I have started this post a while ago and I am completing it now… in the first serious flight post-beach, to San Francisco.
This is far from being a promotion of FinTechStage.
It is an objective look back, hoping you guys will react and help the team improve on this new adventure, that could have different futures and certainly is a precious ground of experience.
1) Business Model
Everyone is trying to find out the successful economics of an event business and many have tried, including us.
Truth is if you want to privilege the quality of the crowd you are inviting and keep the dimension of the event small enough for the network to be effective, you have to rely too much on sponsoring, which is leads to a process fatigue after a while.
Ultimately, the fundamental reason for most of the people to participate to an event. Point is : there is a FinTech (bigger and bigger) Friends & Family crowd that most of the good events are reassembling. The challenge is to avoid 90% of the attendees coming to meet the same 10% of the gurus. There is nothing wrong with it, but what’s it for the gurus ?
You cannot avoid a third of the content to be boring for a combination of the following factors :
– some content has to be sponsors driven (if you rely too much on them),
– you have to experiment with new speakers and sometimes you don’t have enough quality time to figure out what the delivery will look like,
– explore content out of the “FinTech comfort zone”: insurance, FinTech wearables, corporate treasury, etc.
If you pay your speakers, you can be certain that unless your event has thousands of tickets sold (like Sibos) you will likely loose money.
You also want to avoid the “usual speaking to the usual” vicious circle and – most importantly – a speaker has to come for more than his/her speech, make everyone has a different objective.
What I would like to plan is for someone to come over and almost have a personalised agenda that we help building. That alone can comfortably justify the time spent on a conference.
5) Give versus Get
Conferences run by marketing agencies or solely event company are likely to die or get acquired by someone with more money that will fall in the same fatigue sooner or later. I asked myself repeatedly if I should do JUST FinTechStage. The biggest challenge would be to juggle between the pressure of having this as the sole revenue source versus something complementary to the other business I run (the investor, the start-up coach, the evangelist). Some of it can blend, of course, but if you can experiment, expand the topics and invited the right audience, be flexible on who you partner with, that allows you to give (to the community) before you get (mostly money).
Instead of money, what you get by focusing on giving, is the trust and the credibility in the (FinTech, in this case) space.
Now, watch the space as we will announce soon more events and new partnerships.