It’s that time of the year again. To commemorate the 15th anniversary edition of t2, we wanted to open up the reasoning behind the frequent reminders to allocate training budget for t2 and our friendly suggestions for early registration.
Before getting to the nitty gritty it’s important to highlight that we organize t2 out of love, both for community/scene and hackerdom. This cannot be done for any other reason.
Conferences, and event business in general, imposes certain rules of business and financial terms on the organizers. These are location and time insensitive, and apply to most parts of the world.
- Needs to be booked well in advance, and unless you have been doing business for a long time, they require a prepayment of some sort.
- Once you confirm dates, you are committed. Cancellation terms do exist but it’s not like you can bail out at the last moment.
- Multiple this by the number of locations (e.g. you plan on organizing dinners related to the event).
- To offset for invoices due before the event, you either need to have healthy finances with some buffer from the previous years or take a loan (usually from the main organizer who takes the biggest financial risk personally). If ticket sales start early, you might have enough cash flow to balance everything out.
- Travel arrangements
- After CFP is done, you have the confirmed speakers and the event is nearer, the booking of flights begins. If you are covering 100% travel cost, you want to optimize the time of purchase to get the best price. Not too soon, not too late.
- Here you have the risk of cancellations, or other last minute changes – all part of normal life.
- Scale economics
- Applies to your business only if you’re Jeff Moss. Forget you ever heard the term, more important jargon is MOQ.
- Smaller the number of maximum attendees and planned financial upside, smaller the window of error between loss, breakeven and profit.
- Depending on the year, sponsors might save the day when it comes to event’s financial performance. Fewer sponsors means smaller risk margin.
- Some sponsors would prefer to have the attendance list (with contact details, of course) or buy speaking slots. t2 does sells neither of those.
- Please take a moment to check out what the valued sponsors are doing during the event and online. Few events could do without them.
- Conference schwag
- Needs to be ordered well in advance to account for unexpected delays. Typically a prepayment is required, as your vendor needs to pay their suppliers and/or material.
- Even when using high quality partners, you will have defects. More professional the partner, the easier it will be sort out the mess.
- You end up ordering a good amount of extras to account for everything, and then giving these away for free the following year (or during the year, unless you organize an exclusive luxury fashion event in case you burn the extras with the receipts)
Having been in the game for well over a decade, most of it with the same partners, we have been able to build the trust and negotiate cash flow friendly payment terms. It’s like playing Tetris during the year with the calendar, but the blocks are invoices and you are actually gambling.
Nevertheless, each year the familiar friendly faces in the audience, the first timers and returning speakers make it all worthwhile. It’s an honor to have the event filled with enough intelligence to make your brain hurt. With that out there in the open, we hope you register your ticket to this year’s 15th anniversary celebrations sooner than later!