As mentioned in my previous post, I had the opportunity to talk to a number of people — some on twitter, some in person and some even on my way to Mix — about why they didn’t come to Mix.
The responses from the community were very interesting. Of course, I received some very useful and some very comedic responses on twitter.
In response to my query about why some wouldn’t come to Mix, @ardalis responded, “You’re looking for a list of 6 billion people not going to MIX?”. Touché my friend. I wasn’t looking for EVERY reason some were not attending this year, I was looking to understand what regular conference-goers and community-influentials were not coming and why. Here are some of the main reasons I received:
Many of the individuals who responded were too busy working to take time off and come to Mix. @brheal said “Wish I could be there! Always falls at the end of tax season (tax software developer).” I thought this was a one-off but I soon received another response from my friend @pmourfield who said “I wish that #MIX11 didn’t fall during the last week of tax season. So wishing I was able to be there!” Apart from tax software developers, others are just too involved with their clients. @mranlett said, “I didn’t make it to #MIX11 this year. Busy satisfying client needs & working on proposals for future work w/future clients.” And of course @dpenton stated that “I have too much work happening right now.” That’s completely understandable on all accounts. I wish you all could be here too.
It’s too Expensive
My friend @akcoder isn’t coming because, in his words, “I am not going because I’m saving my travel/conference budget for PDC.” It seems understandable that most of us have to pick and choose where we spend our money and pay for conferences where we see the most value for our needs. Yet another long-time friend and Microsoft MVP @sarajchipps told me “I’m not, because it is waaaay too expensive for an independent.” When pressed as to what value would be appropriate to make it not so expensive, Sara indicated “That’s a great question, I would want to go to talks and events… I could live without the food and amenities.” She went on “my budget is usually around $500 for a pass when it comes to conferences.” At further prompting and discussion amongst others in the community said “I’ve pretty much gone without MS conferences this year. Last year I was given a few passes, but $1500+ isn’t at all feasible.” It would appear that some of the independents are feeling the squeeze on financial resources. Of course @robwindsor had a solution “Mix should have something like TechEd Exhbit Hall pass ($100). Gets you into Commons and Connect lounge”. That’s a fair point and perhaps we can give that feedback to the folks running Mix. I have it from the rumor mill that Microsoft already loses money at the conferences, but you never know if something like this is possible. This seems to be overwhelmingly more important considering the number of responses in this category. @simonech said that he “cannot afford 2 flight[s] to the US in less than 2 months (been at mvp11)AND ticket + hotel/flight could be off budget for my company.” Truly we must all pick our battles. Response after response from this point forward seemed to point to the cost of the conference — either the cost of the conference itself, or the complete cost after hotel, flight, food, ground transport and of course the conference.
So why haven’t you come to the conference? Why did you come to Mix this year? What did you hope to get out of the conference? Alternatively, why didn’t you come this year? What is competing for your time/money? What would make the conference most valuable to you?
Thanks for reading. Stay tuned until later on this morning when I cover the keynote presentations!