@Just3Ws, I didn't get that from Ted's comments at all.  It sounded more to me like he was just saying that there is value in professional speakers/presenters and that free conferences like code camps may be cannibalizing paid for conferences.  However, he even stated explicitly at one point in the talk that the free conferences like code camps were a good thing.  It just sounded to me like he was observing a potential problem but didn't have a specific solution.  

I agree that there's value in professional speakers.  I've seen first hand how a neophyte speaker at a code camp can ruin what was an interesting topic for people.  The code camp in question was great, free, and my friends and I had a great time there.  It was just unfortunate that the speaker for one of the talks we attended turned most of them off to a particular topic because he couldn't present it well.

If Ted was advocating ending free conferences to save professional speakers then I'd definitely agree, but I don't think he was.  Even if they're cannibalizing those paid conferences that doesn't mean they're the enemy.  

Increasing the quality of the paid for conferences sounds like the solution.  In the end, I don't think free conferences can ever totally displace paid for conferences.  The free conferences will just foster improvement in the paid ones through competition.  

 

PS:  Thanks for the videos Scott.  Please post more if you have them.