Adaptive Path’s 2011 Events: Register Now Save Big!

We now interrupt this irregularly-scheduled blog for this announcement.

Adaptive Path has a big push for our 2011 slate of events. Called “Register Now Save Big!” the point is to help folks use their 2010 training budgets for 2011 events. You can get 15% off the already discounted early registration prices for three events: MX: Managing Experience 2011, UX Intensive Amsterdam, and our flagship conference, UX Week 2011 (We still haven’t announced any speakers yet for UX Week, as it’s pretty far out, but if you’ve gone in prior years, you know what an amazing event it will be.)

So, when registering for the event, use the discount code RNSB for your additional 15% off!

Just what role do conferences play nowadays?

Having attended TED last week, where people spend $6,000 + travel/lodging seemingly in order to watch talks which will be posted online for free, I found myself again wondering just what role conferences and events play. This is not of mere academic interest — Adaptive Path earns a substantial portion of its revenue through its public events, I’ve helped organize professional industry events such as the IA Summit, the IA Institute’s IDEA, and DUX, and I speak at 4-6 events a year.

Given the ascent of the Web, one could have expected conferences to wither, as you can find online much of the information presented at conferences. Why bother traveling all over the country and spending all that money when you can pretty much keep up with any field through online means? Particularly when so many events now share their sessions freely on the Web?

Just the opposite seems to have happened. We’re lousy with conferences. In my industry alone there is UX Week and MX (put on by Adaptive Path), the IA Summit, Interaction from the IxDA, UPA’s annual event, the Design Research Conference, SxSW Interactive, IDEA, and this isn’t including the newer events from overseas such as UX London and UX-LX. In the “Big Think” space, there’s TED, and now Pop!Tech, Lift, and The e.g.. It seems that the internet has made people more aware of these opportunities for gathering, and instead of supplanting them, have made attendance even more desirable.

If it’s not about the content, then it must be about the people attending, right? In the case of TED, that is almost certainly true — many, if not most, of the folks spending $6,000 are able to write it off as a business expense.

About 5 years ago, there was a lot of discussion about unconferences, events with no set agenda beyond a high-level theme, and instead of canned presentations planned ahead of time, the schedule is determined after everyone has arrived, and people lead conversations on specific topics. While the unconference movement still exists, it has not taken over the way that many thought it would. It turns out you need more than just the right people.

While the cliche that “best content happens in the hallways” is largely true of conferences, those conversations require the canned presentations. They provide the seed for the ongoing dialogue. They’re the “social object” around which conversation and community revolve.

What the Web has done is made very clear what kinds of conversations are happening at different events, and if you want to be part of those larger discussions, you know you ought to get there.

I think a lot about how Adaptive Path’s events should evolve… UX Week is the event I’m most involved with, and I want to make sure it stays fresh, lively, and relevant. We continue to tinker with a mix of presentations, workshops, and social events, trying to strike the best balance between inspiration, information, skills-building, and networking. And I wonder what I’m missing, what other elements we should introduce (e.g., design charette’s like Design Engaged, where you get 30-40 people in a room, and have them do/make something.).

Adaptive Path’s 2009 Events – So many options!

For the first time in Adaptive Path’s history, we’ve released our entire slate of in-person events for the year at the beginning of the year. (I say “in-person” because we’re still working on our virtual seminar lineup). I know it’s going to be a strange year for many folks, budget-wise, but we’re confident we have events that can satisfy various abilities of spend. And if you use the promotional code FOPM, you’ll get an extra 15% off!

I’m mostly involved in our conferences, MX 2009 and UX Week 2009. MX is targeted at managers of experience design teams, and I know I say it every year, but MX 2009 is shaping up to the best yet. I’m really excited about having David Butler, VP of Design at Coca-Cola, speak about how he’s helped the World’s Biggest Brand embrace design (he’s profiled in this BusinessWeek article).

UX Week is still many months away, but we’ve already announced some high-profile speakers – comics artist Scott McCloud, word maven Erin McKean, and ethnography trailblazer Genevieve Bell. Because we’re so far from it, registration for UX Week is currently very low — $1795, where full price will be $2995. (And with the 15% off from FOPM, that drops to $1525.75, nearly half off full price). Last year’s UX Week 2008 was amazing, and 2009 promises to top that.

Along with the conferences, we have our UX Intensive 4-day workshops returning (Berlin, San Francisco, and Washington, D.C.), our new Good Design Faster 2-day workshop (how can you miss with a name like that), our pilot event for project managers, and a monthly selection of virtual seminars, including one I’m presenting in February titled 16 (Mostly) Difficult Steps to Becoming a Customer Experience-Driven Organization. Whew!

I hope you overcome your paradox of choice, and join us for the fun this year!