What makes a great conference? Thoughts on NASSCOM product conclave

Fresh from the recently concluded NASSCOM product conclave, I was giving some thought to what makes a great conference. Having been at many over the years both at the US and India, there’s just one word that differentiates the approach and type of conference.


American conferences are produced.

Indian conferences (and events) are curated.

What is production?

The ability to define a delegate, speaker and sponsor experience that seeks to maximize the benefit to them all by defining a purpose of how they should feel post the event.

What is curation?

Putting together good content with great speakers, having enough attendees that are interested in the topic with sponsors that are willing to pay for their logo to be attached to the event.

NPC 2012 was a good event by most measures. Top notch ratings for over 50% of the session (80%+ Net promoter score), great camaraderie and networking and finally a packed set of sessions that were curated by a dedicated set of volunteers.

We need more produced events.

1. Production means getting speakers to have rehearsals before the event. If Steve Jobs can rehearse a presentation, everyone else can. No exceptions.

No rehearsals means people that take 45 minutes when they were allotted 15, non-engaging & dry content.

2. Production means understanding & setting aside enough time for both ad hoc and managed networking and fostering a “we’re all in this together” feeling.

No networking focus means many people trying to get some time with key speakers after and before the event, only to find that they (speakers) had allocated only 2 hours to be at the event.

3. Production means ensuring sponsors are actively adding value by looking to build content and engaging demos which benefits the attendees.

No engaging experiences means a 2 minute ad at the beginning of the event that 90% of people forget after day 1 of the session.

I think we need production quality experience so people feel wowed, get energized, learn lots, network to grow their business. Here’s looking forward to more produced events in India.

4 thoughts on “What makes a great conference? Thoughts on NASSCOM product conclave”

  1. Thanks for a great post Mukund, will use these learning in organizing/producing ‘Lean Startup Machine’, which I am organizing in mid of January 🙂

  2. Workshops are better than conferences.
    Because they give experience&/skill 🙂

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