Apple’s annual Worldwide Developer Conference in San Francisco stands as the pinacle of technical conferences, and the ultimate experience for App Makers. So much so that last year’s conference sold its 10K tickets in less than 8 hours. With expansion of the conference unlikely, it’s time for a conference of equal size and quality for Europe.
The Appsterdam World Expo will be the European conference for App Makers—a conference to rival WWDC in quality, and eventually size, but open to App Makers on all platforms to explore the marriage of engineering, design, business, marketing, and legal in building the future.
For the first year, we’re shooting for a two-day weekend conference, 5 tracks, 2000 attendees. In order to achieve WWDC-quality talks, we’ll precede the conference with an intensive 5-day speaker camp, where industry-leading speakers will hone their presentations by practicing in front of the toughest crowd in the industry: each other.
While we have such an illustrious jury, we’ll take a look at all the apps in the world and decide which ones we like the best. We’ll give those ones really nice looking trophies and declare them winners of the 2012 World App Awards.
The hook for getting the good speakers is going to be 6 months notice and business class tickets for them and their partners, who we’ll send to a spa or something.
In order to pull this off, we’ve assembled a dream team of the world’s best conference organizers. The 360 conferences in the US and NSConference in the UK have consistently been the best sponsored and unsponsored conferences in the world for App Makers, but they are quite small.
Trifork puts on large conferences and does a very professional job of it, though their experience lags behind that of the smaller conferences. If we can graft the 360/NSConference experience onto Trifork rootstock, we might just get it to scale into something really special.
Thus, the NSConference crew will join forces with the 360 crew to handle the front end, while Trifork will handle the back end. Appsterdam will handle the hype and provide a volunteer force. Dom Sagolla will serve as an adjunct advisor to Appsterdam for this project.
Trifork is currently looking at venue options, and will come up with a budget proposal. We’re currently shooting for September, and hope other events around that time will organize around us to form Technology Week in Amsterdam.
We are currently planning to get together in Amsterdam the week of 10 January to scope out venues and nail down the details.
One of the things we as an organization have been best at is organizing events. We’ve organized two launch parties and are planning a third and final party for the Spring. The expo is the next step in developing those skills, with the added benefit of having mentorship for our partners.
This annual event will replace our launch parties as the central project that keeps people focused and working. It will serve as our chance to show off the ecosystem and the organization behind it. It will also help establish ourselves as an authority to the community, aided by our granting of awards.
The conference will increase the profile of the city, nation, and Europe as technology producers. It will also benefit European developers who are unable to get tickets to WWDC, or otherwise unwilling or unable to deal with the expense and hassle of traveling to the States.
Finally, and although they might not see it this way, this conference will benefit Apple by taking some of the pressure off of WWDC. It will be difficult for them to make their conference bigger, but they still want their developers to be served by someone with similar values.
The current plan calls for a budget of €3M with a profit margin of 25%. Divided among 2000 attendees, that comes to a ticket price of €1500, which is on the high side of reasonable. We hope to lower that cost and reach out to lower-income attendees with the help of some sponsors.
Ultimately, this is intended to be a profitable venture, and we will have to come up with a good way to distribute those profits that accounts for the differential contributions from differently size organization, while not insulting anyone.
The current thinking, as of yet unproposed, is to use a bicameral approach that splits the profits into two even piles, the first of which will simply be divided evenly between Appsterdam, Trifork, 360, and NSConference.
The second half will be divided unevenly, guided by the number of unbilled hours logged by each organization, with the caveat that we all agree to the final percentages before the second and final disbursement.