Ages ago I wrote a blog about my observations attending events and conferences (for the past 25 loooooong years). What I realised is that no matter what gathering I attended – whether it was a 20 person meetup or a suited and booted five star hotel conference looking at European Banking Regulations – delegates attend for one of two main reasons. They either wanted to learn something or they wanted to network. However, we weary, lanyard wearing swag hoarders rarely experience both.
You can learn a lot from an analyst, with decades of experience, explaining the ins and outs of European settlement harmonisation – but she isn’t going to throw budget at your proof of concept any time soon. A grey haired, grey suited old man can bore you to tears by reading out – line by line – items he finds troubling about the Payments Services Directive – but he sits next to exactly the right person who will champion your commercial partnership and offers to put you in touch.
Where can we find middle ground? The ‘Goldilocks’ of events, conferences (or Festivals) where you meet people important to your business, you learn from a great presentation and you get your hands dirty by engaging and interacting in workshops and roundtables. Which of these things are most important to you? – The conference attendee – those who sponsor, speak, report on and even buy tickets to these offerings.
With the global annual FinTech calendar getting increasingly crowded – I went to Twitter to do a wee, quickie Twitter poll.
Interestingly, (but not surprising to me) a panel of ‘very senior people’ came in dead last in ‘who you would like to see on stage at an event’. Despite the cache these marque names and blue chip companies can lend to a conference agenda – the resulting panel is often shallow. Each speaker only going so far in their commentary – and never disagreeing with anyone on stage or off. More often than not – these ‘very senior people’ tend to leave as soon as their session is over – killing any possibility of networking or business contacts.
However, a keynote or a presentation made a strong showing in my little Twitter poll. Sitting down to hear a great lecture or speech can sometimes be a good way to spend 30 minutes in a darkened event space. I once saw Ignacio Mas, formally of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, give a talk about global money and banking for the poor that left me questioning all of my life choices.
But it is the workshop that came up top with my Twitter outreach – the perfect combination of networking and learning in one group table, Post-It note, multi-coloured Sharpie package.
We at FinTECHTalents are exploring how we can improve on and expand our festival concept to include all the elements that you – our community – want from a conference. A place to network, a place to learn, a place to do business and of course a place to drink craft beer and listen to live music (we ain’t getting rid of that 😊 )
Would you like to lend your voice and tell us what you would like to see on stage and offered at FinTECHTalents 2019?
Let’s create the ‘Goldilocks’ event our community deserves.