In my recent LinkedIn poll that asked ‘If I ran a physical, real-life, 1 day event in September/October, what’s the maximum number of people you’d feel comfortable being amongst?’, I was surprised (but heartened) to see that 49% of the 120 people who voted said ‘100+ (the more the merrier)’.
As someone who has run my annual 5-day Newcastle Startup Week festival every year since 2017 & monthly Founders’ Friday events every month from July 2018 to February 2020, not to mention being a regular attendee (& speaker) at every kind of event you can think of all over the UK & overseas, I know just how important & valuable physical events are for sparking new ideas, boosting knowledge, creating opportunities, forging & strengthening relationships for individuals & businesses alike.
Although meeting tools like Zoom, Teams & Google Meet have been absolutely essential for keeping people connected over the past 18 months & there are now some excellent digital conferencing tools available, let’s face it…online events mostly SUCK compared to real-life, in-person events!
During lockdown, I’ve attended so many online networking events & conferences during lockdown & although I’ve learned something from some of them, even the slickest of productions has been downright DULL & BORING compared to being in a room, with other real-life people.
Even the ‘Startup Week ONLINE’ events I ran in May & September 2020 were nowhere near as good or exciting as the real-life, in-person Newcastle Startup Week festivals I ran in 2017, 2018 & 2019 for 600, 600 & 800 people respectively!
Yes, the speakers were all fantastic, the level of engagement across the 5 days was really high, the number of attendees was good (300 & 200 respectively) & it felt like such a big achievement (& relief) to pull them off…but the energy & excitement just wasn’t there. How could it be? Nothing compares to the buzz you feel when you walk into a room full of enthusiastic, likeminded people who are all keen to learn how to be entrepreneurial, bring their ideas to life or help other people to do that for themselves.
Which is why, with the lockdown restrictions easing up, I am tentatively planning to start running physical, in-person events again & aiming for the first one to be a Founders’ Friday event on Friday 24th September.
However, unlike previous events I am going to make this event (& all my future ones) completely FREE to attend…but only for Members of my Startup Week Community.
So, if you’d like to attend (or even speak at) my first physical, real-life event after lockdown, all my future events (& access my online Founders’ Friday events in July & August too), you can get your ‘Lifetime Membership’ here.