Brock Pierce’s comments that “the most likely way to get me to attend your conference is to throw really good parties” demonstrate the direction that crypto conferences have taken over recent years.
Of course, their official purpose, according to Bitcoin.com, is to offer attendees a few days of seminars, panel discussions and keynote speeches from leading industry figures, and if one is lucky, to make a business proposition to a fellow CEO.
That’s not exactly what they look like in the crypto age, in fact, they appear to have cast off the uncomfortable stage group discussion in front of an auditorium full of eager followers, for a gig more likely to have been stage-produced for Glastonbury festival.
The last big one, the Futurama Summit in Dubai, with its desert convoys, star-studded yacht party, a bar to drown the sorrows of the most discerning drinkers, fleets of helicopters, hot air balloons, and a massive firework extravaganza, is a recent case in point, even without the Lambos that New York provided two weeks earlier.
Some commentators suggest that the reason that such conferences are “defined by hospitality”, rather than the event itineraries, is down to the pure power of face-to-face interactions.
“The most valuable deals weren’t sealed in the meeting rooms or conference halls; they were concluded with bumped fists while sharing shishas at the Desert Rose Party; in the hot tub aboard a yacht with the city lights glittering across the bay; in the rooftop bar 37 floors up a New York skyscraper,” writes Bitcoin.com.
In Dubai, scene of Pierce’s marriage, the actual blockchain discussions were basically moulded around networking events and basically, having fun. However, these events don’t come cheap, with admission prices running into the thousands of dollars; many happy to pay these after striking up a rewarding business relationship or tapping into yet another good idea.
The parties become the business end, in the same way, that music festivals are less about the music and more about letting go. Ticket holders may have time to squeeze in a panel, but the parties could be the attendees’ next big startup.
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