Although our industry is all about online activity, two of the best ways to get connected still takes place offline: conferences and meet-ups. I prefer the first, as some top dogs don’t have time for meet-ups, but do come to conferences. Most of my meetings with heroes 2.0 took place at gigs like Le Web, Next08, The Next Web and Web 2.0 Expo.
There’s just one problem with those events: they’re pretty damn expensive. If you’re young, self-employed or a student, and not able to get a press pass – you will have a hard time collecting those 750 euros to get in.
I’ve seen both sides, as I’ve organized a conference as well as having tried to get into them for free. The high prices are there to cover the financial risk, but most people don’t get this and complain on Twitter and blogs.
Skip your holiday
I don’t worry too much about people who have plenty of money to spend on a conference but are unwilling to make the effort – that’s mostly a matter of priorities. Skip your holiday. But I do think it’s a waste that a lot of talented students and young entrepreneurs see no way to cross the financial barrier.
The solution is pretty simple. Next time when I organize a conference, I’ll definitely find a company or angel to create some sort of talent fund. They give me money good for ten tickets, and I’ll give these away to talented folks. That way I don’t risk losing money, the investor gets an image boost, and the talents have the time of their life.
Leading example is Youthwatching, a conference about youth marketing and trends which will take place in Ghent on December 12. If you’re young and able to convince organizer Trendwolves you’re also talented, you’ll get in for free.
Walk up to your hero
Promise me one thing though. Make it worth it. Walk up to your hero (Martin Lindstrom, anyone?), tell him why you admire him, and make a great impression.