LoopConf Sparks Controversy with Tickets Priced at $800

loopconf

Last week LoopConf announced that early bird tickets will go on sale November 20th. The conference is aimed at developers and organizers are planning for 700 – 1,000 attendees in Las Vegas on the weekend of May 7-8, 2015.

A bit of controversy has surfaced regarding the ticket pricing, as LoopConf emerges as one of the most expensive WordPress-oriented conferences to date. With early bird tickets priced at $600 and regular tickets at $800, the combined sponsorship donations and estimated ticket sales have the potential to bring the total event budget just shy of a million dollars.

Although events in this price range are not unheard of in the web industry, with many charging ticket prices in the thousands, WordPress-oriented conferences have traditionally been inexpensive. Because LoopConf is not endorsed by or affiliated with the WordPress Foundation, it doesn’t have to follow the guidelines set for WordCamps. Organizers of WP Foundation-sponsored events must agree to make the event “accessible to as many people as possible, regardless of financial status.”

LoopConf ticket pricing poses a stark contrast to traditional WordPress-oriented events, drawing sharp criticism for catering to an elite segment of developers, while pricing out the vast majority of others in the community.

Supporters of LoopConf ticket prices count it as a step forward in legitimizing WordPress as a mainstream career opportunity. Eric Mann, in a response piece titled WordPress Comes of Age, highlights the fact that some employers have been reluctant to pay for flights and accommodation for a conference with a $25-40 ticket price.

I spoke with Brad Williams, one of the most vocal community members questioning the ticket prices, to find out if WebDevStudios would be sending any of its employees to LoopConf. “Most likely not, unfortunately,” he said. “It’s a lot of money even for an agency to cover without understanding the value of it.”

Williams said he was not opposed to the conference, but that it’s tough to assess the value that an attendee will receive. “If it’s pricey, but justified, it might be worth sending some of our devs,” he said. “Honestly it’s tough to say because we could also send them to 10+ WordCamps for that price.”

When LoopConf posted ticket prices, the email announcement said, “Think of it as more of a celebration of WordPress than a conference.” Without a full list of speakers and topics, aside from the generally well-known WordPress speakers featured on the homepage, onlookers are left scratching their heads.

Amid controversy surrounding the high ticket prices, the organizers of the LoopConf posted a detailed FAQ section to the site to answer some of the public’s most pressing questions. The document helps to clarify what the organizers believe to be the value of the ticket price.

When Ryan Sullivan set out to create a WordPress conference for developers, he had no idea that LoopConf would be pioneering a new segment of WordPress events. The organizing team, which includes a couple of experienced ng-conf organizers, was surprised to learn of the controversy surrounding the ticket pricing.

Unlike a WordCamp, LoopConf is a for-profit endeavor and the team has no obligation to be financially transparent. “We won’t be publishing our budget,” Sullivan told the Tavern. “This is a for-profit endeavor but not to the degree most people think. Our margins are actually not very big, and basically cover our time and efforts for putting on the event itself.

“Our number one goal is that everyone leaves feeling like it was a great investment, and if it ends up we risk a portion of our profits to make that a reality, then we’re fine with that.”

He also doesn’t see any realistic way that the budget will reach a million dollars. “We are planning much more conservatively than that,” he said. What does he say to critics who believe the ticket prices to be exorbitant?

The ticket price is for the experience itself. Compared to other tech conferences outside of WordPress our prices are actually average or below average. I wish I had a way to illustrate how amazing this event will be without just having to say “this event is going to be amazing”, but that’s where we’re at right now I suppose. From hack nights, to an amazing party, to swag, to meals, to a premier conference space at a secluded resort, we’re truly trying to deliver in every way we can. It’s going to be a fantastic place to learn and connect with friends and colleagues who have truly common interests.

The LoopConf team hopes to announce speakers by Wednesday of this week. Of the 28 speakers lined up, Sullivan estimates that 6 or 7 will be from outside the WordPress community, with the majority of others having spoken previously at other WordPress events.

“I think is important to mention is that even if these speakers have spoken at WordCamps before, it’s not likely they’ve given talks like they’ll be giving at LoopConf,” he said. “With a very developer focused audience a lot of these presenters will be able to give talks that they’re really excited about, which creates a very unique energy and environment for higher learning.”

