Wanted: Australian’s interested in organising an Australian blogging conference

Filed as General on December 5, 2005 9:48 am

by Duncan

Duncan Riley> I’ve spoken to a few people in the past (indeed over the past 2 years) about this, and even some who are planning an Australian business blogging conference, but I’m getting old waiting for a full blown Australian blogging conference so here is my pitch:

Its time we all got together and organised an Australian blogging conference.

Ideally it should be based roughly on Dave Winer’s Bloggercon, but reality means that it could never be this ideal. As much as I’d personally like to see it held in Perth (or Bunbury even), I’d say Melbourne would be the ideal venue, particularly given the strong Melbourne blogging crowd. We’d be looking at a 4-6 month set up time, and a venue like the University of Melbourne or similar, low cost, big space with cheap accommodation options. Perhaps during a semester break. It would go for maybe 2 days. Dinner on the Friday night, official launch Saturday morning with a hardcore series of speakers through the day, big dinner Saturday night, then more speakers Sunday, with the conference finishing Sunday lunchtime. If we can’t get it to go that long, then maybe just one or two speakers Friday, and then a full program Saturday, with a pub crawl Saturday night.

I’m open to suggestions, but I know I’m getting old waiting for someone else to arrange this so I’m putting the idea out there. If you’re an Australian blogger, or are outside Australia but would like to be involved drop me an email at [email protected] , if people aren’t interested than so be it. But I reckon we could get a good crowd.

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  1. By Cameron Reilly posted on December 5, 2005 at 6:14 pm
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    The trick, Dunc, is figuring out who the target demographic of the conference is. Bloggers? People who want to learn about blogging? All of the above? Des wants to get corporate execs. I personally would love to pull together those of us trying to bootstrap new media businesses. And who are you going to get to keynote? Any big names to draw the crowds? Do we HAVE any big names in this country? Or would we need to fly them in from the US ala lesblogs? Who would we get and how? I’ve chatted to a few people about coming out, including Scoble, Buzz, etc. All are keen but its a long frakkin way.

  2. By Martin posted on December 5, 2005 at 6:49 pm
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    I like the idea but we really have to focus: who would be the target – can’t be all things to all people.

    I would go for a two-prong target: small businesses who’d like to utilise blogging as a markting tool and those that want blogging to be their business.

    Cameron, a keynote … Big name: Darren from ProBlogger – that would pretty much guarantee a decent w/wide coverage.

    As for any international big names, why not set up a video presentation of some sort – rather than spending up big on travel costs.

    We would also need to organise some decent media relations in Australia to get decent publicity.

    I’d love to organise this (I have some experience in exposand sponsorships) but there would need to be a fairly long lead-in time.

    Let me brainstorm and test some feasibility issues with this idea a bit over the coming days as it has always been something I’ve had at the back of my mind to do.

    Number one would be getting sponsors on board – that shouldn’t be too hard if we get strong committments from name bloggers.

    Duncan, I’ll, email you later this week with some ideas.

  3. By Darren posted on December 6, 2005 at 12:26 am
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    hehe – If we put me as a main speaker there would be people turn out – but it might not be to listen to….could be a lynch mob after the last week or so…

    seriously – I think determining target group is key. From this will come many other aspects including location (not just city but what type of venue), cost, sponsors etc.

    ie if we aim at a popularist sort of level get smartyhost on board to sponsor it, do it in a cheaper informal location (or take it on the road to 3 or so cities), make the content more ‘how to’ than tackling the bigger issues etc

    if its aimed at business/corporate – get a larger corporate sponsor/s, hire a hotel, fly in some very big names and obviously tailor the content at more a marketing, PR, type level

    it all comes from target market…

    I kind of like the idea of taking it on the road – the Aussie problem is always distance so if people all wont go to the one city how about take it to them. Fly the main organisers and speakers around and charge people a little extra to cover that kind of cost.

    just an idea

  4. By Luke Phillips posted on December 6, 2005 at 1:21 am
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    Hey great idea! Don’t worry about those that say it can’t be done – if we build it…

    Saw Google, Yahoo as well as a number of other businesses present at a small business expo as well as a number of others – so maybe it could be a blog-xpo where you can fund it by vendors?

    Either way I’d love to help out. I think the business blogging is yet to hit Australia…but I’d like to be on the wave when it comes.

    You could have mini conferences i.e. one for business where you get the googles and the chikita’s…and focus on making money.

    And then you could have one for the intellectual/personal/writing crowd who do it for the love of it.

  5. By Martin posted on December 6, 2005 at 2:04 am
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    Luke – Shhh … don’t talk about any blog expo :-) You’re gonna disrupt my soft launch next week on a like-minded idea I have been developing since August ;-)

  6. By Kitta posted on December 6, 2005 at 1:52 pm
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    I’d love to see an Australian blogging confrence, and it would be fantastic if it was in Perth. If you do go ahead with it please keep me informed.

  7. By Michael Specht posted on December 6, 2005 at 6:45 pm
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    Love to see it, willing to help out, got some ideas on topics, speakers. A pure blogging conference may not be broad enough depending on the size you are looking for, a small 30 – 40 people in 4 or 5 cities would work. A larger web 2.0 single city, Gnomedex type event with 400 odd people would attract a broader audience of doers, business, startups, academics etc.

