This article was published on September 21, 2017

Here’s why we’re making TNW New York invite-only

Here’s why we’re making TNW New York invite-only
Matthew Elworthy
Story by

Matthew Elworthy

Marketing Manager, TNW Events

We’re under no illusions. Over the last five years, the ROI of attending conferences has made it harder and harder to justify allocating budget.

Big-stage sales pitches mean you’re never really learning, and the initially attractive Mega XXL attendee list just means that everyone is there, making it impossible to separate the wheat from the chaff while networking.

So like any serious event organisers, we’ve decided to take a long hard look in the mirror and decide what our New York event stands for. You can’t please everyone all the time – we needed to figure out what’s at the core of the conference we’re running, and find a way to maximize its value.

So what did we see in the mirror? What has our New York event always been good at? We felt that this quote from Nir Eyal summed it up pretty nicely:

”If there’s one event I love returning to, it’s TNW. They never cease to surprise me with their attention to detail and their ability to make you feel part of the family. It’s a great way of connecting with friends from the industry – both old and new.”

We couldn’t have said it better ourselves. That’s exactly what is at the core of our event: bringing incredibly interesting people together in an intimate setting, to share knowledge and make friends.

So this December, we’ve decided to try something new. Here’s the elevator pitch:


A thousand hand-selected decision makers.
Over two-hundred, two-way guided conversations.
A handful of truly groundbreaking keynotes.
Zero sales pitches.
(Except this one.)


Sounds… vague. What does it actually mean?

It means a few things, like reducing the number of attendees at our event by 66 percent and removing the exhibition floor. But most importantly, it means we’re moving away from our traditional conference format: this year we’ll have a single stage, hosting just nine talks.

We’re booking 145 speakers though, so what are they all going to be doing?

Round-table sessions.

We tested this format lightly at TNW New York last year, and heavily at TNW Conference in Amsterdam last May. The (unsurprising) outcome was incredibly candid, two-way conversations with experts about the way their subject matter affects your business.

Not their business. Your business. It turns out that when you ask experts to speak with an audience, not at an audience, the subject matter instantly becomes 1000 percent more relevant. Go figure.

With that in mind, here’s how content will be broken down:

  • NOW Sessions: 185 round-tables guided by industry experts, and covering the technologies and tactics that disruptive companies are using in your industry at this very moment.
  • NEXT Stage: Nine keynote spots, reserved for the CEOs, futurists and industry leaders who are working with cutting-edge technologies that are set to change the rules of engagement in the next two to five years.
  • Afterhours: 45 sessions hosted during an hour of informal discussions, business and – most importantly – beers. This is your chance to ask candid questions about companies or products you use or admire.

Combine all this with our hand-selected attendee list, dedicated lounges and awesome afterparty, and you’ll be going hard on the networking while hardly working.

There’s just one catch…

In order to achieve everything we just promised you, we had to make TNW New York an invite-only event. A networking focused, small-group session event such as this is a massive balancing act that requires us to know our audience as well as possible, and to be able to filter where necessary. It’s the only way to ensure that everyone in attendance is getting the best return from the precious time that they’ve invested.

That means before you can buy a ticket, you need to complete an application.

If your profile fits, we’ll release a ticket to you – and we encourage everyone to check out our Who’s it for? page before they apply. It’s a comprehensive resource of the sort of individuals that we had in mind when remodelling our event, and all of them will actually be there in December.

But we still have some work to do

Your application isn’t just a way for us to decide who is or isn’t right for TNW New York – it’s also a trove of data points that will allow us to make sure our event serves you as best as possible.

Your answers about the technologies affecting your industry, as well as your professional expertise and interests are all fed into a dashboard. This allows us to curate our content to your answers, ensure there is a good mix of attendees and speakers with the right skills, and provide you with tailored session recommendations when the time comes.

Here are a few of the people hosting tables

Our invite application form only opened this week, but you can already join tables hosted by:

  • the Founder of Foursquare, Dennis Crowley
  • the Co-founder of Giphy, Adam Leibsohn
  • the Author of What Would Google Do, Jeff Jarvis
  • the CEO of JWT Intelligence, Lucie Greene
  • Kickstarter’s VP of Product, Deepa Subramiam
  • the Author of Unsubscribe, Jocelyn K. Glei
  • the one and only Scott Belsky, and many, many more.

Take a look at the full list of speakers already confirmed hereThe list is only going to keep growing, and we haven’t even announced any of our NEXT Stage speakers yet.

So what about tickets

Tickets are $800 per person, with some discounts available for deserving Founders of underfunded companies, as well as groups (if you’re looking to bring your entire management team!). You can have a look at the different ticket options here, and don’t forget: prices rise over time.

Ready to apply?

Great. Visit the TNW New York site and complete your application. We’ll get back to you within 24 hours if your application has been successful.

Any questions? Take a look at our FAQ, use the chat icon over on the TNW New York page to start a conversation with us – or just email us at [email protected] We’re happy to help.

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