The conference structure is also very different from what one might expect of a WordCamp. LoopConf doesn’t have a team of volunteers supporting the event but instead utilizes a paid event coordinator to manage the majority of the logistics with the venue, vendors, sponsors, etc. Sullivan expects that he and the other organizers will have a few months of working 20-30 hours per week leading up to the event.

Those who are unable to attend LoopConf can watch all sessions via a global live stream for free. Videos of the sessions will also be available within minutes after sessions are finished and will be offered for free to anyone who wants to learn from the event’s speakers.

WordPress conferences that fall under the WordCamp name have traditionally been inexpensive events, designed to bring together a local community. Because Sullivan and his team are pioneering a different event structure, they have endured a healthy amount of criticism. The team’s goal to bring in top developers from the larger community would not be possible within the confines of a traditional WordCamp.

Sullivan hopes that other conference organizers will also be inspired to break out of the box and host more unique events. “I would love to see more niche conferences that are WordPress specific. There are already great conferences out there like WooConf, Pressnomics, Prestige, and some others that I’m probably forgetting,” he said. “If there’s an opportunity to get together for a good time and learn from each other in the process, count me in.”

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51 Comments


  1. This looks awesome! Very excited to see the ecosystem grow and evolve. We now have Pressnomics, Prestige, Loop, BeachPress, WooConf……

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  2. OMG I’m going to have to keep my mouth shut about this. The hypocrisy here from Williams is just…. WOW.

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    1. Hypocrisy? Wow, strong word. He’s just saying it’s expensive, not sure what the big deal is here.

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      1. Thats not all he said. But you’re in business with him so your opinion/perspective of his attitude towards this will be different than mine.

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  3. I for one am very happy to see a professional level conference priced at the level that requires someone to make a real living from professional WordPress development to be able to afford to attend.

    WordCamps are great for end-users but with so many curious end users attending advance sessions you can’t really cover advanced topics. That’s not to criticize end-users, but they already have many conferences and practically all over the world. It’ll be nice to have one advanced WordPress developer conference.

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  4. With all due respect to Brad, his disagreement with the price !== controversy. I’m honestly glad to see a high price point. While I love WordCamps, there is little left in terms of tangible value for me as a developer. The topics at a camp can’t get too advanced due to the wide range of attendees. A truly developer focused event is very much needed, and I’m excited to see how it turns out.

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    1. While WordCamps have traditionally offered sessions for all experience levels, there’s nothing in the guidelines saying that they have to, that’s just what most organizers have chosen to do based on the needs of their communities.

      There’s nothing stopping anyone from putting on an official WordCamp target at advanced developers. In fact, that’s exactly what we’re doing in Seattle in March.

      (The March WordCamp will also have tracks for advanced users and advanced designers, and then we’ll be doing another camp in October for with beginners.)

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      1. I’m glad to hear that. Some communities that have established camps (and local communities) can do that. I can only speak from my own experience, but the last 6 or 8 camps have had little in the way of deep level development talks. And the feedback we got from WC Tampa (I was an organizer) was that we weren’t beginner *enough* for people. A few even asked why we didn’t have .com focused topics.

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      2. Yeah, I agree that many camps don’t have enough content for advanced devs; I was just pointing out that the reason for that isn’t any kind of inherent limitation or restriction on WordCamps, which your earlier comment seemed to imply. The reason is that organizers are choosing to target beginners, but they’re free to target whomever they want.

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      3. Hi @ian

        The sad reality is that as long as an event is labeled “WordCamp” and attendance only costs ~$40 you will have a large contingent end-users attend the event no matter how hard you market it as for experienced developers only. Many won’t pay attention to your attempt to differentiate and others will hope they can learn to be a developer while sitting in conference sessions. And most of them will be indignant when the topics delivered are over their head.

        I’ve experienced this from running and attending meetups; it’s always the beginners who show up for the less expensive events. The lower the barrier to entry the more likely beginners will attend. Locally we had someone start a WordPress Developer meetup only to have it be ~50% WordPress end-users after which the real developers stopped attending and the meetup fizzled out.

        Now if WordCamp allowed organizers to limit attendance based on (something like) a Smarterer test score of 600 or better on WordPress plugin development, for example, then you could have a WordCamp that successfully addressed developer needs. But unless I misunderstand the WordPress Foundation does not allow organizers to set any filtering criteria so that’s not an option for WordCamps.

        Unless and until policies change, I don’t expect WordCamps will ever meet the needs of professional developers like a dedicated conference like LoopConf. And so I’m happy to see it emerge.

