chances for a different attendee audience because of it.

  45. Robert, E3 was not the best example to draw your conclusion. You are using the same type of analysis global warming fanatics use,

    Call me when TechEd, Lotusphere, OracleWorld, MacWorld, LinuxWorld, Cebit are canceled. Then you may START to have some data on which to draw a conclusion.

    Also,I rather doubt the CEO you use in your example would want to advocate canceling the Detroit Auto Show, one of THE major trade shows for the auto industry. This example also shows your complete lack of understanding of the trade show industry in general and the auto industry specificially. The “influencers” as you are wont to call them, DON’T frequent Lutz’s blog. They are not going to go there then write about the next GM concept car. My car porn magazines rarely make mention of Lutz’s blog, they have PLENTY of coverage of the Auto Shows.

    You would do well to stop drawing such overarching conclusions based on what you see in your insulated world.

  46. Robert, E3 was not the best example to draw your conclusion. You are using the same type of analysis global warming fanatics use,

    Call me when TechEd, Lotusphere, OracleWorld, MacWorld, LinuxWorld, Cebit are canceled. Then you may START to have some data on which to draw a conclusion.

    Also,I rather doubt the CEO you use in your example would want to advocate canceling the Detroit Auto Show, one of THE major trade shows for the auto industry. This example also shows your complete lack of understanding of the trade show industry in general and the auto industry specificially. The “influencers” as you are wont to call them, DON’T frequent Lutz’s blog. They are not going to go there then write about the next GM concept car. My car porn magazines rarely make mention of Lutz’s blog, they have PLENTY of coverage of the Auto Shows.

    You would do well to stop drawing such overarching conclusions based on what you see in your insulated world.

  47. You can listen remotely all day. But that’s still not going to give you the same interaction as being in the room.

    A conference that’s big just for big’s sake *is* ridiculous. That’s ego-stroking.

    A conference that grows because more people want to attend, teach and exhibit there every year becomes big for the right reason: Demand. The part that so many fail at is meeting that demand in a useful function.

    The problem right now is, most conferences are locationally biased with no valid reason whatsoever, and miss out on a lot of chances for a different attendee audience because of it.

  48. Big conferences are not dead and never will be as long as people get trips to Orlando or Las Vegas paid by their companies.

  49. Big conferences are not dead and never will be as long as people get trips to Orlando or Las Vegas paid by their companies.

  50. “So, why does anyone need to go to a big conference to hear the news again? Simple: you don’t. It’s not worth doing.”

    It’s not that I disagree with the assertion that big conferences are no longer the place to hear the news. It’s the black and white nature of the sentiment that concerns me. As other comments have pointed out, there are still reasons to attend conferences big and small, not the least of which is, uh, actually talking to people with whom you have something in common. Of course, every conference could be better. So could every press release, blog post, podcast and vlog.

    Just because something is not perfect doesn’t mean it has NO value. OK, maybe E3′s time has come, but why does that have to mean the death of all big conferences? Likewise, citizen journalism is remarkably compelling, but I’m not giving up my subscription to the Wall Street Journal any time soon.

    People – and businesses – have multiple objectives they’re trying to meet and there’s room (actually, need) for a variety of means of achieving them.

  51. “So, why does anyone need to go to a big conference to hear the news again? Simple: you don’t. It’s not worth doing.”

    It’s not that I disagree with the assertion that big conferences are no longer the place to hear the news. It’s the black and white nature of the sentiment that concerns me. As other comments have pointed out, there are still reasons to attend conferences big and small, not the least of which is, uh, actually talking to people with whom you have something in common. Of course, every conference could be better. So could every press release, blog post, podcast and vlog.

    Just because something is not perfect doesn’t mean it has NO value. OK, maybe E3′s time has come, but why does that have to mean the death of all big conferences? Likewise, citizen journalism is remarkably compelling, but I’m not giving up my subscription to the Wall Street Journal any time soon.

    People – and businesses – have multiple objectives they’re trying to meet and there’s room (actually, need) for a variety of means of achieving them.

  52. LayZ: when I’m talking about “big” conferences I mean the CES or E3 style in Vegas where you have to wait in taxi lines for two hours just to get to your hotel.

