When we started dConstruct back in 2005, we were only the second digital design and technology conference in the UK (the other being @media) and one of a handful around the globe. Jump ahead 10 years and there were over a dozen conferences of note in September alone.
I partly blame myself. After all, as well as helping popularise the genre I’ve helped others set up their own events. I also co-founded the Brighton Digital Festival, which saw over 160 events—and a half-dozen conferences—take place in Brighton around the same time. In fact, September has become so saturated with events that we’ve been toying with the idea of moving the next dConstruct to November, in order to give it more breathing space. So I’d be interested to hear your thoughts on this idea.
Much as I love attending events, I worry that we may have reached “peak conference”. It seems like every agency and magazine brand worth its salt has created its own event to develop a separate revenue-stream and build “thought-leadership”.
Of course, many of these events don’t last long once the organisers realise that conferences aren’t the pot of gold they appear to be. Instead, the very best conferences are run for love, not money, and out of a desire to improve the lives of their attendees, rather than to feather the nests of the organisers.
Many of these events seem to have identikit line-ups, something we’ve tried hard to avoid since the start. However despite attendees constantly requesting “new talent” over the “same old faces”, events still seem to sell faster when they are peppered with well-known speakers, rather than more left-field—but usually more interesting—talent.
That being said, we’re constantly amazed by the faith you place in us, and your willingness to come along for what can often be a cerebrally challenging ride. We’ve never wanted dConstruct to be “just another conference” but instead expand people’s view of our industry. So you won’t come away from dConstruct knowing a new piece of CSS, but hopefully you’ll leave feeling excited by the world we’re creating together.
As we prepare for our tenth anniversary, we’ve also been asking whether it should be our last—at least for a while. The jury is still out, and we probably won’t make any decisions till after the event. However even the possibility that it could be our last is providing even more impetus to make the 10th anniversary of dConstruct our best one yet.
So who would you like to see speak at this milestone event? We’d love to hear your thoughts.