        -Mike
        P.S. Maybe I’m wrong and your Seattle WordCamp will break the mold. And I truly hope I am wrong but don’t have much faith in that. I guess we’ll see.

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      4. I think you could easily market a WordCamp in a way that discouraged end-users. You can also have split tracks, which separates out the advanced from the less-advanced.

        I’m not seeing a huge downside to everyone being there though. I mostly only talk to the more advanced devs at WordCamp’s anyway, so I’m not seeing a problem here which needs fixed anyway.

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      5. Respectfully that’s a point we’ll have to agree to disagree on. I’ve attended literally over 50 conferences in my career and full-on developer conferences have a very different vibe than conferences that mix developers and end-users, especially related to attendee experience.

        Nothing wrong with end-users, nothing wrong with conferences that mix developers and end-users, but conferences that are developer-only have a value for developers that the mixed conferences can’t match. IMHO, of course. :)

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      6. It’s not like Developer centric WordCamps don’t exist and can’t be successful. Take a look at WordCamp Vancouver Developer Edition which took place back in July http://2014.vancouver.wordcamp.org/ Maxed out at 300 attendees, nothing but dev topics! I’ve sent some questions to Flynn O’ Connor to learn more about how he marketed the event but it’s proof positive that it’s possible.

        One way I would market a Dev Centric WordCamp would be to have Sessions with names filled with Developer Acronyms so people have no clue what’s being discussed lol.

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      7. I went to the Vancouver WordCamp, I really enjoyed it as a developer. I believe they had two tracks for the reason of being able to offer a more beginner and then a more advanced topic at the same time.

        There were many end-users that attended though. And the very first talk, the beginner talk was cancelled, so everyone sat in on Curtis McHale’s “Unit Testing WordPress” talk. There were quite a few people who walked out obviously quite confused and intimidated with the subject matter. But hey…. the conference was advertised as developer focused :)

        Overall it was a great WordCamp

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  5. Do they pay the presenters a “presentation fee”? Do they cover the accommodation? travel/air fare?.

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    1. Great question, Miroslav. All speakers will have flights, hotel, and conference ticket fees covered :)

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      1. They should be given stipends for speaking as well. if you’re going to throw a pro conference with big boy ticket prices, behave like the pros and PAY YOUR SPEAKERS. You’re making a profit, don’t do it on your speakers’ backs.

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      2. They’re not really big boy ticket prices though. They’re more like normal ticket prices.

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  6. $800 may seem like a lot, but realistically it’ll probably be around 1x to 1.5x of your daily rate. So you’re spending that, staying in Vegas and losing some billable time. It’s not cheap, but if the sessions are on par with the likes of An Event Apart, it should certainly be considered an investment. If you’re short for it this year, shoot for the next one, and at least attend WordSesh.org (which is free & online, no excuses).

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    1. Definitely great points there, Noel. It is an investment, no doubt, and we want people to feel like it was money and time very well spent. We’re going to do everything we can to make sure people leave not questioning their investment for a second. All of the sessions will be live streamed for free too for those who can’t attend for any reason, financial or otherwise.

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  7. I think a decision to invest dollars is going to depend on the value of any conference. As an agency owner, I am likely to sit out the first year of LoopConf and see what kind of foundation it lays down. I think any business owner weighs the value of a thing before laying down dollars for it, that’s just business. There are several other developer conferences we do invest to send our team members to (outside of WordCamps / WP events) that have a demonstrated history of value.

    If investing in something before you feel confident about it’s true value is your thing – great! If it’s not – that’s cool too, isn’t it? It comes down to what you define as value, it’s going to be different from person to person … agency to agency. Calling that out as ‘hypocritical’ is telling.

    Also, I love to see WP becoming more integrated and represented into existing (currently non-WP) developer conferences, as well. For example, we’re sending one of our team members to MidwestPHP to present on WP-related topics – – I encourage this a great deal.

    I think offering the presentations for free, online is one tool to measure the value for investment for subsequent years. Another will be feedback from attendees and the overall success of the event. I think that LoopConf has a lot of promise and I’m optimistic for it’s success!

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  8. We are so excited to announce the speaker lineup later this week. LoopConf lineup is stacked! We are still making some last final decisions to the lineup, but with the amount of high quality speaker submissions we received we could have filled a week long event. The speakers at LoopConf are awesome. Stay tuned for the list later in the week!

