Being part of beyond tellerrand is my favourite speaking event of the year (and I usually present at several dozen around the world). It should be everyone’s absolute not-to-be-missed event of your tech calendar. Make sure you definitely attend one near you (and perhaps others further afield)
Colloq – a new service for attendees, speakers and event organisers
Often we create new services or products, because we miss a specific functionality in the existing or something bothers us too much. Or, a service that used to be a usable service (we can discuss if it ever was really good), is not developed further any more. One example is Lanyrd. It is a dying service/platform, stuck in maintenance mode for months now, so that people start to build new services. Though Lanyrd never was nowhere near perfect, many people used it to build their schedule for the event-year, have shown which events they go to and organised/checked whom they meet at those events and speakers had a back catalogue in which countries and at which events they had spoken. But when people asked for more functionality or for how Lanyrd might be and help in the future, no one gave answers. So pretty much after Eventbrite bought Lanyrd, it was stuck in more or less the same state.
Services for Speakers
For the last couple of months I have seen new platforms popping up. There is Notist, by Rachel Andrew and Drew McLellan, a service for speakers to create your speaking portfolio. You can share your talks, collect coverage like sketch notes and photos for this talk and so on. Then there is Speakerdex by Michael Flarup. Speakerdex is also targeting speakers. They can post their talk descriptions and details about length and content, as well as a recorded video of the talk, if existing.
So this is not only a nice way for speakers to collect their material and details about the talk to have a speaking portfolio, but also for people to find and watch videos of talks.
What’s next for attendees and event organiser
I, for a while, moan about the lack of a good event catalogue, where organisers and people who attend many events, can post events. A place, where you can check, if other events take place, when you plan yours. A place, where people can have a look and see which events you attend. Lanyrd, back in the days, was doing quite a good job with this. It also did quite a good job, if organisers did their job, to collect coverage, which I do with beyond tellerrand since the launch of the new website in 2015, as my pages automatically turn into an archive and every speaker page contains everything related to her/his talk.
The issue with this is, that this again only targets my audience and maybe a few who stumble over this. A general service with a different target audience is still missing. Or maybe it was …
Now three people, Tobias Tom, Anselm Hannemann and Holger Bartel started Colloq. All three of them attended and attend many events throughout the year and they felt the same lack of a service, where to plan their event year, where to find new events they haven’t known, but also where to collect and preserve content of conferences, which don’t have an archive for their past events.
Where other services do the mistake and offer a free service without any real future perspective, meaning how to make some money, those three don’t fall into this trap and offer, next to a free, basic account, paid accounts.
With a free account you get access to media coverage of events where organiser have a paid account (no free events), you are able to create events with basic features of Colloq and you can follow events.
If you pay €3 a month, you not only support Colloq to stay alive and develop the service further, but you get a few features, that basic accounts don’t have, eg. access to archived media coverage of all events.
Next to those two categories, targeting attendees of events more or less, there are two categories for event organisers as well called “Organizer” (for €15/month) and “Organizer Pro” (for €29/month). A huge range of features are available for those, like branding opportunities, adding an event team, sponsor integration and much more. If you think that is a lot of money, maybe think about this: if you are able to integrate your sponsors, you might be able to up-sell this feature to them. Imagine you have packages for sponsors, where you include “Integration on Colloq with X page views a month” plus features like “Add link, description and Twitter handle”, if you take the pro account. I can see quite some opportunity in here.
Also maybe at a later point, you might be able to get in touch with sponsors through Colloq and they take a percentage of what you get from the sponsor in case the team up with your event – but that is just my imagination and I have no idea, if Anselm, Tobias and Holger are planning something like this.
Anyways … I am happy that there is hope for a service to replace the dead Lanyrd services and hope they get a lot of support from the event landscape. And even though there is a bit of work to do still (but where isn’t?), I think you definitely should take a look and check out Colloq. Thanks for your work, Holger, Anselm and Tobias!