This is an idea I’ve wanted to explore for some time.
Well for one, The 21 Convention is a pretty unique event. I like to think I’m on top of other events that are similar in nature, yet I have never come across one that really did appear to be a direct competitor, or a replica event.
And I mean that in a positive (not arrogant) sense – the sense that The 21 Convention is in a league of it’s own.
Take The Dating Conference for example, being held in NY City this June. I’ve spoken with the organizer, and he seems like a stand up dude. I may even be there for the first day of the event.
Why should I be concerned about his event in a competitive sense though? As far as I am concerned, I would LOVE to see his event succeed.
Why not? I ask.
If there is a good guy running the event, that is not solely here to suck people’s wallets dry, then him succeeding is one step forward for an industry over run with charlatans and snake charmers.
To put it bluntly, him succeeding equals less business for idiot slime balls.
For the most part, the same applies to Pua Summit in California and The Real Man Conference that was just held in Europe. However I have not spoken with the organizers as much, ans as such I can’t go to the exact same length in my endorsement for these events – but pretty close none the less based off of my conversations with the organizers and viewing the event from my little corner of the globe.
Secondly, these events are not The 21 Convention. They are more or less ‘pickup conferences’, or “success with women conventions” to be more politically correct
And hey, to each his own. I make no judgments against someone who dedicates a massive amount of time, effort, and hard work to organize an event such as that.
BUT, that’s not where The 21 Convention is heading, and as such, I see T21C as different from “Pua Summit” or “The Real Man Conference”, as I do from “Primal Con” – a health and fitness retreat being held this month in California by one of our 2010 Orlando speakers, Mark Sisson.
I suppose the difference comes down to how narrow or comprehensive a given event is. Pua Summit is an event exclusively filled with “pick up artists” last time I checked, The Dating Conference is focused exclusively on success with women, and Primal Con is an event centered around health, fitness, nutrition, etc.
What about The 21 Convention?
Well, if you look back to the very beginning, to 2007 and 2008, you can see a more ‘wholeistic’ approach trying to creep into the event (while the rest of “the community” was still mostly obsessed with whether or not to use canned pickup lines and other minor details).
It took a while for me to realize this, and finally bring it into the event full swing in 2009 and now 2010, but it’s finally here – we’ve connected the dots where others dig in their heels.
You not only see the world’s best pickup artists present at both T21C Orlando and Stockholm this year (individually incredible line ups, and collectively ridiculous), but you also see best selling nutrition and exercise authors, a best selling business author/entrepreneur with endorsements from Tony Robbins and Tim Ferris, but medical doctors and personal trainers as well.
I have to ask – what other event is even attempting to pull off something like this?
As the director of The 21 Convention, I really couldn’t tell you. I keep my eyes open for such events, but I have yet to see one.
I suppose you could argue the TED event comes close, but even then, I think that’s too extreme an example. That event is literally for every idea conceivable, with the only unifying theme being “ideas worth spreading”.
And rightly so! They bring awesome ideas to the table, and have been a major inspiration to me personally.
But, there isn’t a focus on men, and the speakers are not given a whole lot of time – limiting their potential to actually teach and help individuals.
Which is where The 21 Convention differs from the TED event – even if you make the stretch to call The 21 Convention the “TED event for men”.
TED is focused on spreading ideas collectively – extremely short bursts of information and ideas meant to echo over the internet to help spark change in specific fields.
Sure, I want the event footage to travel as far as possible online – but I also want people who attend LIVE to actually learn something – and by the same effect those who watch it online to actually LEARN something as well, and frikin use the information!
People thank me all the time for hosting this convention and the footage up online for free, but man I have to come out and say it: the greatest thanks is always when I find out that an individual has directly benefited from the event or the online streaming footage.
Even when I hear about it indirectly.
A great example was something El Topo mentioned to me a few months back when he was in Orlando for his documentary shoot: he told me that he knew people in Texas who had watched my 2009 exercise/nutrition speech and had lost a ton of weight.
I had never even heard about these people! But man, what the f**k! That is awesome to hear. I went up on stage, gave a speech that I poured a ton of time and effort into, and multiple people went and changed the physical shape of their bodies – holy crap.
That’s everything I could have asked for, and then some.
Anyway, I’ve been kind of rambling on about similar events and conventions, but I should probably move on to some clear and defined specifics as the slightly sarcastic title of this post suggests (these are probably points you can share with friends who would benefit from attending or spending a little time watching event footage).
1. I run the event
I suppose this is my own arrogance seeping through (by putting this at number one on the list), but I’m mostly serious – The 21 Convention is awesome because I run it.
Am I somehow better than other event organizers? Maybe, but probably not in most cases – just different, and younger in virtually every case.
Well for one, this event is “not just for profit” in nature – always has been, and always will be. In that sense, I have told a lot of different people to “take a hike” (in more or less words) over the years that viewed the convention purely as a source of revenue – to be sucked dry and discarded no less.
That idea has always been repulsive to me, to the point where I would probably bash my head into a curb before selling out The 21 Convention.
Well that then diverges into the second aspect of ‘me’ – I’ve spent a tremendous amount of time and effort on this convention over the years, and there really isn’t a number that can be placed on that. I have literally invested myself into The 21 Convention.
Giving all that up for some ink printed on paper seems asinine and preposterous. Or are thousands of hours of hard work (from myself, not to mention others), tears, persistence, and massive risk worth an arbitrary amount of money?
Hell no they aren’t. And as I’ve said before elsewhere – none of that would have even been possible with some imaginary future amount of money as the only driver.