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  9. $800 is not expensive compared to other conferences in our field (web design/development). This is about professional development, not community building. WordCamp is a community event. Conferences are educational events. It’s about time our community gets this straight and starts playing with the big girls and boys in the rest of the industry. We need more “proper” conferences with speakers form the wider web field. The walls around the WordPress community have gotten awfully high of late. Time to build some bridges and doors. This is a good first step.

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    1. I agree with much of what you’re saying. At this point, I’d like to see more WordCamps, especially larger ones try their best to bring in people to speak from outside of the WordPress bubble. I think this requires more effort on the organizers part as they have to go out and search for speakers instead of waiting for them to submit session ideas.

      If WordCamps start bringing people in from outside the bubble and who are not local to the area of that particular WordCamp, I think it starts to muddy the waters and now the events look more like conferences.

      I want to see diversity in the range of topics, ideas, and WordCamps/Conferences. $800 is expensive compared to a WordCamp but as you said, LoopConf is not a WordCamp but its own entity, a conference. In that sense, $800 is probably on par if not cheap for a conference.

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      1. If WordCamps start bringing people in from outside the bubble and who are not local to the area of that particular WordCamp

        therein lies the problem. as a WC Organizer, you’re pushed to focus on local people (the Foundation wants 80% local). For Tampa, we had to be a bit more broad with how we defined “local” since we are so spread out, but the vast majority were from Florida.

        It’s very, very hard to ask someone to travel, for free, to a conference with a lot of beginners if you aren’t already friends with said person. I know, I tried.

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  10. There’s nothing wrong with $800 for a ticket to a professional conference for developers who should be making that amount in less than 2 billable days.

    If you want top notch presentations, it’s fair that the conference should be paying for the speakers hotel, meals, travel (airfare ain’t cheap!) plus paying them to actually speak if possible (it takes time to put together a good talk). Also, WordCamps are organized by volunteers. They’re a lot of work. Professional conference organizers should be paid.

    Look at other conferences:

    * Confoo ($915) + another $775 if you want the training days beforehand
    * DevCon5 ($595)
    * FluentConf ($1295 — 2013 pricing)
    * ZendCon ($1295)
    * SQLPass Summit ($2,295)
    * Sector – Security ($1049)

    I hope to see more conferences like LoopConf.

    I’m not saying – not even close – that conferences like these should replace WordCamps, meetups, and other community events (the WordPress community is Awesome!) but professional conferences are needed for those who make a living working with the platform.

    Technology changes quickly. For experienced developers, there is no value in the “Plugin 101” or “Writing a Child Theme” sessions. Talks about performance, scalability, the API, etc. are of much more value – and I hope that’s what we’ll see at these conferences.

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  11. Personally, I don’t find the early bird rate to be outrageous. If the food is amazing and the event experience(learning, networking with like minded individuals, access to the best best speakers off stage, etc) is nothing short of first class…it is worth the money.

    The real reason WordCamps are priced so low is because there are 100’s of amazing people around the world giving their time to plan and host first class conferences. It’s their time that gives WordCamps the competitive edge they need to price tickets at such an amazingly affordable value. Finally, we can’t forget about the great sponsors that donate to help WordCamps offset costs.

    It’s a great community but it wouldn’t be great if folks were not finding ways to generate profits.

    …Time will if “the price is right”.

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    1. The real reason WordCamps are priced so low is because there are 100’s of amazing people around the world giving their time to plan and host first class conferences. It’s their time that gives WordCamps the competitive edge they need to price tickets at such an amazingly affordable value. Finally, we can’t forget about the great sponsors that donate to help WordCamps offset costs.

      I’d also suggest that the WordPress Foundation is a huge reason WordCamp tickets are priced so low, it’s also the generosity of pillar WordCamp Sponsors. https://wptavern.com/the-hidden-savings-of-a-wordcamp-ticket I took a look at a few different budget sheets from a few different WordCamps and if you take away the sponsorships, ticket prices would have ranged between $70-100 or higher. Still affordable to many compared to conferences but sponsors and the foundation have a huge impact on the affordability on such events.

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  12. The biggest piece of feedback we got from holding PressNomics over 2 years was “raise ticket prices”. I’m not joking, this was the single most given peice of feedback on our attendee surveys (followed by ditching the live music.. I still don’t agree w/ this one, live a little people)

    Sally and I made the choice even now at year 3 to keep ticket prices around the $300-350 range (year 1 was $150-250 as comparison) as we felt we wanted the event to be in that ‘just high enough to make the soloprenuer reach for it’ but the established player it would be a no brainer. Gives a good mix attendees.

