Why I Don’t Attend Many Conferences

July 18, 2009 Posted by Tyler Cruz

Affiliate Summit East 2009 is coming up soon and so I have been getting a lot of people asking me if I’m going. I am not.

In fact, I’ve only ever attended one trade show/conference, that one being BlogWorld last September in Las Vegas.

Networking, while not essential to making money online, will definitely help you to increase how much you’re making as well as make the process a lot easier. Most of what you’ve already read and heard about conferences are true; you won’t really learn much but the relationships and contacts you make are priceless.

Therefore, I do promote and endorse the value of tradeshows and conferences such as the Affiliate Summits and Ad:Tech. The reason I rarely attend any is simple: the location.

21 Hours, One Way

I live on Vancouver Island in British Columbia, Canada. This makes travelling, especially to another country, a huge pain that most people don’t notice or consider since they’re already living in the United States.

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If I were to attend Affiliate Summit East, I’d have to embark on the following pilgrimage. I’ll be fairly conservative with the times and I just checked 3 online travel sites and none had a direct flight from Vancouver to New York so I’d be forced to take a connecting flight:

  • Take a taxi to the ferry: 15 minutes
  • Wait for the ferry: 1 hour
  • Ride the ferry: 2 hours
  • Take a taxi to the airport: 35 minutes
  • Go through check-in, security, immigration/customs. Since it’s an international flight I must check-in at least 3 hours early: 3 hours
  • Fly to New York with connecting flight, going through security and all that jazz again: 13 hours
  • Go through immigration again and wait at baggage claim: 1.5 hours
  • Take a taxi to hotel: 45 minutes

Total travel time one-way: 21 hours

Then I get to do the same thing when I return. In addition to the long travel times, it’s also a lot more expensive for me to travel somewhere internationally. Don’t forget the currency exchange rates either.

I just came back from the Philippines, and the long travel times absolutely killed me. I had to take a connecting flight both ways in Hong Kong, and a 13 hour flight from Vancouver to Hong Kong in addition to that and I don’t think I can ever do that again. I just can’t stay cramped up that long… my body felt absolutely horrible.

If I ever have to take a long flight again I’ll be taking first class or business class. It’s 3.5x as much (at least for international flights) but I really need more room if I’m going to be sitting for that long.

In Comparison

In comparison, it is much easier for Americans. Even if somebody lives across the country in Seattle, they’re still bypassing the ferry times, immigration and customs, currency exchange, passport carrying, etc. crap that I have to go through. It’s just a real pain to travel for me.

Therefore, you’ll probably never see me attend any conference as far as New York, although the ones held in Vegas such as BlogWorld and Affiliate Summit West are much more realistic for me. The flight times to Vegas from Vancouver are only around 4 hours and Ad:Tech in San Francisco would probably only be 2.5.

But what I’d really like to see is a big related conference held in Vancouver, Canada! Then it’s only a 3-4 hour trip for me compared to an exhausting 21 hours.

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I don’t think I’ll even be attending BlogWorld (held in October) this year. I absolutely love Vegas, but I really hate the actual travelling part (ferries, flights, taxi’s, etc.).

It’s a real shame as I know just how effective these events are for networking. Especially for me, when I have sites such as PublisherChallenge.com and PublisherSpot.com which are perfect candidates to have in your arsenal at tradeshows such as Ad:Tech and Affiliate Summit.

While I hate long traveling times and have only attended one conference in the past, I will attend some more in the future, but probably only one a year.

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Posted: July 18th, 2009 under Miscellaneous  

37 Responses to “Why I Don’t Attend Many Conferences”

  1. Ben Pei says:

    I have the same problem Tyler.

    Travelling for me alone takes 24 hours…

  2. This is also the major downside in living in Australia. Besides the fact that affiliate marketing is seen as strange and weird, no notable conferences or tradeshows take place here. Flying to the states from OZ alone is a 17 hour trip and I can’t imagine the sort of price I’d be paying for accomodation, meals and everything else which goes with it. And then like you say, it’s not so much about what you do there, it’s who you meet. This is why social media websites such as Twitter are becoming (or are) so resourceful due to the fact I can easily look up any notable marketer and send them a Tweet.

  3. Roz says:

    Cry me a river, I’m coming from New Zealand to NYC. I don’t think travel time is the real reason you don’t go, I think its cause you may feel uncomfortable about showing after all the bad press you get.

  4. I have not attended any conferences…but I would like to attend at least 1 someday.

  5. Konrad says:

    You have no clue what you are talking about. Nothing besides maybe the cabs is anywhere accurate or correct. And if you actually took the time to research other options you would realize that it wouldn’t take you *anywhere* near 21 hours.

  6. Jon says:

    You can easıly cut that trip down to 8 hours – cabs and all. Fly from Vıctoria to YVR and then take a direct flight to New York. Easily done on Air Canada or Cathay.

    BTW – for those of us that actually travel regularly for a livıng, goıng to New York is a treat. Dont make excuses – just go. And for the record İ lıve ın Vancity

    • Jesse says:

      I’m in Victoria too.. 20 minute Helijet ride and you’re in downtown Vancouver, quick ride to the airport and less than 7 hour direct flight from YVR to JFK.. It’s not that hard

  7. Dean Saliba says:

    This is also why I don’t go. I live in the UK!

  8. You hit on a lot of good points here. These are also many of the reasons I don’t attend conferences (minus the taking a ferry part). The whole travelling experience, especially international, is a huge pain.

    I attended the very first BlogWorld show, but that’s it. It’s also a lot more convenient for me to stay at home and run my businesses than on the road… having to rely on hot spots in airports, hotels, etc. can be a bit of a drag.

