I have been to a fair few conferences in my day. In my previous life as a full-time entrepreneur, I’d go to a lot of business conferences. Now, as an author, I go to writing events — so far, primarily science fiction and fantasy gatherings. I have learned that you can tell a lot about a community by its conference style.
Business: Let’s get started with a 6 a.m. breakfast meeting BECAUSE TIME IS MONEY, PEOPLE. Hustle!
Writing: We’ll roll into programming around 11 a.m., because we know you’ve been up reading or gaming all night.
Business: We provide on site power coffee, productivity-enhancing hot breakfast, vitamin-infused drinks, and we expect you’ll want to hit the gym at least twice a day, so we’ve had the hotel reserve it exclusively for us.
Writing: Please remember to eat occasionally.
Business: Silicon Valley wannabe entrepreneur uniform: $125 hoodie, $70 jeans, $250 shoes. Old school entrepreneur uniform: $1200 suit, $300 shoes, and as much gold as is tasteful for your industry.
Writing: Whatever’s clean. Unless we’re talking cosplay, in which case there will be $2000 worth of highly detailed costumes, swords or phasers, or possibly both at once.
Business: Con suite menu – mini-lamb burgers with garlic aioli, prosciutto-wrapped figs with blue cheese, wild mushroom tartlets, a selection of fine wines, because food is life, dahling!
Writing: Con suite menu – chili on taco chips, beer and soda from the ice pile in the bathtub, because food is fuel.
Business: HI! I’M BOB, VP OF SALES. PLEASE TAKE MY CARD. Connect with me on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat and my cell phone. Are you on Linked In? Please say you’re on Linked In. I’m a Linked In open networker, or LION. Rowr! Get it?!
Writing: Actual t-shirt slogan sighted: “Ew, humans.”
Business: We love innovation and new ideas… once we’ve tested them with focus groups, run them through three management committees, done six risk assessments, and drafted five profit and loss scenarios.
Writing: Dude, we have twenty new ideas before breakfast. Every day. Sometimes we even write them down.
Business: Seminar titles
- Crushing the Competition with Wide Open® Thinking.
- How to Avoid Analysis Paralysis.
- 10x Your Revenue with the Zero Effort System©®(TM)!
- How to Work On Your Business, Not In Your Business.
- Being Your Best Self.
Writing: Seminar titles
- Monsters vs. Aliens: Creating Realistic Creatures.
- Terraforming Mars: Can It Be Done?
- Which Character Should I Kill Off?
- En Garde! Describing Exciting Sword Fights.
- Sentence Structure and You.
Business: Breaks between sessions spent madly typing emails and texts back to the office.
Writing: Breaks between sessions spent madly running to the next session because who are we kidding, there are no breaks.
Business: Buzzwords – Synergy, going forward, baller, optimization, disrupt, ideate.
Writing: Buzzwords – FTL drive, Dyson sphere, positronic, bag of holding, level up, questing, oook.
Business: Much respect given to the entrepreneurs who are actually making money and not quietly going bankrupt.
Writing: Much respect given to the authors who are actually making money and not quietly starving to death.
Business: Will attend a conference and get all fired up about eight business improvement ideas, go home, and implement exactly one before being swamped by the usual office politics and other assorted minutiae.
Writing: Will attend a conference and get all fired up about eighty story ideas, go home, and convert about ten of them into viable writing projects before being buried by their collapsing To Be Read pile.
* Singing songs, borrowing the tunes from other songs, but replacing the words to relate to a science fiction or fantasy theme.