    We don’t cover speaking fees or travel/hotel though and besides a little held back for Sally’s time the rest all goes to St Jude’s children’s hospital as a donation. A not-just-for-profit event like PressNomics that is subsidized by Pagely does not have the same revenue demands as other events so we can get by at higher then WordCamp but less then the average tech/dev/business conference ticket price.

    More power to loopconf. If the market will bear the the ticket fees and they deliver a great event (which I wager they will) this discussion is going to look silly in hindsight. We all pay $2700 for the latest MacBook Pro without flinching, I would argue the connections I made at places like SxSw and the early WordCamps have netted me INFINITY return over the ticket/travel costs or the cost of MPB.

    Professional development is that intangible that is hard to price. 1 key introduction to a potential client or partner can be a windfall (I may be mistaken but I think WDS met the MS rep at PN1). 1 key new skill learned can increase your hourly billing or lead closing ratio, or that guy/gal you had a drink with becomes your chief brand advocate that catapults your product or business into legitimacy.

    Business can be done entirely online, but business gets done face to face. I am sure the same applies to skill + relationship building in app development.

    There is no controversy here, just an event aiming to push the boundries of what the community is accustomed to. It only becomes a real controversy if Ryan et all takes all the cash and bets and loses in a vegas casino and has to cancel the event. Hell if he wins though, 32:1 odds on roulette.. He could gold plate every badge and send every attendee home in new Audi.

    #typed with thumbs on a phone, grammar police can pound sand

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    1. More power to loopconf. If the market will bear the the ticket fees and they deliver a great event (which I wager they will) this discussion is going to look silly in hindsight.

      I agree, if LoopConf sells out and everyone has a fantastic time, then it becomes one more awesome event to consider going to, especially if your developer focused. As to the discussion we’re having, I’d rather have the discussion to look back on than not at all. I’m still looking for a Magic 8 ball that actually works, if you have one, let me borrow it sometime.

      Business is a lot easier to take care of in person. I saw potential business talks going on outside of WordCamp San Francisco during sessions, little groups of two or three people. I bet I’ll be reporting on some sort of acquisition based on one of those talks outside of WCSF in the future.

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    2. One small correction there Strebel: I flinch A LOT when it comes time to shell out $2700+ for that new MacBook Pro. :-)

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  13. I’ve no problem with this. I go to WordCamps still, and probably won’t go (but that being said, I wouldn’t go to WordCamps in the US as it’s just so far away, so my opinion shouldn’t count), but I must admit that price point !== quality. I’ve been at conferences where one of the take away points was “If you don’t know, ask somebody”. Seriously, that was from a $600 conference. Furthermore, by attracting the name speakers doesn’t necessarily mean they are great. Often, speakers from larger companies don’t actually share too much knowledge because they’re too busy towing the company line. Instead they share what they’re latest products do.

    From hearing a few of the speakers from Loopconf speak already (many at WordCamp Europe), I’m confident that these won’t fall into the same boat, and if it attracts better developers to the WordPress Community, then I’m all for it. Furthermore, if it comes out that Loopconf was awesome and a mustn’t miss, then that is a good thing.

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  14. I don’t see any problem with charging US$800 for a conference ticket. I don’t think I’ve been to any conferences for less than that apart from WordCamp’s. I however see a problem in that they’re competing directly with WordCamp’s who are obviously much cheaper. And even though they’re providing support to get the speakers there, I don’t see that making a huge dent in the quality of those speakers. The best (WordPress) speakers already do lots of presentations for free anyway.

    One bonus I do see of paying US$800 is that they’ll hopefully get very good food. I’ve been to a few WordCamp’s which provided truly awful food. They’re mostly good, but I’ve come across a couple of shockers where I ended up going to grab a bite down the road instead of eating the free food on offer ;) But quite frankly, I’m not willing to spend US$750 for a few meals, no matter how nice they may be!

    So my opinion in a nutshell … it’s most definitely not a rip-off, but I wouldn’t go simply because I can’t see any real value beyond what you can get for (almost) free at a good WordCamp.

