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Preview: Comments on: Problems at BlogWorld 2009: part 1, speaker’s perspective

Comments on: Problems at BlogWorld 2009: part 1, speaker’s perspective

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By: Wade Kwon

Tue, 08 Dec 2009 15:37:22 +0000

Thanks, Rachel. We'll have to wait and see if the issues get resolved, but I do want people to weigh in with any problems and solutions they have.

By: Rachel @ Grasping for Objectivity in my Subjective Life

Tue, 08 Dec 2009 03:01:27 +0000

Great post, Wade. This is a great example of how to handle issues constructively and without malice and be able to (obviously) get the issues resolved. I am impressed.

By: Twitted by Mary_Rarick

Fri, 04 Dec 2009 00:40:24 +0000

[...] This post was Twitted by Mary_Rarick [...]

By: Wade Kwon

Thu, 03 Dec 2009 22:17:26 +0000

Rick, I appreciate your apology and your forthrightness. I wish both had come sooner, but I can certainly understand what it's like to be under the gun for weeks and months on end, with no time to stop. My humble suggestion at this point is to tap into the vast number of attendees, speakers and sponsors and survey the hell outta them. Look for as much feedback as possible from overall satisfaction to staff support to friendliness to how comfortable the chairs were. It will not be cheap or easy. However, you stand to reap big rewards from the start by showing you care about the customers' needs and complaints. From that information, you and the rest of the team will need to chart a course that will bring maximum benefit for the least amount of pain. I do look forward to talking with you more in the coming days. I know I am just one among many, and I hope hope hope that my experience was limited to just a handful of people. Thank you for taking time to respond.

By: Wade Kwon

Thu, 03 Dec 2009 22:06:47 +0000

Thanks, Jill. I look forward to hearing what everyone has to contribute.

By: Wade Kwon

Thu, 03 Dec 2009 22:06:15 +0000

Jim, Thanks for taking time to respond. Whether it was inexperience or other factors, I believe open communication goes a long way toward keeping speakers and organizers working together for the best event possible. For a first-time BlogWorld speaker, I felt I was shouting into a vast empty space. I had anticipated a big boost by talking about a unique topic to a knowledgeable audience. Instead, I felt shortchanged, almost sabotaged, in dealing with someone else's mistake. So while in theory it may be a big boost to a company, I found it to be, as my post labeled it, a speaker's worst nightmare. If I'm the only one of more than 300 speakers to endure this situation, then that is fortunate for all involved. I would hate to think any other speaker faced this problem. As you suggest, it is likely impractical to compensate all 300 speakers. But maybe there are other ways speakers can be compensated. Have you asked them what would be of value to them? Perhaps some are more than willing to trade exposure for their speaking time. I believe speakers may be open to all sorts of compensation. But for myself, I am reaching the point where each potential event must be weighed more critically for ROI. And I believe events, like BlogWorld, must evolve and figure out innovative ways to put on an affordable yet valuable event for attendees, speakers and sponsors. I will add more in the coming days, but I wanted to give a thoughtful response to your informative comment. Thanks again.

By: Problems at BlogWorld 2009: part 2, attendee’s perspective « Birmingham Blogging Academy

Thu, 03 Dec 2009 20:03:55 +0000

[...] I have contacted BlogWorld, specifically CEO and co-founder Rick Calvert, repeatedly about these issues in the six-plus weeks since the conference ended. You can read more about it in Part 1. [...]

By: Rick Calvert

Thu, 03 Dec 2009 14:31:49 +0000

Thank you for the post Wade and the constructive criticism. I take full responsibility for the lack of communication post-show. Honestly I was completely worn out and needed to unplug and sped some time with my family. This event is a labor of love for me and has taken nearly every waking moment of my life for the last four years, and it’s still a new and growing event, just like the new media industry overall. We have a pretty compact team; it’s me and my partner Dave Cynkin planning and promoting the event, Patti who takes loving care of all the young new media companies exhibiting, our friend and new Conference Director Jim Turner who has dedicated his professional life to new media with his company One By One Media, and basically insisted on helping us from day one (promoting, hosting BlogWorld Expo Radio and evangelizing to others about what this event and industry was becoming--thank you, Jim!), a part-time operations and management staff, and many friends lending a hand who we’re grateful for. We’ve been trying to keep pace with growth of BlogWorld and our industry and overall, it’s been a great success. In some ways however, such as organizing and communicating with roughly 350 speakers efficiently, we’re still in our infancy and have a ways to go before everything is as we’d like it to be (and as you rightfully expect it should be). Every young company experiences growing pains; staffing, organizing, planning, promoting, juggling finances, enlisting help and resources, etc. This year was especially tough because we really pushed hard to grow the conference despite the worst economic year in recent memory. At the same time, we became unexpectedly short-handed on our team and hadn’t filled gaps in time. Dave and I bought out our third partner who managed operations and needed a change from the always challenging (and frankly, pretty grueling) business life of a new venture, Patti had to take time away to support her family better, we acquired New Media Expo and financed that ourselves, and all the while Dave and I took on more job roles and simply didn’t sleep. It wasn’t what we’d intended, but we were committed to making a better and more comprehensive event than last year, regardless of what challenges came our way. Jim Turner bravely (or insanely, depending on how you look at it, lol) took on several new job roles including Conference Director. He was overwhelmed. I warned Jim how much work it would be, but knew he would have to experience it himself before he truly understood to scope. I still know it was the right decision because of Jim’s commitment to social media and to BlogWorld. As Jim has already said, I know he learned a ton this year and will have a much better handle on things for 2010. We also realized albeit too late this year, that the conference had just grown too big for one person to handle and brought Becky Carroll in to help Jim about a month before the show. That’s when you started getting those emails asking for materials. We have made plans to get Jim the help he needs much earlier for 2010. I don’t tell you all of this to offer excuses Wade, I am just being as transparent as I can possibly be. The communication timing and errors on our part were not because we didn’t care, but simply because we had been overwhelmed by a growing event at a time when we had less resources and people than needed to support it. All in all I think this year’s event was the best ever. The tweets, posts and podcasts people have posted since the event, including your post, support that. Thank you again for your kind words and constructive criticisms. I absolutely take it in the spirit you intended; to make us better. In some important ways, BlogWorld was a huge success this year, and in others we fell down. In this case, we made you feel less valued than you truly are[...]