  8. By Des Walsh posted on December 6, 2005 at 9:21 pm
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    Duncan
    It’s great that you are running with this. There are a couple of developments which I hope to be able to share in the next week or two, but from the discussions I’ve had with you, Cameron, and others I believe the comments here about working out the target audience need to be sorted through and then you need to decide who you are focusing on. Just to qualify Cameron’s comment above, I obviously didn’t communicate well – I have a general fixation on business blogging but my interest is not so much with corporate execs but more in helping small biz owners/execs understand what’s possible for them. Then there is the whole government enterprise sector and the experience Paul Chaney and Susannah Gardner had in Singapore and some comments I’ve heard here suggest there some possibilities there. Short story – I doubt you are going to please everyone, so why not work out what would please you (apart from having the conference in Bunbury, pleasant as that would no doubt be) and then see who comes with you on the journey?
    Des

  9. By Luke Phillips posted on December 6, 2005 at 10:42 pm
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    Martin, I’m sorry but you didn’t tell me! I won’t say anything else – in return for an invite…and perhaps a %? Need a lawyer?

    What’s everyone doing Friday night? Come to my place. I’m in Melbourne. Good Chinese down the street.

  10. By Darren posted on December 7, 2005 at 8:54 am
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    ooh – chinese…

    hmmm

    actually i got another wedding….

    maybe next Friday?

  11. By Richard McKinnon posted on December 9, 2005 at 5:06 am
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    Theres really several different audiences arrayed along a continuim for a business blogging conference.

    The first, the ‘lets just start a blog’, and look, “blogger is free”. Individuals expressing themselves. Just want to say something. And do. Consultants endlessly talking about their niche. Then there’s the blogging as a business. Essentially, thats blogging as a small and really tough business. People who have the willpower to make it work over a long and grindingly tough peroid. Problogger.

    There’s Des’s small business crowd who should blog but don’t (‘too busy” and “isn’t that for wide eyed poltical types”) and finally, at the top end, there’s businesses that can afford blogging, need robust enterprise solutions but don’t yet blog becasue they can’t quite see (shortsitedly) how or where this will help them. ‘Not sure about the beneifts” Or who will control it. Or doubt the CEO would actually write it. Or something. Whatever, they’re hanging back.

    Somewhere else is the non-profit organisation that’s in business with the public for donations or/and support. So, many audiences, not all exclusive, but not all similiar either. I find it hard to image a guy from AGL sitting alongside someone from a single person HR consultancy and getting the same value. Or, the Salvos needing the same approach as a Queensland suburban real estate agent. But they could all blog couldn’t they?

    I’d pick one audience as a target. The easy one. The single, solo, small end. And just throw something on using the guys you know; Darren, Cameron, Des, Martin; a couple of the bloggers from newspapers like Charles Wright to at least report themselves, a financial press blogger like Kohler, keep costs low, kill off the overseas guys, who knows them, who cares anyway (and I live in the US so there goes my trip) and use it all to open the market up, create awareness.

    But stop talking. Just get it on somehow. AS bare bones as possible. Sydney, Melbourne doesn’t matter. Anyway at all. It’ll take on a life of its own. Cheap enough and you’ll have a room of people. Better to start and seed and come back again than not do it.

  12. By Genevieve Tucker posted on December 13, 2005 at 1:53 am
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    You are also forgetting the education bloggers – see James Farmer at Incsub.org. He has a network up and running on the WordPress platform, edublog.org.

  13. By Donna Hamer posted on December 16, 2005 at 2:57 am
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    I’m all for a blogging seminar and frankly I think it should be around education. Doesn’t matter what level you pitch it at – that way everyone will learn something.

    Count me in if you need help – I’m in Qld and there are some fantastic venues close by which I am more than happy to source details for.

    Donna

  14. By Kevin posted on December 30, 2005 at 9:27 pm
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    Hey we are 3 months into working on a SocialSoftware/blogging/web 2.0 conference, been speaking with Frank at Microsoft and quite a few others.

    I am more than keen on working more with you on this.

    Right now I am in SF on Biz returning to Sydney in early Feb.

    -Kevin Leversee
    http://www.pandorasquared.com

  15. By Luke posted on January 1, 2006 at 11:01 pm
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    Hey how about a joint melbourne-sydney conference…speakers to both – video link alternating speakers. Still interested… and have holidays/dreamtime this week so… anyone keen… let’s hook up?

  16. By Des Walsh posted on February 2, 2006 at 7:26 am
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    OK, the Australia Day very long weekend is out of the way, kids are back at school, everyone’s getting serious again (not the bloggers of course), so where is the groundswell for The Oz Conference?

  17. By kelly posted on February 19, 2006 at 9:58 pm
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    Just a quick note to all on this blog list…Im not sure how many of you are from WA and how many from the south west but anyone who has a business in SW WA should (if they havent already) check out this site – it includes a FREE direcory lisitng for businesses, community and govt. groups….just thought you guys might all be interested as you seem pretty techno savvy!