  53. LayZ: when I’m talking about “big” conferences I mean the CES or E3 style in Vegas where you have to wait in taxi lines for two hours just to get to your hotel.

  54. When the NAB conference dies, I’ll believe it.

    My thoughts exactly. Big conferences aren’t dead. Big *Media* types of Conferences are. But Trade, Academic, Publishing, Broadcasting, Medical and Government conferences are all big, and getting bigger.

    E3 is a whole thing unto itself, I dunno if it’s any trend indicator, other than the fact that show-offish Amusement Parkish Conference spectacles are a dying breed.

    Ain’t no such thing as a Long Tail, it’s all a random blipping spectrum beat chart. Big, small, big, non, big, dead big, small, big, big, dead small, non, small, big.

  55. When the NAB conference dies, I’ll believe it.

    My thoughts exactly. Big conferences aren’t dead. Big *Media* types of Conferences are. But Trade, Academic, Publishing, Broadcasting, Medical and Government conferences are all big, and getting bigger.

    E3 is a whole thing unto itself, I dunno if it’s any trend indicator, other than the fact that show-offish Amusement Parkish Conference spectacles are a dying breed.

    Ain’t no such thing as a Long Tail, it’s all a random blipping spectrum beat chart. Big, small, big, non, big, dead big, small, big, big, dead small, non, small, big.

  56. Not wanting to comment on the particulars of E3 (other than it’s unbearably loud and I’ll avoid it when I can, thank you. Can you tell I’m not a gamer?), but it just now strikes me that what you say about making big things happen in a small way (vloggercon announcement, ceo blog, etc.) is similar to why Apple decided to go retail: they could put on the macworld-style trade shows on in storefronts. On a small scale, things trickle down, sideways, and around.

    So, uh, yeah, small is good. Small gets amplified pretty easily.

  57. Not wanting to comment on the particulars of E3 (other than it’s unbearably loud and I’ll avoid it when I can, thank you. Can you tell I’m not a gamer?), but it just now strikes me that what you say about making big things happen in a small way (vloggercon announcement, ceo blog, etc.) is similar to why Apple decided to go retail: they could put on the macworld-style trade shows on in storefronts. On a small scale, things trickle down, sideways, and around.

    So, uh, yeah, small is good. Small gets amplified pretty easily.

  58. @34. Doofus! No matter WHEN you go to Vegas (except maybe the middle of summer) you always have to wait a long time for a cab,

    So,are you amending your postion to be: “Big conference’s in Vegas are dead”? Because frankly, I don’t see your reply as being very convincing.

  59. @34. Doofus! No matter WHEN you go to Vegas (except maybe the middle of summer) you always have to wait a long time for a cab,

    So,are you amending your postion to be: “Big conference’s in Vegas are dead”? Because frankly, I don’t see your reply as being very convincing.

  60. add to that, ever been to the Detroit Auto Show and had to get a cab? So, cab wait times are your barometer for conferences being dead or alive?

  61. Can we sign you on as a speaker at Blog World Expo in the McCormick Center in Chicago where 150,000 bloggers are expected to gather in 2007 to see the latest widgets and whatnots?

  62. Can we sign you on as a speaker at Blog World Expo in the McCormick Center in Chicago where 150,000 bloggers are expected to gather in 2007 to see the latest widgets and whatnots?

  63. add to that, ever been to the Detroit Auto Show and had to get a cab? So, cab wait times are your barometer for conferences being dead or alive?

  64. ooohh – not to get between LayZ (@37) and Robert (@34), ;-) I have been to a few conferences in Vegas and have never had to wait for a cab for more than a minute … ;-)

    And to the general blog – no – big conferences will never die out – the blogs will only enhance the experience – not replace. Similar to bookstore and online store

    Dr Nazli

  65. ooohh – not to get between LayZ (@37) and Robert (@34), ;-) I have been to a few conferences in Vegas and have never had to wait for a cab for more than a minute … ;-)

    And to the general blog – no – big conferences will never die out – the blogs will only enhance the experience – not replace. Similar to bookstore and online store

    Dr Nazli

  66. Perhaps the problem is that we should stop calling CES and E3 conferences, because they’re not. E3 and CES are _expositions_. Conferences are about learning and two-way information exchange, and they will never go away … mostly because the face-time there is so valuable.