2. The Win/Win is always in mind (fair ticket prices, free event footage, maximum value for your dollar)
It’s funny, when I look at other events (some, not all), a lot of the time I ask myself – is this person intentionally implementing a win/lose scenario?
The answer is most often no. You’d have to be a ‘mad’ or extremely bitter man to knowingly make such decisions – but never the less those decisions are often made.
People are thinking: how can I maximize profit for the least amount of time/effort/money invested.*
*I don’t view being ‘effective’ and ‘efficient’ as inherently bad – that’s nonsense – but I do see it as a negative when that is the exclusive focus and all else is thrown to the wayside – like actually making a positive impact in the world and doing something worthwhile with one’s time.
Or in other words: how can I ‘win‘, and make the other person ‘lose‘ – a totally FUBARed view and practice of capitalism (the one we most often see portrayed by collectivists for those big/bad/evil corporations that supposedly run amok without the tender loving care of a bureaucracy).
How is it FUBARed? (F**ked up beyond all recognition)
It’s unsustainable, in any area of life, be it business, relationships, meeting women, and so on.
When one person ‘wins’, and the other ‘loses’, eventually both lose out in one form or another.
So a win/lose ultimately results in a lose/lose – without lapse.
I suppose I’ve avoided that way of thinking because I’ve viewed helping others as equal to or greater than helping myself.
Translation: by finding a win/win and actively helping individuals, the quality of my life improves. The convention becomes ever more popular, and more and more people are continually helped in one form or another. It’s a sustainable positive upwards spiral.
As a result this convention has been able to stand on it’s own two feet, and individuals have, in very real and practical ways, changed their lives.
As I mentioned earlier, a few guys in Texas were able to lose weight and build some muscle from my 2009 speech. But even that I suppose is just the tip of the iceberg.
While less socially acceptable, it’s worth noting that a lot of guys get laid during the convention every year. (Apparently people don’t even bother to tell me about these things till some years later!).
This may not seem like a big deal to most, but to some, this is life changing. Seriously. Imagine going your whole life socially awkward and often outright ‘shunned’ by the opposite sex – and that turns around (at least temporarily) in a single weekend. That’s HUGE. What’s more, this can easily spark a lasting and permanent change in one’s life.
And to go further, there are a lot of positive by products from the convention. Dj Fuji being a prime example of someone who gave an outstanding speech, gained a lot of popularity, and as a result his business has sky rocketed – and rightly so!
He was probably one of the most underrated and under appreciated coaches in the dating industry – and speaking in 2009 was a huge step forward for him. And what’s more, he’s inspired other coaches to go the independent route and teach what they really feel is ‘right’ – and not just ‘right’ for the company they formerly worked for.
How bad ass is that!?
Back on point, I have continually tried to hone ticket prices in to what works best for attendees and the convention itself (and all the costs that go with it). That sounds simple, but it has been anything but. There really isn’t a path for me to follow with this convention – time and time again it’s been new steps forward where frankly, there is just no one to follow, even if I wanted to (TED event aside).
I think as a result The 21 Convention has set standards and ranges for similar events to price themselves at – but do any beat The 21 Convention?
I keep my eye out for any that do, and I have yet to see one. Sometimes they come close, but most often there is something ‘lacking’. Either the event is a full day shorter, or the footage comes at a high cost – if it is even available in a timely manner to begin with (our event footage released just a few WEEKS in high definition post event last year).
And yeah, speaking of footage, ours is free in high definition. Uh can you say awesome?
It is now only days away from being available on DVD for home viewing as well – and not only that, but available on an individual DVD basis – meaning you can order an entire set (for a discount) or a specific speech that you found to be really helpful, or you think would make a cool gift, etc.
What’s more, event attendees will have first access to 2010 event footage this Fall. More details to come when they are relevant, but basically if you attend live, you get a few days head start on the footage (and discussion there of) as compared to the general public.
Finally, the “maximum value for your dollar” statement refers back to the constant search for a win/win at the event, and online as well I suppose (in the form of free footage, and DVDs on demand that YOU want, and not necessarily a whole set with speeches you may not care for and don’t feel like paying for).
At the event this is seen in the form of nightly bonus workshops held by the speakers. I can’t FORCE these to happen obviously, because the speakers don’t work for me, but I encourage the hell out of them because I know it helps both the speakers and attendees equally – it’s a win/win.
I think you also see this in the individual attention given at the event by speakers. I do my personal best to stop and answer questions with real depth, not just a quick finger to the direction of the person who should be asked instead of me. And as such, I see speakers do the same who are able to attend a good portion (or even all) of the event.
These people are often hard to get in contact with, if even possible at all – but at the event they give 100% of their attention to people who take the time to introduce themselves. Dj Fuji and El Topo are excellent examples of this – and even the mega popular Adam Lyons – although it’s a bit more complicated for him as a huge crowd usually gathers around (it’s really fascinating to see how charismatic this guy is in person).
I could probably ramble on, but I think I boiled down what I wanted to say about the event into those two points, without getting into the more esoteric ones that are a little too deep for this post.
In any case, you support the convention and everything it represents – from the speakers and attendees, to the ideals it attempts (and sometimes succeeds) to realize – by attending live (Orlando and especially Stockholm this year, which is a new and huge step for the convention!), sharing the footage online, telling friends, and purchasing what you consider to be the best speeches on DVD. All of these things help keep me, and The 21 Convention trucking along, full steam ahead, into an infinity of awesomeness.