Michael D. Hall

Michael D. Hall Just3Ws

Niner since 2004


  • Hanselminut​es on 9 - The Death of the Professional Conference Speaker

  • Hanselminut​es on 9 - The Death of the Professional Conference Speaker

    @JBrechtel He may have thrown a bone to the code campers after Scott pressed him. But overall the vibe I got was definitely down on amateur speakers. I hope that I didn't sound like I was making a personal attack on Ted, I just adamantly disagree with his position and the attitude. I don't agree that small venue speakers have any noticeable negative effect on the professional speakers. The state of the economy, lack of interest, some other undefined changes may have affected attendance, but I doubt that user groups and code camps are to blame.

    Conversely, I do agree that unqualified speakers can have a negative impact. But, as with all things free or run by amateurs things will be bumpy for a while. Code Camps and User Groups have grown tremendously over the past few years and seem to still be growing in attendance, size and maturity. They are uniquely positioned to address the needs of their community. And as the community grows so will the quality of their presentations and speakers. So, despite some potential bumps in the road I believe the community developers will reap massive benefits from community events and speaking opportunities. And that benefit far outweights Ted's concerns about his sweet gig's and big paychecks from being curtailed. I'm as willing to give up my community as he is willing to give up his.

  • Hanselminut​es on 9 - The Death of the Professional Conference Speaker

    Scott, your comments were awesome. It sounded like you were getting a little annoyed there too. Good on ya man,

     Ted your comments are pretty elitist sounding. So, only "professional speakers" know how to modulate their voices and elicit feedback from an audience. Weak, pass. Getting past the sheer condescension of those statements, let's consider these events like US Baseball Leagues.

    In US Baseball we have the Minor and the Major Leagues (basically). Community Events are like the Minor League, mostly made up of individuals and smaller companies who might not have enough pull to compete with larger companies or haven’t the experience yet to warrant getting a podium at larger events. Usually they do it because they want to. They have a desire to participate, or would like to take a shot at presenting for a variety of possible reasons. Just like a Minor League game the cost of entry is low to free, depending on the venue. Also, the events are usually more geographically focused and are intended to draw local attendance, with little to no budget for advertising. Most professional speakers wouldn’t even consider speaking at one of these events.

    The larger, paid (hoboy are they paid, tickets at $3500 for 3 days, WTF) conferences are the big leagues. These are the realm of the Big Name Speakers who can demand high salaries but draw large audiences with deep pockets. They are usually the best of the best in their field (at least the best talkers) and are the superstars of their industry.

    So my question is does the presence of a minor league negatively impact the major league? No. Minor League audiences are often two types: the type who can’t afford Major League events and those who go to both. If as a professional speaker you wish to quash the community and diminish the efforts of the individuals who are passionate about their industry and desire to share their knowledge and enthusiasm then you obviously need a better perspective. Maybe you’re afraid of competition? I don’t know, but there will be talented individuals coming out of these community events and moving up to the big leagues, even if they’re still having a little trouble with modulating their voices right now.

    What I'd like to see is the professional speakers trying to cultivate their communities. From what I understand, although I don't often agree with his methods, Bellware is doing in the Austin area. From what I understand, he doesn't see minor league speakers as the enemy to be feared. Instead, we're a resource to be cultivated and a talent pool to draw upon.