    Having a flashy booth and a big spectacle to try to get the attention of the guy with the camera walking by? Why bother? A blog gets you more mileage with less effort (and expense).

  67. Perhaps the problem is that we should stop calling CES and E3 conferences, because they’re not. E3 and CES are _expositions_. Conferences are about learning and two-way information exchange, and they will never go away … mostly because the face-time there is so valuable.

    Having a flashy booth and a big spectacle to try to get the attention of the guy with the camera walking by? Why bother? A blog gets you more mileage with less effort (and expense).

  68. John, get a clue dude.

    I’m talking about a specific thing here.

    Go and read my reports of my mom’s death on my blog and get a life. Can’t we talk about one part of the blog world at a time without getting freaking attacked?

  69. John, get a clue dude.

    I’m talking about a specific thing here.

    Go and read my reports of my mom’s death on my blog and get a life. Can’t we talk about one part of the blog world at a time without getting freaking attacked?

  70. Rob Stevens, you are correct in that E3 was primarily an exposition (it’s what one of the E’s stood for), but there also was a mini-conference being held at the same time. The first couple days would have a number of panels, presentations, and workshops that one could register for and attend.

    The normal industry pass wouldn’t gain access to these panels, and, even though media could get free vouchers, they never seemed to get much media exposure.

    I managed to attend a couple of them in 2005, and they seemed fairly interesting. They basically could be described as a poor-man’s GDC [and with more of a business/publisher focus].

  71. Rob Stevens, you are correct in that E3 was primarily an exposition (it’s what one of the E’s stood for), but there also was a mini-conference being held at the same time. The first couple days would have a number of panels, presentations, and workshops that one could register for and attend.

    The normal industry pass wouldn’t gain access to these panels, and, even though media could get free vouchers, they never seemed to get much media exposure.

    I managed to attend a couple of them in 2005, and they seemed fairly interesting. They basically could be described as a poor-man’s GDC [and with more of a business/publisher focus].

  72. I’m not sure if I’m the John you were telling me to get a life because I was merely making a comment about a post entitled “big conferences are dead” and expressing the opinion that blogging is much more than PR which is what having lunch with a blogger and getting the news out sounds like to me. I read the posts about your mother’s illness and death contemperaneously and I believe expressed my sympathy at the same time.

  73. I’m not sure if I’m the John you were telling me to get a life because I was merely making a comment about a post entitled “big conferences are dead” and expressing the opinion that blogging is much more than PR which is what having lunch with a blogger and getting the news out sounds like to me. I read the posts about your mother’s illness and death contemperaneously and I believe expressed my sympathy at the same time.

  74. Well, Dr. Nazli, when you stay at Binions I’m guessing the wait for cabs is pretty quick. ;-)

    The cab line at most hotels on the strip during a major conference in Vegas can be a bit lengthy. So, according to Scoble, this is why big conferences should be dead.

    As for blogs filling the gaps.. .what would Endgaget write about if they couldn’t cover CES? ;-)

    And if we go back through Roberts archives it seems he had a week long woody while attending CES. he couldn’t stop talking about it.

  75. Well, Dr. Nazli, when you stay at Binions I’m guessing the wait for cabs is pretty quick. ;-)

    The cab line at most hotels on the strip during a major conference in Vegas can be a bit lengthy. So, according to Scoble, this is why big conferences should be dead.

    As for blogs filling the gaps.. .what would Endgaget write about if they couldn’t cover CES? ;-)

    And if we go back through Roberts archives it seems he had a week long woody while attending CES. he couldn’t stop talking about it.

  76. CES is about going and SEEING and TOUCHING the coolest newest stuff before anyone else.

    And the rest “panel of experts” type of conferences were never really about the conferences per se- but about the personal interaction, the hang, the after parties – the social scene. blogs don’t displace that.

  77. CES is about going and SEEING and TOUCHING the coolest newest stuff before anyone else.

    And the rest “panel of experts” type of conferences were never really about the conferences per se- but about the personal interaction, the hang, the after parties – the social scene. blogs don’t displace that.

