Media Survey. Belk's paper may help explain why, in a dismal period for technology publishing in particular, Maximum PC's advertising for January 2002 was down only 2.49% compared to January 2001. [Buzz News] Scoble's comment: exactly. The fastest-growing conferences and magazines are heading toward narrower and narrower markets. The trick is to find a niche that has enough people in it and a relatively inexpensive channel to get to those people.
When I do my next conference (if I do one) it'll be for a very narrow range of people.
Web Design Conference: Bad.
Radio Developer's Conference: Good.
Microsoft Developer's Conference: Bad
C# Developer's Conference: Good
Portable Device Developer's Conference: Bad
PocketPC Developer's Conference: Good
Why is that? Because it's far more efficient to build an audience that way, and you have more fun because you're serving one particular audience extremely well. I hate being included in a group with other people who have nothing to do with what I'm doing. Try getting a C# guy to sit next to a VB guy someday. They are living on different planets. Or a Coca Cola guy next to a Pepsi guy. Or a Palm guy next to a PocketPC guy.
Is it any wonder that niche-focused products do better than broad-based focused ones?
Speaking of digital photos. A friend just made some prints of my photos on Ofoto and boy are they excellent! I only have a 1.3 megapixel camera but 5x7s were sharp, clear, and colorful. If I hadn't been the one to shoot them I would never have known that they were taken with a digital camera. I sure hope this keeps Kodak in business (Kodak owns Ofoto.com and Kodak is definitely a company that is gonna be irrelevant by the end of the decade unless it changes its business model radically).
Did anyone see that 4 megapixel cameras are now selling for about $350? Wow.
Speaking of conferences, a bunch of my friends in the conference and publishing worlds are out of work right now. They are reporting that things are very tough. Some have been out of work for six months. Not a good scene. Anyone know of any work that isn't showing up on http://www.craigslist.org ?
It sounds like a good time to start a conference. You can get hotels to actually negotiate with you because they are all hurting (for instance, SF's experts are saying it'll be 2004 before the city gets back to 2000 occupancy levels). Plus, there are lots of expert workers on the street right now and AV vendors are willing to deal because the conference world has slowed down quite a bit over two year ago levels.
Some conferences are doing well, though. InfoWorld's Web Services conference supposedly sold out at about 750 attendees in January. Pop!Tech sold out last October too. And the VSLive! conference in February in SF had 1500 paid attendees and a total of 3000+ to see Gates.
Anyway, maybe we should start a "got work?" weblog. The antithesis of the http://www.fuckedcompany.com site. That sure is getting tired now, isn't it? Pud, that site's founder, even has a book out. Sure sign that a trend is close to the end of its lifecycle.
Anyone want to start a conference? Here's some ideas that I think the existing conference companies have totally missed:
1) Microsoft Mobile Developer's Conference. Microsoft keeps track of traffic on the news://msnews.microsoft.com newsgroups. Guess which one has the most traffic? That's right. The PocketPC newsgroup. I have a PocketPC and there's tons of new things coming out for it every week. That means there's tons of developers trying to learn how to build great apps for it. Did you see the new Tablet computer? Gates showed me one of those last fall and I want one in the worst way. I'd sell my soul to get a Tablet computer.
2) C# Developer's Conference. Yeah, I know Fawcette and Connections already have C# conferences, but their efforts are mixed into their Visual Studio events. My C# friends tell me that turns them off. They don't wanna hang with any low-life Visual Basic coders. They wanna see Don Box give a speech naked and they don't wanna see any code without curly braces around it. Plus, Miguel deIcaza is getting going with the Mono project pretty well, so a C# Developer's Conference needs a team that isn't bought and paid for by Microsoft. Will an independent C#DC happen? I doubt it.
3) A Radio Developer's Conference. Hey, it could happen. Let's just meet at JingJing's in Palo Alto and blog it. I know a certain Spicy Noodle dish that'll guarantee that Dave will show up.
What other conference ideas haven't been done yet that need to be done?
I'd love to see a West Coast Pop!Tech conference too. How about a TechTV Live event?
Personally, I just want an excuse to eat more Spicy Noodles while talking geek talk.
I wish I could start the Radio Developer's Conference. Doesn't that have a nice ring? I wonder who would keynote that? Hey, would we all get OPML mugs? Hmmmm.
You can take Scoble out of the conference world, but you can't take the conference world out of the Scoble.
There's some really cool stuff coming over the next few weeks.
Thursday I'm going to check out the Embedded Systems Conference.
Next week I'll check out the Game Developer's Conference (a friend at Microsoft got me a free ticket).
In April I'll be at TechED.
In May I'll be at the International World Wide Web conference in Honolulu and I'll sneak in to see Dave Winer talk at O'Reilly's Emerging Technology Conference (which sounds particularly interesting).
Of course I'll weblog anything interesting. All things considered, I'd rather have lunch with Doc Searls.