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    1. Interesting! I’ve never been to a WordCamp that didn’t have good food. I’d say it’s one of the perks of attending, aside from everything else :)

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  15. Am I the only person here who thinks this blog post and this comment thread is an awful lot of discussion about nothing? That perhaps there is simply not enough information to have written a blog post that gave this guy a free advertisement injected into the dashboards of tens of millions of WordPress blogs around the world?

    Isn’t debating the expense premature without knowing the content of the seminar, and thus whether or not it is worth it to you. Either it is or it isn’t. But we can’t even have a useful conversation about why an $800 seminar on WordPress is valuable to fellow professionals because all we know so far is it will be light and airy and chock full o’ wordpressy goodness. We have no information on yet to base that decision, except that the organizer has set a price for a product that doesn’t exist yet, but won’t be all that different from your $50 light and airy and chock full o’ wordpressy goodness get-togethers. When we do know some details, this discussion makes sense. How much you pay for your business seminars doesn’t impress me. What the organizer has said so far is underwhelming to say the least – not all that much different a speaker lineup than an average WordCamp? I’ve met lots of legendary WordPress gurus and experts who make their living with WordPress and you know what? Something tells me the key to their success had a lot to do with offering their customers incredible value for their dollar, and working hard – without being constantly mindful of how their fellow wordpress up-and-comer was ruining their wordcampy good time.

    The funny thing is, I’m not so sure that you all didn’t work out the solution in real time to keeping the techno-riff-raff away from your development sessions. Just charge double the fee for those sessions; you’ll be assured of your premium status and can be [reasonably] assured old ladies won’t come strolling in asking how to activate plugins during Dev sessions.

    When you factor in travel and accommodations, the cost of attending a $600 seminar is not 10+ times the cost of attending a $50 seminar. It sounds like that was a quick initial response to the premise. Anyone could make argument for $600-800 for some semi-deluxe technological amenities.

    I appreciate that everyone’s trying to bend over backwards to be nice to the next person on this thread, but there’s this negative energy that comes across from the group as a whole that people who depend on WordPress to do their life’s work are ruining your good time at every WordCamp you go to. If you make your living with WordPress, your educational eggs aren’t all in the WordCamp basket, are they?

    The irony is that for the people who are seemingly eager to pay the high price tag, what kind of speaker/presentation are you going to get access to for a 2 day seminar for $600-800? Nobody seems to have any idea just how utterly arbitrary the cost is, particularly since there is no content organized for people to to make an informed decision about. Is anyone worth their weight in salt who is recognized as a leader in the WordPress community going to jump at a few hundred dollars speaking fee to speak at this conference? Are you going to get a PhD from the future to come in and get you up to speed in PHP 6 in 3 easy hours? I would be extremely skeptical that the people who jump at this gig are the least qualified to be doing so – you know the WordPress types who are all sales and good with internet lingo with no underlying substance or reason. I wouldn’t jump to that conclusion if common sense didn’t compel me to ask the obvious.

    Which brings me back to my original point about the post and discussion being entirely premature. The groupthink going on in this blog post + discussion threads has an air of selfishness that doesn’t seem to jive with the WordPress community I hold in such high esteem. The guy may offer a perfectly great value, and he may price out 99% of the WordPress community but that doesn’t preclude it from being a super successful coming together of some awesome people spending some time away from the office rediscovering why they love WordPress.

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    1. All true, but the discussion does reveal some things about the people producing it. There often seems to be an antagonistic and largely fictitious, overly reductive line drawn between “developers” and “users” — especially when the implication is it’s also a distinction between professionals and non-professionals, or people who command a “high” rate and those who do not.

      Another angle: does anyone ever think there ought to be a WordPress track at major professional conferences like the AMA (currently taking place in Austin)? Their site is built on WP, and undoubtedly many of the “professionals” attending already use or might be in a position to consider adoption of WP at a college, university, or other biggish company but… http://austinama.org/?s=wordpress

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      1. Hey Dan,

        Definitely not our intention to have any kind of antagonistic slant toward any group, so if anything we’ve mentioned or said gives that impression I’d love to know about it so we can make some evaluations.

        I do believe that for the most part, the more niche a conference becomes, the more potential it has to to give a specialized level of training that can’t be found in other places.

        One thing that should probably be made abundantly clear is that I love WordCamps. I attend, speak, and sponsor them all the time. Nothing can replace the grass roots and community feel of a WordCamp.

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      2. Hi Ryan, I was agreeing with the guy who said there was no basis to criticize your efforts. My remarks were in response a tone in many other comments here that seem a bit overzealous in their developer-centric desire to get away from the masses in userland.

