While PHX was a success, I feel that we delivered a Beginners format of presentations to an overall more experienced group, and that is why it perhaps fell a little short of my expectations. I've allowed these thoughts to percolate for sometime as I think about going forward, and want to build on some great insights I received from a couple of the guys at the DO in PHX (Simon and Mark spring to mind, and some other guys had solid input also).
The upshot of it is that I envisaged a split going forward, into a Beginners group, where people were paying for knowledge, and an Advanced group, where knowledge wouldn't be sold. I do think that there is a graduation system out there where beginners need a foundation, an understanding of how things work and how to do them right, but I think also, if we are to be truthful to our mission, you shouldn't profit from bringing together experts.
The Beginners group I may or may not proceed with at this time, but the Advanced Group I find exciting as a concept. Here's what is on my mind:
In addition, I like the idea of keeping the ticket price as close to zero as possible and making it al a carte. While I really enjoyed the F&B at the DOs we had in the past I think that they were overpriced (Lunch Buffet at PHX cost me $60-70 per plate...) and also I don't think it is fair that non drinkers pay the same ticket price as drinkers.
- We have a similar sized group, perhaps smaller. 100-125 people.
- We create a central space, perhaps not a meeting room in a hotel, somewhere we can have as our own, but without the stuffiness. If we were in the US for this, perhaps a brewery that had a big hall we could use.
- The space is split into zones, but without walls segregating them, people can flow back and forth between zones.
- Each zone is a topic, led by a moderator who has some experience on the subject, but wherever possible we crowdsource the knowledge and the moderator just guides the discussion.
- We break every 30-45 minutes and use a private forum here to propose new topics, this is realtime, and members can upvote or downvote the proposed topics - the most popular will be selected. Popular topics might stay throughout the day, and unpopular ones might be replaced with 'better ideas'. The value of that is we also 'capture' the thoughts of the day and we can discuss them both online and in person, it allows people to pick up conversations again with their fellow attendees.
I think it better to strip all that out, and allow people to drink/eat what they like on their dime. The challenge then becomes how to manage supply and demand on this, because if the ticket price is as low as I can make it, how will we control the demand? A thought on that is to make it invitation only.
With all due respect to the awesome people who presented at previous DOs, I think it is time to stop pretending that bloggers are the experts, and make a DO that kicks some serious arse.
Who's with me?