By: Jill Stanek

Thu, 03 Dec 2009 13:41:40 +0000

As the one who queried Wade in his session whether he was going to speak on the topic the bwe brochure said he was going to speak about, I appreciate the tenor of the dialogue between Wade and Jim. It does somehow seem poetic that the attempted resolution play out on a blog. You both are leading by example.

By: Jim "Genuine" Turner

Thu, 03 Dec 2009 05:30:20 +0000

Wade, I really appreciate this post and its feedback. I can assure you all of these things have been discussed at length in our feedback sessions among the staff and the principals. I will not address each item directly, and will await part 2 before getting into too much detail in my response for now. I am not going to make excuses for the problems you list save one, it was due to my inexperience in the process and management of the speakers. I take full responsibility for most of the problems you experienced. I had no idea how a conference of this magnitude was put together from start to finish. I can assure you that the experience gained in the last show will change many procedures and processes that you speak of in 2010. For now I am going to answer your four questions. 1. Yes. 2. Yes. Time was a problem with promotion of speakers and the event itself and this is something we intend on doing much better. I think the opposite question is a response to the secondary question in number 2, "What benefits can come to your brand and reputation for speaking at 'one of the premier social media conferences in the world.'" 3. I put networking and attending events in the overall marketing budget for my company. I think this can be answered again by asking the question above in number 2 response. 4. This is a good question and I am not sure how to respond. Blogging is a free resource and you post information and spend time here. You do this for business purposes to increase your exposure, your expertise, and your stature in your community. We had in excess of 350 speakers at our event. To pay each speaker and to provide expenses to each speaker would make it completely unaffordable to even the most deep pocket attendee. In fact we have had many complaints that our conference is already unaffordable to many. We could pay all of the speakers and provide them with limo rides to and from the airport and all the amenities, but it would be passed on to the attendee as a cost. I suppose the question to ask there is "Are you as an attendee willing to pay more for us to have the ability to pay our speakers?" I look forward to Part 2 Wade and this again is great feedback and looked at by everyone. I really hope you entertain the idea of speaking at BlogWorld & New Media Expo in 2010. Our call for applications is going to occur much earlier.

By: Wade Kwon

Thu, 03 Dec 2009 04:28:18 +0000

Thanks, Chrispian. I'm hoping that a transparent, public discussion will bring up solutions that can help everyone. It's sad that it's come to this, but I want social media to practice what it preaches.

By: uberVU - social comments

Thu, 03 Dec 2009 02:43:07 +0000

Social comments and analytics for this post... This post was mentioned on Twitter by WadeOnTweets: A social media event that fails at service: Problems with BlogWorld 2009, part 1: #bwe09...

By: chrispian

Thu, 03 Dec 2009 02:40:39 +0000

I'm a big fan of bwe as well. I'm not all that surprised at the lack of communication though, for a couple of reasons. 1. Seems to be common among conferences. Not all, but fairly common. 2. This conference is still fairly new, so some growing pains are to be expected. Still, I am surprised that the delays were so long, or non existent. I've known Rick and Jim and I'm sure they'll welcome the constructive criticism here. Anything that improves the experience is good for everyone. Great article, look forward to part 2.

By: Tweets that mention Problems at BlogWorld 2009: part 1, speaker’s perspective « Birmingham Blogging Academy --

Thu, 03 Dec 2009 00:15:52 +0000

[...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Wade Kwon and Ike Pigott, Mary Rarick. Mary Rarick said: You were (and are) a rock star, Wade. RT @WadeOnTweets: Problems with BlogWorld 2009, part 1: #bwe09 [...]