  78. Well the answer has to be virtual conferences, Second Life or something else. Turn up when you want, talk to the people you need to for 5 minutes then clear off.
    I never get to go to conferences. Too much paperwork in expenses and approvals.
    I do want to hook up with people, see whats going on, and some things still need you to be there. Like cars and houses and boats.
    Software? Not sure about that one apart from people getting an ego buzz presenting to 2000 people.

  79. Well the answer has to be virtual conferences, Second Life or something else. Turn up when you want, talk to the people you need to for 5 minutes then clear off.
    I never get to go to conferences. Too much paperwork in expenses and approvals.
    I do want to hook up with people, see whats going on, and some things still need you to be there. Like cars and houses and boats.
    Software? Not sure about that one apart from people getting an ego buzz presenting to 2000 people.

  80. Go and read my reports of my mom’s death on my blog and get a life. Can’t we talk about one part of the blog world at a time without getting freaking attacked?

    Robert, you’re still glorious. You troll for comments like a fiend, snark like hell to get them really going, then fire up the “Can’t we all just get along” lines.

    I still say you’re one of the most brilliantly ruthless marketers that ever lived, and Dvorak can’t even BEGIN to touch your mad l33t hit generation skillz, and you’re a better writer to boot.

    Machiavellian man, Machiavellian.

  81. Go and read my reports of my mom’s death on my blog and get a life. Can’t we talk about one part of the blog world at a time without getting freaking attacked?

    Robert, you’re still glorious. You troll for comments like a fiend, snark like hell to get them really going, then fire up the “Can’t we all just get along” lines.

    I still say you’re one of the most brilliantly ruthless marketers that ever lived, and Dvorak can’t even BEGIN to touch your mad l33t hit generation skillz, and you’re a better writer to boot.

    Machiavellian man, Machiavellian.

  82. I love conferences, luncheons, and award ceremonies. In fact, I’m going to at least 2 this month.

    It’s great to get away from your coffee-stained keyboard and actually connect with humanity.

    LayZ–your comments at #48 made me laugh out loud.
    I’d love to hear your comments on my July 31 post.

  83. I love conferences, luncheons, and award ceremonies. In fact, I’m going to at least 2 this month.

    It’s great to get away from your coffee-stained keyboard and actually connect with humanity.

    LayZ–your comments at #48 made me laugh out loud.
    I’d love to hear your comments on my July 31 post.

  84. Brooke,would welcome sharing my thougths, but I don’t see a way to post comments on your excellent blog.

  85. Brooke,would welcome sharing my thougths, but I don’t see a way to post comments on your excellent blog.

  86. I’d love to hear your comments on my July 31 post.

    In my best AOL dialect…oh oh me too. Me too.

  87. I’d love to hear your comments on my July 31 post.

    In my best AOL dialect…oh oh me too. Me too.

  88. Three issues I see, overinflated star power, the rise of the writer as show-runner, and the new media Laffy Taffy YouTubby kiddies. You can’t really mix these into one big casserole; they are but differing meals.

    Star bloated egos? Will always have that, it’s the fuel Wilshire runs on, just accelerated now that the biggie stars have productional studios. But if have great writing, move beyond the SAG top 1%, and to the rest of the 99%. Stars are not always the salvation, not at those prices.

    And ‘franchise mega-writer’ only really applies to TV, writers in Film are lucky to even get an invite to their own Premiere, and oft times banned from the set; studio buys the script, writer gets lost, Director gets credit. TV has moved beyond the dreadful episodic sitcomy, and into the mass drama and DVD Full Seasons; with TV you develop more of a real relationship, over the Hollywood one-night stands.

    But both are wholly separate issues from the shaky-cam YouTubers and vbloggers, no ‘franchise’ or ‘writers’ here. But this is an old one-note song, first they said blogs will replace journalism, citizen media will overcome the old creaky publishing stalwarts — now the switch is on Hollywood and Burbank, after buncha geeks tinker around with Digital Video Cameras. But endlessly rambling stick-microphone-in-face interview shows the best they have to offer, hence, forever blowing bubbles…

    Just because you can, and have the tools, still doesn’t mean anyone is listening or that it’s any good.

