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RIW vs. american conferences

We want to share some ideas about past RIW with habra users. Over the past year, Nikolai Mikhailovsky, the head of POIdo, attended five similar conferences in the United States: from a very small MobiTechFest (40 people, 1 day) to almost global Where 2.0 (more than 500 people, 2 days) - the experience is useful, we decided share.

“According to my observations, about 20-40 contacts are made in one day of the western conference (you no longer have time to physically), which is at least 4 times more than in three days on the same RIWe.” How is that? Consider the points (and at the same time we will see a couple of videos with successful presentations).

Before determining the main differences, you need to remember why such events are generally organized. First of all, it is communication with representatives of the industry, establishing new business contacts, discussing the state of affairs and trends in the market.

So, the most important difference is that American conferences are organized by journalistic communities or popular industry blogs such as O'Reilly, Gigaom, TechCrunch, VentureBeat, Business Insider, etc. These are large teams of professional journalists who are not affiliated with specific market players, well versed in the industry. At the same time, the sections are organized, moderated and conducted by the same journalists who are interested solely in the quality of reports, entertainment and usefulness of the event as a whole. Again, the point is that the participants of the conference are the main source of income (and there is a ticket for the event at the rate of $ 400 per day), which means you need to organize an event for their money so that they are satisfied.

At RIWe, the same section is given to respected people. Of course, they are subject matter experts. But, being busy people, they usually do not have time for quality preparation and moderation of reports, and their priorities in their main work, and not in organizing a section at a conference. In addition, experts, as a rule, work in large companies, which means that they are interested in promoting “their own” (while their own, of course, not only employees, but also direct partners - participants of the ecosystem) are often more than in the benefit section of the final visitors.

Another important difference: working with the actual speakers . Call for applications for reports on Where 2.0 in March 2011 ended on Monday: six months before the event (and not a month). In the remaining time, individual work is carried out with each potential speaker: agreeing on the content of the presentation, rehearsing the speech itself. “And the conference program itself is being prepared as thoroughly as possible: the organizer of the section cannot determine the order of speaking at the section during the first report, which happens at our conferences quite often. I was struck even more when at one of the Russian conferences the organizer of the round table pondered the day before the round table what to ask about it ... ”

At the same time, if well-known speakers are usually professional (in the States it is customary to be able to conduct presentations well), then start-ups from whom they do not know what to expect are very carefully prepared for performance.

“Before the same MobiTechFest Americas, the conference leader called up to me 4 times and rehearsed the report for an hour. There were a total of 12 presentations of startups. Multiply by 3-4 hour rehearsals (for me, as a non-native speaker, I had to spend an extra hour), we get roughly 36-48 hours of organizer time to prepare speeches. As a result, all 12 went off with a bang. ” Can you imagine such a thorough approach at our events? I personally have difficulty.

The format of conferences also differs quite significantly: usually only 2-3 half-hour reports take place per day. The rest of the time is given to panel discussions and interviews. If a well-known person, a major expert or an investor is invited, he is not offered to read the report - it’s more than likely that he will not have time to prepare, which means there will be a dull repetition of what has already been said. Instead, the performance is in the form of an interview with a leading journalist, who poses sharp questions (remember, in America, the cult of the show, everyone should be interested).

Interviews with one of the venture capitalists ended up playing with associations: the moderator called the word, as a rule, the name of the company or industry phenomenon, and the venture capitalist described his associations with him:
- Apple?
- Evil!

The same with panel discussions - they are conducted by a professional journalist or analyst with expertise in the question. Interestingly, the discussions are not really improvised, but well-prepared: the moderator prepares a list of questions in advance, so that participants have the opportunity to prepare answers.

An interesting discussion format about the future of geo-services was at the Geo-Loco conference: the presenter voiced the question, the panel’s predictions appeared on the screen, then the lively discussion followed — everyone knew only their answer. This combination of training and improvisation.

A lot of attention is paid to networking : people came not so much to passively listen, as to establish business contacts. For this there are numerous long breaks, during which everyone gathers in the same room for a buffet table (which is included in the participation fee), where there is a great opportunity to randomly move around the hall with a glass and a canape and get acquainted with the surrounding.

Another feature aimed at tying up dating is the pre- and after-parties , which take place at almost every conference. For example, Where 2.0 opens at 5 pm the day before the conference itself. At 5 opening, at 7 Ignite (a completely enchanting action , in which pre-selected participants present their ideas / projects with a presentation of twenty slides, alternating every 15 seconds, in 5 minutes), at 9 pre-parties. Often, the pre-party takes on one of the sponsors of the event, inviting everyone to the bar (perhaps mainly at the expense of visitors) or even to their office. Of course, we, too, unite in groups, walk and get acquainted instead of sitting on the reports, someone continues the holiday after the conference. So why would the organizers not create for this condition, not provide a place and time for communication.

In general, of course, I am glad that every year more and more Russian companies, including start-ups, go to international conferences - which means there is hope for an increase in the level and effectiveness of our events.

And finally, the speakers to the note - the speech of Rahul Sonnad , the head of the startup Geodelic, at the Always On conference at Stanford (if anything, first there is a parody of the Indian accent).

And the performance with Ignite:
Where 2.0 2010: Martin Isenburg, "Have Chickens, Need Lasers!"

Source: https://habr.com/ru/post/107089/

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