By Jim Storer, Principal & Co-Founder, The Community Roundtable
I have a love/hate relationship with events. It goes back a few years, when I worked as a program director for an events management company. I loved being the guy who focused on bringing together all these super smart people to engage and discuss important topics. It’s exhilarating when it all comes together and the vendors, speakers and attendees start connecting on the show floor, in the conference rooms. But the internet came along and changed the game. Face-to-face events were no longer the only way to meet, learn from and build relationships with like-minded people. Attendance shrunk and vendors grew upset with the dwindling numbers on the show floor. Building events became less a labor of love and more a thankless pursuit.
I shifted my focus to online communities and occasionally thought about face-to-face events, usually when attending one on my own. There were smaller rooms, fewer parties and more games to get attendees to visit the vendors. For the most part it made me sad, knowing how hard people worked to pull it all together for that result.
When Rachel and I started The Community Roundtable I admitted my disdain for the current state of events and suggested we should only host one if it was “different.” Over the last six years we’ve attended a lot of events that focus on community building – put on by independent third parties or vendors in the space – and there have been bright spots. Over the last year or so we’ve contemplated what a CR event might look like and in the last six months we began planning in earnest.
TheCR Connect is our attempt to mimic in an offline space what we see happening online every day in TheCR Network. We’ve collaborated with members to create a safe, fun space to share, learn and connect with like-minded peers. We’ll practice the online art of “surprise and delight” and do our best to make sure everyone is able to create long lasting relationships with the people they “need to know” in the audience. I’m excited to be jumping back into the event business… more excited than I’d ever thought I’d be.
I hope you can join us early next month in Boston or at one our locations in 2016.