There are lots of great conferences for the web industry, heck, I have even organised one myself.
As a creator/designer/developer I find great inspiration from a good conference session. Conferences may not bring value to all industries, but my industry is stacked high with quiet little geniuses beavering away from small home offices. A good web conference shines a light on these lost souls and allows for professional growth and shared knowledge.
As both a conference attendee and an organiser, I often find myself faced with a problem. The first, as a conference attendee, is not being able to attend all of the conferences on my wish-list. This is down to many constraints such as time, costs, and location. Sometimes, I am just simply not aware of a conference until I read the tweets and reviews days later.
The problem I face as a conference organiser is entirely different. Getting the word out about a conference is difficult – if it weren’t for Twitter I don’t know how I would have managed to sell out Handheld. Lanyrd is great for the social element, and Eventbrite is a no-brainer as the ticket gateway. But what happens after the event, conferences are generally one time events, does it just die along with the great content that may have been presented. Sure, a conference organiser can add the conference video or audio to the conference site, or maybe even upload to YouTube, but once the event is over, the site is quite often dormant until the following year.
So, after a twitter discussion with a few friends late one sunday evening, it became apparent, that there are a lot of golden resources out there which are not being seen. What if all of this conference video and audio coverage was neatly arranged in one central repository for designers and developers to peruse in their own time. Organisers could also use videos from past conferences to promote future conferences and not have to worry about video/audio hosting.
Don’t get me wrong, nothing compares to actually being at a conference, but if you can’t be there, be square.
For the past few days I have worked on a quick prototype of how I think besquare could work. The design needs a lot of work as I have simply hacked around with a premium WP theme, but I think it conveys the idea quite well.
The hope is that the site will be used as a resource for designers & developers to watch inspirational content when they have the spare time. Organisers could then promote future events as well as earn a revenue from paid for content* by charging micro payments for certain premium content. At the moment all content is simply being pulled in from YouTube, but future content can also be hosted directly with besquare.
There is lots of work to do such as a decent search facility and event tagging. I also imagine a profile page for prominent event speakers which will hold a bio along with a catalogue of their sessions. A social element also needs to be included but I am not short on ideas for the platform – just the time
* Note that conference content often belongs to the individual speaker. A lot of work goes into conference sessions and the speaker should always be aware of any event organiser profiting from the speakers work. It is the conference organisers responsibility to allocate monies to speakers if payment is taken. For total disclosure on my part, the sessions which are being recorded at Handheld will be made available for free.