Questioning the Value of Pressnomics
As I was browsing twitter this afternoon, I came across this tweet:
Tomorrow, Monday June 10th, tickets will go on sale for Pressnomics 2 and I'm sure tickets will sell fast.
But the question still stands – can a single event be worth 10 of our normally awesome WordCamps. My answer – yesterday, today, and tomorrow is yes. And here's where I'll make the business case. But before I do, I want to tell you a quick story.
Not Running with the Crowd
My friend Ben had worked with me for a couple of years when he decided he wanted to go to grad school. Now I've been to grad school and enjoyed it. But it's not for everyone. And many of the MBA programs (what he was looking at) aren't really worth the time or money.
So we sat to talk about it. And I explained that some programs are worth the price because of the people you meet. They're a special group that's worth networking with. But if you're not going to go to one of those programs, it's worth investing in having a different experience. After all, tons of freshly minted MBAs all fight for the same positions and look alike.
So Ben decided to head to Europe to study abroad – which resulted in some fantastically unique experiences. And his education and experience were better for it. Ben went on to work for Dell and Amazon in Europe, and today is an SVP at ShareThis in San Francisco.
Pressnomics 2 Won't Be Pressnomics
We've all seen sequels. We know they're hard to pull off (unless it's Die Hard, in which case they're all pure awesome and I won't hear any debate!). Pressnomics will have more people who want to attend it than ever before. This year there is a calendar challenge that will mean some people don't go, even though they were there last year. So while I know it will be great, I know it will be different. It will be great in it's own new way.
But in some ways, Pressnomics 2 will be better than Pressnomics 1 ever could have been. Many of you have seen the recent discussion around whether WordCamps are the place for Business Tracks. Before Pressnomics, that wasn't even a discussion. Sure we had Real Estate tracks and occasional talks for freelancers, but no one ever thought of them as business tracks.
This year, unlike last, the community has been prepped for Pressnomics. And a prepared community is a stronger one – because the discussions will kick off sooner, go deeper, and challenge each other more.
What's a WordCamp Worth?
Let's do some simple review on the value of a WordCamp before we answer the question. What do people get, in terms of value, from a WordCamp. Well the answer depends on who you are.
If you are a new person to the community, WordCamps give you four things, at minimum:
- A new community to embrace, with names and faces of people who can support you
- Introductions to the platform – for sites, blogs, and applications
- Some specific answers to specific questions at a happiness bar
- Some sessions that enlighten you about the power of WordPress
Other than #1, most of the rest of this you can get from a good book. So is $25 worth the day? You bet. Because who reads anymore?
If you've been around a bit, WordCamps offer you three things, at minimum:
- Ability to reconnect face to face with some local friends you don't see enough
- Ability to talk about a specific set of challenges and find out how to solve it (often in the halls)
- A chance to hear a great, inspiring & educational talk that challenges you to try something new
Again, is that worth $25? Sure. It's likely worth 2-4 times that. Because now you're likely making money from what you're learning. So a $25 investment can make you a few hundred dollars. That more than makes up for burning a Saturday indoors rather than out with friends and family.
And if you've been around a bunch and run a WordPress business (as a freelancer or small dev shop), they offer you at least two things:
- A chance to give back (while bolstering your credibility) by giving you a chance to speak
- A chance to connect with old friends, new partners, and prospective clients
Is that worth $25? Sure. Why not? You get 50-100 people to hear you share some insight, get to spend time with a few key friends in the halls for most of the day, and maybe catch a meal with a prospect that you set up to meet at the event. It's easily worth a few times more than the $25, and much more if you net a new project that pays for all your WordCamps that year.
Different for Different People
What you notice from my lists above are intentional. I think the value is always way more than $25 for anyone attending, but different people clearly get different things from the event. And that's just in my perspective. Ask 10 others and I'm sure you'll get 10 other opinions.
But what's clear is that WordCamps can't deliver the same exact thing for everyone. People who've been around the community for several years are likely not going to be as engaged in that next session on custom post types – no matter how awesome a presentation it is.
That's why you need a Pressnomics event. For a specific group of people who want something different. Something a WordCamp can't necessarily deliver.
Not all Programmers are Alike
If you've spent as long as I have in the technology space (going on 20 years this year) then you know four things are certain:
- There are some developers who are 10x faster than other developers.
- Technology platforms never last forever.
- Technology platforms last way longer than you think they will.
- Some developers prefer the dark, with an amber-lit monitor, and no desire to talk to people.
Of this list, only 1 & 4 are pertinent to this discussion. But they're very pertinent. Because just like some developers are much faster and more productive than others, some conferences are too. And while some developers only want to hone their development skills, others would like to earn some nice money from their craft.
When you put that together, I think you see why I think events like Pressnomics are critical. Because they bring the developers to the table that also want to run a business. Or are trying to. They may not want to grow to be more than a four person company, but that says nothing about their desire to generate profit.
They are great at being developers but recognize they need to go somewhere else to develop business chops (or find someone with those capabilities to help them).
They come to Pressnomics and find that in the sessions and in the hallways, business models, revenue creation, segmentation, attrition, lifetime value, and more are being discussed. Oh, those may not be the words they use, but they're trying to solve the business problems they're facing.
And a single question that gets answered could mean a 50% increase in revenue or a 50% decrease in attrition. Is that worth $250 – yes. Every day this week. And twice on Sundays.
Here's the real Question
I know it's no surprise I'm backing Pressnomics this year. I was the first sponsor, the first ticket holder, and a huge proponent of business tracks at WordCamps. So you knew the answer before you started reading this post.
But here's the real question I have for people asking the question.
In what other way will you spend $250 on your business that will have the potential to have such a significant impact?
Answer that for me. I'm seriously looking forward to hearing your responses.