From technology to politics to video games; these are the random thoughts of a geek with too much time on his hands
I'm poor :(
Published on April 16, 2008 By Zoomba In Virtual Communities

Now, I'll admit that I'm definitely on the outside looking in of the blogging/web 2.0 community.  While I manage very large sites with a ton of users and reach, I'm still on the periphery.  Why?  Well, I live in Michigan.  Not exactly a state known for it's thriving IT industry.  If you go beyond IT services that support manufacturing companies, you can probably count on one hand the number of companies doing anything significant with online communities or digital media.

Yes, I'm a bit of a victim of geography here, and even though it's all online now, it's all IM, Twitter, email and blogging, proximity is still important.  So when I see events like Gnomedex coming up, I'm interested because it could be one of the few opportunities I have this year to actually network with other people working in my field.  And in this nebulous profession, professional networking is king.

Gnomedex struck me as an interesting conference to attend with its focus on blogging, podcasting and other personal media, the stuff that's really sweeping the 'net at the moment.  The really interesting tech and approach to information distribution that will become pretty standard for regular users in 5 years is what this conference focuses on now.  And there are some pretty impressive names attached too, with folks from CNN, Amazon's AWS initiative, Google and a selection of people to know around the blogging world.

I'd love to go.  It would be a wonderful opportunity to meet people, get some new ideas for JoeUser/WinCustomize/ImpulseDriven.  Plus I think it would be a blast.

But I won't be going.  Why? 

It costs a damn fortune!

The conference, just to get in the door, costs $600 (if you've attended a Gnomedex in the past, you get a $50 discount).  Now, that's a pretty hefty price to begin with, but what if you're from out of town?  Well, then you have to factor in plane tickets and a hotel.  I just did some quick checking via travelocity, and looked over the hotel list close enough to the conference so I wouldn't have to rent a car...

Leave August 21st, return August 23rd:

  • Plane Ticket: $373
  • Hotel: $389 (before tax, this was one of the cheap ones)

That brings the base cost of the conference to $1,362.  Funny enough, that's how much I paid in taxes this year.

Unfortunately this doesn't include the incidental costs like dinners, drinks with folks you meet at the conference, or anything you may need to pick up while there.  From what I've been told about Seattle, and about these sorts of conferences, I could probably safely add another $300 or so to the bill.  So now at a conservative estimate I've passed $1,600.

Of course I could do things like find someone to split a hotel room with, and probably just not do the dinner/drinks thing, but after a point the cost cutting gets in the way of what these conferences are about: meeting folks in the field.

I could probably swallow the travel costs if the conference pass didn't virtually double the cost.  It almost seems like the pricing is setup to keep out people who aren't either on that side of the country already, or who don't have a corporate card to cover the costs.

Maybe someday there will be a tech conference here in the midwest....

Yeah, right.


Comments (Page 1)
on Apr 16, 2008
Pirillo's done well for himself indeed.  

The question is really "How valuable is networking with you peers worth?"  If you don't think of it as a cost but as an investment over time it may make more sense.
on Apr 16, 2008

Yeah, it sucks all the "decent" conferences are usually somewhere on the left coast or in Vegas.  Nothing really comes to the Orlando area either.  The only thing around here is TechEd and it's a few thousand dollars to attend. 

on Apr 16, 2008
You have me sold on its importance, you should try to pitch the idea to your superiors. They me be willing to let you expense it. Like Zubaz says its an investment.
on Apr 16, 2008

A $1600 or higher price tag is a pretty hard sell, especially with something of such an intangible value.

If the conference price were lower, I could probably sell it though.  That's the real kicker about this one.  It would have been much more likely if the pass itself wasn't so expensive.

on Apr 16, 2008
How about you front it and report back on the value . . have Mr. I-own-my-own-software-company pay you what it's worth to him.  You eat the rest. 
on Apr 16, 2008
Unfortunately, I don't have the money this year for something like this... not even close.
on Apr 16, 2008
Oh, come on, Richard. It's not the size of your fwoosh, it's how you use it.

You'll figure something out.
on Apr 16, 2008
Unfortunately, I don't have the money this year for something like this... not even close.
You could try to go the other way.  Convince management to front the bill and based on what you come back with you pay them back for any costs that don't enhance the company.  
on Apr 16, 2008
Hear's an idea, convince the boss that going to this and other conferences and conventions have a two fold benefit. You not only gain the knowledge of the focus of the conference you also bring back with you how a conference should be runned so that Stardock can put on their own.  

Well maybe not a great idea.   

on Apr 16, 2008

WinkyCon 2010!

on Apr 16, 2008
Left coast FTW!
on Apr 16, 2008



WinkyCon 2010!

That name might be taken already.

on Apr 16, 2008

I felt the same way when I saw a Linux festival up in Bellingham! I feel for ya, man!

 

S'ok, I might be bringing a very interesting open source project to my little corner of the globe. I'll keep y'all posted.

on Apr 17, 2008
Um well, how much lower do you think the conference price would need to be? I can kick in some. Maybe we can take up a collection here.
on Apr 17, 2008

Um well, how much lower do you think the conference price would need to be? I can kick in some. Maybe we can take up a collection here.

I appreciate the offer to collect money, but I have to decline   

The post wasn't about begging for the cash to go, it was more a rant on how silly the price for something like this can get.  And how being on the other side of the country from the "main area" of your field can affect things.

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