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This article was published on January 10, 2012

How The Next Web Conference is evolving in 2012

How The Next Web Conference is evolving in 2012
Patrick de Laive
Story by

Patrick de Laive

CPO and co-founder, TNW

Patrick de Laive is an experienced entrepreneur and daddy of Bo and Denne. He is co-founder of TNW and sporadicly invests in startups. He is Patrick de Laive is an experienced entrepreneur and daddy of Bo and Denne. He is co-founder of TNW and sporadicly invests in startups. He is a frequently asked speaker at (tech) events across the globe. Check his LinkedIn profile and @Patrick on Twitter for more information.

The seventh edition of The Next Web Conference takes place from 25 to 27 April 2012, and we’re more excited about it than ever. Over the years the conference has grown from a tiny, cozy one-day event to a full-blown industry leading conference (still cozy with that personal touch) with a packed agenda for three days.

Every year we raise the bar and come up with new things, adjust the format with new ideas and improve stuff (thanks for the feedback). This year is no different, we’re going to top last year’s conference big-time. Take my word for it.

We’ve made some changes to the format and we’re confident it will help to improve the overall experience and business opportunities for all attendees. At TNW2012 all layers within the tech industry will be represented by the most talented and leading personas in their respective layer.

Developers, entrepreneurs, marketeers, SEO specialists, investors, business leaders, thought leaders and decision makers from large corporations will be there together with people who serve the tech scene (hosting platforms, interactive agencies, outsourcing agencies, lawyers, banks, etc.).


Last year we experimented with a second track. It was a small extra venue with more hands-on content. It was okay, but could be a factor hundred better. We knew we needed multiple tracks to diversify the content for our attendees (some of you love hands on educational talks, others might prefer more inspirational talks and there are those that want a bit of both).

Adding more tracks doesn’t necessarily add value to a conference. I have seen many examples where it actually had a negative effect on the overall value and experience of a conference. We started thinking about how it should be done and what the key factors are of a successful multi track conference that adds more than proportional value (where 1 + 1 = 2.3). We came up with four key factors:

Programming: Program talks and keynotes in such a way that there is a minimal overlap in interest from an attendee’s point of view. Make sure the program rocks on both stages. There should be no difference in quality of the content between the stages, only a difference in topics of interest.
Production: Make sure you treat both tracks as equal. Invest in the technical setup of the stages, the look and feel etc. Each stage should be impressive on its own. Don’t call it main stage and second stage, that devalues the perception of the quality of the other stage.
Interaction between the stages: Find ways to create interaction between the stages, so people get an idea of what is happening on the other track.
Communication: Make it very clear and easy to see what is where and when.

Following our own advice, it won’t surprise you that we decided to create two full-fledged stages filled with equally awesome content addressing different topics and types of crowd and that we have found ways to create interaction between the tracks.

This allows us to program content that is of interest to Startups and big corporations, for developers and marketeers, for investors and buyers. Well… you get the point.

CxO Summit

Many large companies have asked us for advice or help over the last year. Although we’re not in the consulting business we could easily identify that the Fortune 500 companies are eager to understand more about the online opportunities that lie ahead of all businesses (in any sector), and that inspired us to come up with TNW CxO Summit.

The CxO Summit is an invite only, 4-hour high-level event where we ask some of our conference speakers to address this special crowd with 15-minute keynotes. At the CxO Summit you can expect to bump into board-level people from the leading European corporations (not necessarily tech), CEOs from the fastest growing companies in the world and maybe even members of the Royal family. With 150 attendees it is a very exclusive and intimate setting.

You can request an invite or check out the opportunities to partner with TNW CxO Summit.

Kings of Code – Hack Battle

Last year we started with a hackathon right before the conference. It was a success and there was plenty of room for improvement. This year we’re inviting 100 developers (back-end, front-end -web and mobile- and some designers) to hack brilliant stuff in 30 hours. We have a dedicated venue next to the conference.

The Hack Battle starts on Wednesday, and on Thursday the final presentations of all hacks will be held on stage at the conference! This is a world first and we do this not only to emphasize how important and fun the Hack Battle is, but also to show attendees what can be achieved in just thirty hours nowadays.

If you’re a talented developer, check out how you can get into the hack battle (free), show your skills to a worldwide audience and win awesome prizes.

Join us now and grab a steep discount

Join us and 1800 online professionals, meet the whole TNW team, new business contacts, old friends, potential investors, exit partners and inspiring industry leaders and secure business at The Next Web Conference 2012. We still have 25 Super Early Bird tickets available at a 41% discounted rate. Get them now (pay online or get an invoice first and pay later via bank transfer) via our online event ticketing shop, powered by Paydro.

There’s a lot more information to come over the next few weeks. Stay tuned, and see you in Amsterdam!

➤ The Next Web Conference 2012