Best value conference?

Best value conference?.

Here's a great analysis of some techn conferences….. [thanks Jason]

The Science of Conventions. Great breakdown of tech conventions…. [Jason DeFillippo's Journal]

Putting a Value to a Conference

In the past days there has been some discussion about the registration cost of professional conferences, especially the PDC ($1700) and BloggerCon ($500).  The discussion about the PDC is that without question the conference produces value for its fee, but that the fee in itself is just too high for some people. With BloggerCon people remarked with $500 for a one day conference with no history to show for, and a vague semi-technical content its return-on-investment (in contrast to for example the PDC) is questionable.

I thought a bit about this because I visits about 10-12 conferences per year, although most of them are academically oriented. I think there are a number of criteria to consider when selecting a conference:

  • Innovation – will you hear new stuff that may challenge you
  • Technical – will you learn about techniques/technologies you will use
  • Political – will you get a better of view at the strategic level
  • Networking – will you hook up with (new) people
  • Career – will this conference help you to advance your professional goals
  • Entertainment – Will you be able to have some fun
  • Location – if the conference sucks can you go somewhere else

Warning! The following is not scientific:

If I takes these criteria and apply them a number of professional conferences that have just happened or are about to take place, I get the following:

Conference  I  T  P  N  C  E  L  Days  Price  Value
Gnomedex  7  7  6  9  4  9  4  2  99  92.9
PDC  9  10  5  8  8  7  8  5  1700  16.2
BloggerCon  6  5  9  7  3  7  6  1  500  8.6
O'Reilly MacOSX  8  8  7  8  5  7  5  3  795  18.1
XML-DevCon  8  10  5  8  8  6  5  2  299  33.4

The weights for each of the criteria is from 1-10, and are made up by me for a fictive professional who wants to go to each of the conferences. Your mileage may vary. (BTW I am not sure what the registration for XML-DevCon was). The return value is calculated by 100 / (cost of the conference / (sum of the weights * number of days)).

Gnomedex is the absolute winner in terms of return on investment, with XML-DevCon also as a positive value maker. PDC and O'Reilly probably will give you a similar value.

BloggerCon however will need to do something drastic, either in its program or in its fee, if it wants to provide real value for it participants.  [Werner Vogel's All Things Distributed]

I really think Gnomedox shoulld get negeative points for being in the middle of po-dunk.  It just isn't reasonable to go to hell for a conference.  But there should ALSO be points for amusing moderators and hosts – so Chris Pirillo would make up for being in the middle of no where – by being such a fun guy.

And where's SuperNova?  reBoot?  Ars Electronica?   COMDEX?  [Marc's Voice]

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