Michael Dowling raises the question of the value of conferences these days. Dave Winer raised this issue some time ago as well.. Personally, I go to fewer and fewer of these each year since time is so precious and there’s little to be gained as an attendee. Trade shows aren’t much better and at the moment, I skipped CES this year but did go to CTIA last week (where word was attendance was way down, as much as 30-40% according to some estimates)
While there was little news at CTIA last week and I did not hear great things about the conference sessions, the time was super valuable to me. Why? I was in non-stop meetings from the time I got off the plane until the time I left for the airport. I think I had a total of about an hour of downtime the entire time I was in Vegas. While the shows themselves aren’t overly useful, as a venue for face time, they continue to provide value. The question is, do we need these events to serve as the venue? I could think of a totally different type of event that would facilitate the same or better dialogue and do it in places that are more convenient toward travel and make better use of time. What do you think? Are conferences as we know them a dying breed?