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Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Should World Domination Summit become more like SXSW?

World Domination Summit 2013
Image: World Domination Summit venue and Portland sign

I've been going to SXSW for over seven years now, and this was my first time at World Domination Summit. I went based on the recommendation of my friend CC Chapman. He raved about last year's conference.
Little moments of magic are hard to explain.

When you live through one, you know in your heart and soul that you were part of something and yet trying to explain it to others who did not witness it in person is near impossible. This is where I am now. Trying to explain this past weekend in Portland at the World Domination Summit.
There were approximately 2,000 more people this year. The conference is growing, and with that growth, it might be experiencing some pain.

Many attendees have written about the inspiring and amazing speakers. A selection of posts are linked to over here: WDS 2013: A Partial and Impartial Recap.

I enjoyed many of the speakers too, but there are some things that could be improved for next year:

THE VENUE
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Image: Full Theatre Credit: Armosa Studios

The Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall was a beautiful hall, but it wasn't open all day.

MAIN HALL CLOSED 12:30 - 4:30
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Image: Empty Theatre Credit: Armosa Studios

The Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall was closed between lunch and the afternoon speakers which started at 4:30. This meant that attendees were on their own for about four hours in the middle of the day, not including the breakout workshop sessions.

At SXSW, the main conference center is open all day. Sessions also happen throughout the day too. That leads to random interaction between attendees. If you don't have anywhere to go, you can head over to the convention center and and sit on the ground floor by the doors, in the hallways, or at a blogger lounge. You could even drop into a session to see if you like it. I use the rule of two feet. Since many of the sessions are in the same building, if you don't like one session, you can leave and check out another.

BREAKOUT WORKSHOP SESSIONS


The breakout workshop sessions were first-come first-served. Some people who wanted to attend were turned away. In other cases, a speaker was brought into the hallway so the overflow crowd could listen. If the main venue was open all day, breakout sessions could be held in larger rooms that could handle more people. Overflow rooms with a video feed is another solution to lack of space.

Every year SXSW learns which popular speakers to put in larger rooms.

World Domination Summit 2013 IS SPONSOR FREE


There were no corporate sponsors at World Domination Summit.

At the end of the day one, attendees were encouraged to check out the Jazz Fest, explore the city, or attend some meetups.

At SXSW, each night there are many sponsored events that attendees can meet at. I don't think sponsorship is a bad thing when it helps bring people together.

Allhat III
Image: Allhat III by Geoff Livingston

That's the All Hat party at SXSW sponsored by Chevy. They got up and said a few words and that was it. No hard sell. Those that were interested could go talk with the Chevy representatives. I did and ended up taking a few cars on a test drive. Win/Win.

It'll be interesting to see what World Domination Summit does for 2014. Get smaller, stay the same, or get larger.

I hope these thoughts help to make it better.

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