  89. Three issues I see, overinflated star power, the rise of the writer as show-runner, and the new media Laffy Taffy YouTubby kiddies. You can’t really mix these into one big casserole; they are but differing meals.

    Star bloated egos? Will always have that, it’s the fuel Wilshire runs on, just accelerated now that the biggie stars have productional studios. But if have great writing, move beyond the SAG top 1%, and to the rest of the 99%. Stars are not always the salvation, not at those prices.

    And ‘franchise mega-writer’ only really applies to TV, writers in Film are lucky to even get an invite to their own Premiere, and oft times banned from the set; studio buys the script, writer gets lost, Director gets credit. TV has moved beyond the dreadful episodic sitcomy, and into the mass drama and DVD Full Seasons; with TV you develop more of a real relationship, over the Hollywood one-night stands.

    But both are wholly separate issues from the shaky-cam YouTubers and vbloggers, no ‘franchise’ or ‘writers’ here. But this is an old one-note song, first they said blogs will replace journalism, citizen media will overcome the old creaky publishing stalwarts — now the switch is on Hollywood and Burbank, after buncha geeks tinker around with Digital Video Cameras. But endlessly rambling stick-microphone-in-face interview shows the best they have to offer, hence, forever blowing bubbles…

    Just because you can, and have the tools, still doesn’t mean anyone is listening or that it’s any good.

  90. Chris, we must be twin sons of different mothers.

    The only thing I would add is that I think it’s sad how much writers are not given credit. Everything starts with the writing, and the “farm system” will likely never realize that. Alas, it’s too bad the majority in Hollywood don’t realize that, either. There are shows that succeed almost by pure luck, that have good writing. Seinfeld being the best example. If NBC went purely on ratings it would have never made it on the fall schedule. Unfortunately, Arrested Development didn’t get the same committment. Far and away one of the best written shows in a long time. Thankfully for many writers, outlets like HBO and Showtime can take chances and give these talented folks room to work (“Sopranos”, “Entourage”…)

    The farm system will likely never get to that point. They are going for the quick win, and the companys that host them are simply going for the high number of ad click throughs. They will care little about the quality of the content posted, as long as people click the ads.

    Sorry, nothing snarky to add. Brooke, I’m likely as passionate as you are about the importance of writing in the entertainment industry. The difference is that you are much closer to it than I am. It all starts with the writing. The geeks don’t get that. They appear to think it starts with the technology.

  91. Chris, we must be twin sons of different mothers.

    The only thing I would add is that I think it’s sad how much writers are not given credit. Everything starts with the writing, and the “farm system” will likely never realize that. Alas, it’s too bad the majority in Hollywood don’t realize that, either. There are shows that succeed almost by pure luck, that have good writing. Seinfeld being the best example. If NBC went purely on ratings it would have never made it on the fall schedule. Unfortunately, Arrested Development didn’t get the same committment. Far and away one of the best written shows in a long time. Thankfully for many writers, outlets like HBO and Showtime can take chances and give these talented folks room to work (“Sopranos”, “Entourage”…)

    The farm system will likely never get to that point. They are going for the quick win, and the companys that host them are simply going for the high number of ad click throughs. They will care little about the quality of the content posted, as long as people click the ads.

    Sorry, nothing snarky to add. Brooke, I’m likely as passionate as you are about the importance of writing in the entertainment industry. The difference is that you are much closer to it than I am. It all starts with the writing. The geeks don’t get that. They appear to think it starts with the technology.

  92. LayZ/Chris,

    Thank you for your comments.

    Comments can be sent to me thorough my web-master, Michael (which is on the site).

    I need a new web design with an obvious comments sections.

    Robert, all apologies for placing non-specific User Generated Comments (comments directed towards my post) in your comments section, but as always–thank you for generating such an engaging discussion.

    In one of your other sections, Jim Kerr commented on “bridging the divide” between new media companies and “old media”–the entertainment industry. I look forward to your comments–and the comments of others– on this issue.

  93. LayZ/Chris,

    Thank you for your comments.

    Comments can be sent to me thorough my web-master, Michael (which is on the site).

