Laracon Online 2017 was a giant waste of money!
And i am not talking about the $10 entry fee. This really is not too much. I will probably pay the fee next year again because i really enjoyed all the talks. Also I am a Forge subscriber. So i have no issues with someone making money from providing a good service.
Laracon Online had approximately 3500 participants. With a quick math equation we get about $35000 from the entry fees. Also there were several sponsors who most likely paid some money. So my question is, where the hell did that money go to?
I must admit, i have never organized an event like that and i do not know, if speakers usually get paid or not. If they do not, then most of the money was spent on the bandwidth. So the organizers hooked up some paid service with extremely low video and audio quality. What were they thinking?
AFAIK there are free services, which can provide the same functionality with much better quality for free. Have you checked Youtube and Google hangouts?
The sad truth is, that i do not believe for a second, that all of this money was spent on the bandwidth or on the speaker bonuses. Laracon Online 2017 was just a perfect example on how to make money from a thin air.
And now the ugly part!
We had one final swag item that we weren't able to get organized in time for Laracon Online, but it's finally come in and I wanted to go ahead and let you know about it.
Our friends at BugSnag are giving each new account sign up a free t-shirt! I have one of these myself and they are truly fantastic shirts. They've given these out at Laracon US before and I'm really happy to be able to share a bit of that physical world conference experience with you!
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When i saw this email my initial thought was “Oh cool, a free t-shirt!”. So i signed up to get my t-shirt. To my disappointment this commercial was misleading and cruel. To really get the promised t-shirt i would have to set up a program and trigger an exception. Who do they think i am? My code never has a reason to throw an exception. I am a master coder :D
Also the sponsor advertisements sounded like a freaking morning TV-Shop shows. If one can call them shows.
Not everything has to orbit the money. I know, that for open source projects money has to come from somewhere. Laravel has Forge and other paid services. Also Taylor started his patreon act and i am totally cool with it. But a line must be drawn at some point.
For the next year i suggest you get 20 speakers, let them record the shows with good quality and publish them all at once on Youtube. After a week hold an online panel with all the speakers and Laravel key figures on Google Hangouts or similar. And do not charge people for the conference!
You could still have sponsors. I do not think anyone would even mind about a small logo in the corner of each talk. With sponsor money you could cover the costs. Each event has some costs!