        It’s perfectly reasonable to have professional developer-centered conferences on par with industry peers, and as others pointed out it’s quite possible to have “professional” or “advanced” developer tracks at WordCamps. I hope both continue to grow, but the larger world of WordPress (including “professional WordPress) is not developer-centric and should not be thought of that way. There are many centers and circles that overlap and support each other. (E.g. design, marketing and copywriting.)

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    2. While I don’t think we’re having a discussion about nothing, I do agree that putting money out for a conference in it’s first year without knowing the actual talks that will be given is jumping the gun. BUT they aren’t selling tickets until we do see that list.

      In my opinion, I’m happy to see this post on WP Tavern, as it is a bit of a big deal, in comparison to the standard WordCamp’s we attend. I’m hoping it’s successful as well :)

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  16. I think the initial concern over pricing is due to how our expectations are set around WordCamps. It’s not fair to compare the two.

    Sure, WordCamps are conference-esque, but at the end of the day they’re entirely volunteer-driven with budgets going mostly to cover food and venue costs.

    A professional conference, where organizers are paid for their time and speakers are compensated and there’s a bit of margin (ideally to invest in further events), is an entirely different beast.

    Best of luck to the LoopConf organizers in making it kick some serious ass. :)

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  17. Great conversation and a lot of talk about something that seems very normal to me.

    Everyone has a certain perspective. I have been going to conferences for 20+ years. Some great, some okay, and others crappy. Prices all over the board.

    Anytime a new conference starts, depending on the price, there will always be some hesitancy. It’s normal. Some flourish, others bite the dust.

    I love WordCamps. They work. But our so-called “community” has fallen into a rut when it comes to pricing anything. Comparing LoopConf to a WordCamp, well, we are talking apples and oranges.

    I enjoy seeing this happening. Welcome to the real world. And I wish the best for LoopConf :)

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  18. One thing I find particularly interesting with LoopConf is the decision to not only offer a free, global, live stream of the event, but also have the recorded sessions be available for free as well. This is a sharply different take on the livestream aspect from let’s say Prestige.

    I wonder if Ryan can weigh in on the decisions regarding the live stream and recorded sessions afterwards.

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    1. More than anything it’s that we believe in open source, and education is a huge part of that. There’s no motivation for us to hide what’s sure to be fantastic knowledge.

      The main fee associated with our tickets is for the in-person experience itself. The food, the entertainment, the activities, and the energy that can’t be replicated through a computer. Not to mention the fact that people are going to network at a seriously awesome level.

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      1. Thanks for the response and explanation. I guess no one will have an excuse not to at least see how awesome LoopConf is :P

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  19. I don’t get it. Automattic charges $950 for a one day training seminar and that’s fine but an event charges the same and there’s a ‘controversy’.

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    1. Ding, ding, ding; give Christopher Ross a prize! He’s said the most in the least number of words of any who has commented here.

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      1. Ha, yes I had the same thought. Great comment.

        Is it just me, or is the real reason for reaction to new “high” prices anywhere in the world of WordPress usually due to someone resenting or fearing the future implications when someone else is commanding the price? It doesn’t have anything to do with ability to pay — it’s kind of a “new tax” reaction. A new price signal surges through the market and anxiety follows in its wake, asking the meaning and implications. Without regard to commentary, the market answers with sales…

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  20. I think there’s a lot of merit to having both WordCamps and new developer centric conferences like LoopConf. I’ve been to two WordCamps, and will be in Vegas next month for another one. For me, as a small business owner who struggles a lot with Impostor Syndrome, WordCamp was an absolute great place to start. I think attending a “professional” conference can be very intimidating for those of us who have really small, boutique businesses. Going to WordCamp really boosted my confidence and introduced me to an outside world with the human people I don’t see in my home office! Now that I’ve been to a few, I feel a lot more comfortable attending bigger conferences wherein before I would probably have been reluctant to even consider it.

    I think having the early bird price is great, and it’s at a price point I would pay if there was room in my schedule to go. I’d definitely need to make sure the sessions were going to be high quality and relevant to my business before making the commitment though. If I didn’t already have a lot of travel plans for the next few months, I’d definitely be thinking about attending LoopConf. (And I’d still go to WordCamps too, because I think there’s a lot of value to those as well.)

    I don’t see that there needs to be controversial though. :)

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