I have noticed that most “active” tech and startup communities in Morocco, are doing a lot of events. Events cost money. You have the same faces, and at a certain point 60% of the topics are the same.
At the end we have more events than projects, and more project than projects implemented!
There is a problem with the event industry in Morocco, and the world in general. Most of the events and workshops (apart from some competitions) are about:
Bringing speakers and guests together.
These speakers and guests give presentations over a long period of time.
Then people have limited time to socialize and network or even be productive.
Having said that, I feel there are some good things about organizing events and here are few:
- Gathering people together
- Meeting the community
- Learning from industry experts
- Meeting VIPs in person
- Sponsors can have reach to audiences in the event
- Organizations doing events, get good publicity
- Teach/learn from real life outside of school
I think most events are defective by design. Events waste money, a lot of money, all that money can be leveraged somehow in a better way and add to that most of the events think mostly about impact, they end up spending a lot of time raising funds, to get a few people to show them something, it really is not as impactful as people think. Also, it is difficult to have many great speakers to be available at a specific date for your event.
The formula for most events is typically that if you have a 1,000 attendees you would have 500 being really interested in the topic
then 100 would listen carefully with 30 asking questions and only approximately 10 doing something concrete about what was said.
This is not nihilism, these are actual numbers I collected during my speeches.
Out of 1,000 attendees, few actually care about what you are saying, those who care few listen, and at the end you have only few who actually are impacted by what the speaker is saying.
Attending events is heavy and unhealthy for an ecosystem, most of the people end up attending different events, they see they don’t have enough time, so at a certain point, “event don’t let a community gather together” easily.
During an event, when its full of talks, you end up having a rare time where people actually end up networking, those who network, few of them end up having something fruitful to say. Unless its very “meeting oriented” or “socializing oriented”.
How Can We Make Things Better?
Most of the aspects of an event can be done online and I’m not talking TED. I’m talking a specific platform that lets you organize “informative events” like conferences, workshops, online.
It sounds easy and subtle, but yet from what I've seen no one is doing it.
Here is how it can be done:
1. Invite speakers, record their videos.
2. Then the same way you usually make a program for an event, make a playlist (it would be smarter, the speaker would have his material online and annotations).
3. Besides the playlist of videos, there would be a schedule for a hangout/webinar LIVE, if some speakers agree on making it at the same time (higher probability than just attending)
Example of Quora Q & A platform
The speaker will have a time allocation in a week so he can answer those questions.
The New Events Model
Why this model?
In advance you can get how many people are interested, and get word of mouth marketing going.
The beauty of this simple design is that the community gets to know each other, smart people and real active people get to have more points and higher ranks and credibility in the Q & A category.
Let's say in our community of entrepreneurs, without the word of mouth, few people remain in the shadow, but when you have things online, great people will rise quickly and will get to get known.
When you empower people, and leverage their potential, you are building a strong brand.
This Looks Dumb & Obvious, That’s Why Nobody Is Doing It
"But there is already Youtube?”
“Are you suggesting a new TED.com?”
“This is just Quora in another style”
“But there is already videoconferencing technology/live streaming”
Those would be the words of the critics I heard when I suggested to other people that we work on this. The point everybody misses is that the Apple iPhone is a hit, not because it had a marketplace, a touchscreen, a gyroscope, or a GPS. Many had that before, but simply because it integrates everything smoothly for a beautiful user experience, not only about aesthetics “zwa9", but everything works together in harmony.
How do you make money out of events, especially tech events? Tweet
How can things be structured to maximize efficiency. This is just a draft and you can do whatever you want with the suggested idea, it's just to give you more ideas.
Old Ineffective Way ☹: Ask Speakers -> Fund Raising/Sponsoring -> PR-> Invite people -> Logistics -> Event
New Paradigm ☺: Event -> People confirmed (subscribe) -> Organic PR-> Speakers -> Fund Raising / Money in the box
To get a good monetization model, follow the money. You can have Premium Accounts that offfer analytics, community engagement, private branding etc. for companies and organizations, either per event or per month (community). A Sponsor can pay for direct advertising (ala Youtube) or can pay to have one of their videos play during the conference (for example CISCO doing a presentation in a Network Technologies event). This way event organizers would spend a lot of time improving the quality of the event and the subscribers (getting you more users) so their rank increases. Also, companies can browse trending events, or organizations, so they can choose which one to bid on, and they can have metrics on the user engagement (unlike old events). Speakers can also get paid a commission of the sponsoring (e.g. Event organizers 40% speakers 30% the company 30%), in some organizations like MCISE or JCI or UNICEF of course speakers would not want to get paid and that money would be donated to the organization (which is a great way for Great organizations to make money, and decrease their dependence).
Also, some events may need access to videos and live seminars or Q & A, and people can pay for the videos that if they quality of the content is good.
"But the charm of events is meeting people, good faces, coffee et buffet"
Most people argue: but the charm of the event…you meet people, have coffee, etc.
When you have an online communitys where people are ranked based on their contribution and real interest and credibility then those organization can make offline events, meet-ups, and they would be more successful.
Because they will not focus on TALKING, they would focus on DOING!
It would be an advantage, when they build the community online, it will be easy to invite “people who matter” so to say . Also both good speakers and VIPs will know the other attendees by their level of credibility on the online platform e.g. “oh this guy got 5600 points and look at the level of his answers”.
Moreover, organizations can make money through this, and bypass the fundraising hell, and be more agile, as well as they will spend less money and increase their impact level.
In Morocco, there are already communities, they are thirsty, and some of them mature, and the good thing is that you don’t need the deadly jump (e.g. get to the US to start) you can build enough capacity and get enough money to attack the U.S and European market one step at a time.
How can you make this a multi-million dollar business?
Great businesses create wealth “de la richesse”, and they take “something” from that wealth, proportional to that, they get a valuation. By giving a tool to millions of people that makes them “create wealth” for themselves, is one of the only ways you can create a multi-billion dollar business, think ORACLE and MICROSOFT empowering businesses, WALMART and AMAZON cutting prices, AirBnB and UBER restructuring whole industries (creating or saving wealth, both go hand in hand, by saving you don’t waste, so you create more wealth).
I got my inspiration from great events around the world by reverse-engineering them. Mostly the amazing work of wonder-woman Fatim Zahra Biaz and the successful experiences of NewWorkLab, Kenza Lahlou and the successful Startup Your Life meet-up and how it came to life, and of course my sweetheart brother Adnane Addioui and MCISE.
Cover Image, Start Manifesto with Justin Spratt