    I need a new web design with an obvious comments sections.

    Robert, all apologies for placing non-specific User Generated Comments (comments directed towards my post) in your comments section, but as always–thank you for generating such an engaging discussion.

    In one of your other sections, Jim Kerr commented on “bridging the divide” between new media companies and “old media”–the entertainment industry. I look forward to your comments–and the comments of others– on this issue.

  94. I think it would be a good idea if the Publishers held smaller conferences that were open to both press and public that focused on getting some play time with upcoming games and being able to speak with developers.

    Despite the fact that Cliff Blezinski has a blog, I don’t really feel like I can talk to the guy.

  95. I think it would be a good idea if the Publishers held smaller conferences that were open to both press and public that focused on getting some play time with upcoming games and being able to speak with developers.

    Despite the fact that Cliff Blezinski has a blog, I don’t really feel like I can talk to the guy.

  96. Everything starts with the writing, and the “farm system” will likely never realize that.

    Amen. But I would add, even if they realize it, they don’t have the infrastructure to support it, nor will they honor all the WGA schedules, nor will the real pro’s be inclined to play their reindeer games.

    The “farm system” will go for the celebrity A-List flash and the YouTubby viral flash-in-pan stupidity; eternal gimmicks to get traffic and hits; the blog template model — dissing anyone outside the circled circles, those who ‘don’t get it’.

    “Bridging the divide”? Just one problem, no bridges to even connect. There really isn’t any such thing as a “new media company”. A differing format, a differing distributional method, makes not a media company. The better the “new” becomes the more it becomes “old”. And the “old” can simply use the same formats as the “new”, evolution not revolution. The “new economy” was a full-scale illusion, as is the “new media company”.

    Forever blowing bubbles, pretty bubbles in the air…

  97. Everything starts with the writing, and the “farm system” will likely never realize that.

    Amen. But I would add, even if they realize it, they don’t have the infrastructure to support it, nor will they honor all the WGA schedules, nor will the real pro’s be inclined to play their reindeer games.

    The “farm system” will go for the celebrity A-List flash and the YouTubby viral flash-in-pan stupidity; eternal gimmicks to get traffic and hits; the blog template model — dissing anyone outside the circled circles, those who ‘don’t get it’.

    “Bridging the divide”? Just one problem, no bridges to even connect. There really isn’t any such thing as a “new media company”. A differing format, a differing distributional method, makes not a media company. The better the “new” becomes the more it becomes “old”. And the “old” can simply use the same formats as the “new”, evolution not revolution. The “new economy” was a full-scale illusion, as is the “new media company”.

    Forever blowing bubbles, pretty bubbles in the air…

  98. [...] Does Robert Scoble suggest that “Will blog for food” is actually working? How do you get news out? Invite a blogger over for lunch. It doesn’t matter who the blogger is. If the news is interesting it’ll spread and spread fast. Tagged as: blogging, Business, food, media, money, pr [...]

  99. With the exception of CES and NAB, big conferences may be dead in the computer industry. In part, this has to be due to several factors: a change of audience demographics (that the organizers missed); relevance; cut-back in exhibitor marketing dollars scaled down from the Cecil B. DeMille big booth days. But I would suggest that in many other industries, there are still valid events: medical science and cancer research, photography and digital imaging (PMA, PhotoPlusExpo); U.S. Army and Defense Department, and of course, the various auto shows. Organizers should do real market research, and when the events are relevant, the exhibitors, the attendees, and the skepticcal media, industry analysts and bloggers will return. Mark (recovering trade show PR professional).

  100. With the exception of CES and NAB, big conferences may be dead in the computer industry. In part, this has to be due to several factors: a change of audience demographics (that the organizers missed); relevance; cut-back in exhibitor marketing dollars scaled down from the Cecil B. DeMille big booth days. But I would suggest that in many other industries, there are still valid events: medical science and cancer research, photography and digital imaging (PMA, PhotoPlusExpo); U.S. Army and Defense Department, and of course, the various auto shows. Organizers should do real market research, and when the events are relevant, the exhibitors, the attendees, and the skepticcal media, industry analysts and bloggers will return. Mark (recovering trade show PR professional).