    Unfortunately, with our industry, 95% of the conferences/trade shows are in the U.S. We really need to expand the Canadian market and get some meet ups here.

  9. I feel you Tyler, myself based in South Africa I would love to attend such trade shows, however it’s too expensive for me to even consider them…

  10. Online TV says:

    As you, and some commentators, I also do not go to conferences, since most of them are held in United States, but I live in Europe.

  11. Those conferences are all talk, plus I agree with you it is such a pain to travel

  12. Tom says:

    Who checks into flights (international or not) 3 hours early? first time flying hah?

    Also, whats the logic in:

    # Take a taxi to the ferry: 15 minutes
    # Wait for the ferry: 1 hour

    Why not…take a taxi so that you get to the ferry right before it leaves?

    Everything in your post is over exaggerated hah.

  13. paul says:

    Wow that is a major pain in the butt!

  14. A lot of networking can be done online so conferences are not the most important thing.

  15. Mike says:

    You gotta be joking. You are exaggerating dude!

  16. Trevor says:

    Maybe a perspective shift on the situation would help you.

    Seeing that you are running businesses like PublisherChallenge.com and PublisherSpot.com I’d think it would be a massive benefit to not only attend the shows, but get yourself a booth and make your presence known.

    If you take the extra income you will surely make because of your presence there and divide it by the number of ‘extra’ hours you need to travel, you might be willing to do it.

    Yeah, 50 extra hours of traveling seems pointless, but if it brought you and extra 50k at the end of the year you’d be making a thousand an hour in the process.

    How about even turning the travel into productive time where you have less distractions. Keep that laptop fired up and hammer out some business ideas. Examine and make new goals.

    The ferry trip is also a very beautiful thing. I’ve spent the whole thing standing in the front of the ferry and admiring how beautiful this part of the world really is. Enjoy yourself, Tyler!

    You wouldn’t have made this post if something about this issue wasn’t bothering you. Try to shift your perspective and maybe not only will you go to these shows but you will enjoy them and profit from them!

    Peace.

    • Sebastian says:

      Well said.

      • Sebastian says:

        Ah, didn’t meant to post that so quickly. Let me continue..

        Well said. Personally, I don’t go to events because I find them to be rather boring. Then again, I also found E3 2004, 2005, and 2006 pretty boring as well, so I guess I’m just a boring kind of guy..

        Kudos to you Tyler for the bigger affiliate challenge you are attempting based on our feedback. Though, it would have been nice to discuss that a bit further. I’m not a big fan of the car up for grabs. I was thinking more along the lines of a BMW 328xi or something similar which is what I have now (’06 325i).

        It’s not that the car isn’t OK, I just would want to compete for something that I’d actually use. A for effort, however.

  17. Dave says:

    There is no way that it should take you 21 hours to get from Nanaimo to New York.

    First off, I believe that you live in Nanaimo. You can fly from the Nanaimo airport to YVR. This will cost you about $100 one-way and will take around 22 minutes. This should take at least two hours off of the time that it takes you to get to the Vancouver airport.

    Second, there are plenty of direct flights from Vancouver to New York – you should search around a bit more. I found a number of direct flights within 5 minutes of searching. Cathay Pacific offers direct flights that take just 5 hours and 25 minutes.

    These two changes will save you in the neighborhood of 8-9 hours in travel time.

  18. Are you sad at all that you won’t be able to attend?

  19. 21 hours just on travelling to the place is killing people, I believe that you have no mood to entertain people or communicate with them after a long travelling.
    I understand you because I experienced it…

    -Davis-

  20. MLDina says:

    The travel and schedules, time changes, etc. can be pretty exhausting but well worth it! There are some great business contacts at the shows, and even if you can only make 1/year you should make it your goal to make the most out of that 1 show.

    • Gary says:

      I agree! My first conference was great and I made a tonne of contacts through networking (like meeting MLDina!).

      Tyler, you’re missing out by not attending these conferences! It’s a business write off man!! :)

  21. Luke says:

    I won’t be at this one either. I would really love to make it to an Affiliate Summit though. Ad:Tech was amazing and I’ve heard a lot of great things about Affiliate Summit.

    You forgot to mention one pro to going, all the FREEBIES being handed out by the companies! :p

  22. gurtey says:

    Yeah, i agree, we can make many contacts by attending conferences..advantage!

  23. Michael says:

    I understand why conferences would be helpful for networking now Tyler, since you have publisherchallenge and publisherspot and you can promote those sites to the attendees. But what about when you didn’t have those websites, when you just had tylercruz.com, pokerforums.org, etc. How would the networking in conferences have helped you then?

  24. Michael Kwan says:

    Although it’s debatable whether a conference is necessarily worthwhile for you or not, you are way overestimating your travel times.

    You do not need to get to the airport three hours in advance for international travel to the States. Give yourself an hour and a half to two hours and you’ll be fine. If you’ve already gone through customs through YVR, you don’t need to go through it again.

    Similarly, you don’t have to go through security again, because you would already be in the secured zone when you are transferring flights (if you need to transfer flights).

    Yes, traveling can be stressful but it can also be very rewarding. Get out there, see the world, and meet some interesting people.

  25. Did you sit in the economy class or coach? I always sit in economy class as I don’t make money like some of you :(

    -Mike

  26. gurtey says:

    travel should not be your concern…to be in a press conference is like very good to make new contacts!

  27. hacetsizlik says:

    There is no way that it should take you 21 hours to get from Nanaimo to New York. ;)

  28. Wow that is a major pain in the butt :/

PeerFly

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