This week I’ve been at #SLUSH15 in Helsinki – a start-up focused event that has grown from a few hundred people to 15,000 in less than seven years.
So whoever tells you that people no longer go to conferences are wrong. People are just expecting a different format than they used to – and here are a few ideas I took away from this monster-one:
People come because of people
1: Because they can meet likeminded people. Not just the fancy keynotes and all that.
SLUSH gets it – they’ve put the whole shebang in one hangar-sized space: 15,000 people milling, talking, connecting – all at once.
2: They’ve also dispensed with the bright lights – making an airport-sized experience feel intimate. Oh and they have lasers. And smoke machines. But I digress.
A good conference is a marketplace for connection
Not just content.
3: SLUSH have a great space set aside for connecting – where people can meet, discuss and kick off new collaborations. Because innovation is all about cross-pollination of ideas.
4: Also, speakers such as Google’s Sarah Drinkwater (Head of their London Campus) offer to spend time with people 1:1 to share advice. Adds a nice peer-to-peer touch – making everybody behave in a more accessible manner.
5: Many come to events to find a new gig. SLUSH have grabbed this challenge by the horns: they have a whole area dedicated to recruiters. Example? Exhibitor TransferWise is looking for all of these: Copywriter, Digital Content Producer, European Community Manager, Paid Social Marketing Manager, Video Producer, Head Of Government Relations, Head Of PR – APAC, Head Of PR – Europe, Head Of PR – UK, Internal Communications Manager, PR Intern (Paid, Immediate Start), Press Officer (Europe)…
Technology accelerates the experience
7: Then there’s the swipe-right-left networking-app GRIP – which promises to work long after the event is over. Let’s see.
8: For those using Twitter (and at #SLUSH15 that is a lot of people) it always helps when slides have hashtags and handles so information can easily be tagged on the fly.
A few Old School things still worth the while
9: The humble business card is definitively not dead. I get mine from Moo.
10: Nor are name tags with nice big, clear and legible lettering. Font size 30+ or bigger. Some of us wear glasses.
11: Decent coffee helps. A lot. Thanks forbetter.coffee/
If this might be useful to somebody organising a conference near you, feel free to share it.
Let’s #createconnection like never before.