Yes. PT spends real money for a real recording company with Lavalier mics on the speakers and video/audio techs in the back of the room and the whole setup.
This means that many FinCon attendees don’t even go to the presentations in real time. We’re “busy” with networking among ourselves, talking with exhibitors or sponsors, or just catching a much-needed guilt-free introvert break. There have been FInCons where I’ve spent most of the morning at a table with a cup of coffee and a rotating cast of characters (asking questions or answering them) only to realize that I’m supposed to be on a panel discussion starting in 90 seconds. And I’m not wearing a mic yet.
As much as I enjoy a good snark, we see this comment a lot. Let me add to Jim’s observation.
First, if you’re selling stuff on your blog that people don’t need, then why are you blogging? It’s much more fulfilling to provide tools that give people a hand up. It’s not a handout, either-- if you give it away for free then they won’t put any value on it. (Countless entrepreneurs have learned the value of “free”.) Spending money for useful tools makes buyers commit to using them, and it makes you someone who’s helping people to help themselves. if helps someone earn more money than carving their own out of a block of raw material, then you’ve added value to their business-- or cut months off their journey to financial independence.
Next, I’m pretty sure that PT is still selling the tickets at cost (like he documented in FinCon12), because a roster of 1000+ attendees leverages all sorts of real money from sponsors and the site facilities. (FinCon16 got the hotel’s exhibition hall for free. PT filled it with paying sponsors and exhibitors, and we got to spend all that time with them.) PT (and his paid staff, and the unpaid Finions) are working for about a nickel an hour… or for free.
Finally, you can indeed learn that stuff online for free, and you can be put off by the inherent (self-imposed) contradictions. However FinCon is a chance to have totally unscripted meetings among people you’d never chat with online and to ask them the questions which would simply get lost in their daily social media. You also get to see Pat Flynn fall flat on his face as he’s climbing the steps to the stage, or watch Noah Kagan hand out $50 and $100 bills to the audience. All 500 people in the audience.
In retrospect, perhaps it’s not all available online for free. Although with Noah I can’t be sure.
FinCon’s not simply a cost. It’s a capital expense with a ROI. I’ve logged my expenses every year (and I don’t travel like a submariner anymore). Every year I’ve noted that I’d earn more money from the Pro Networking and the Freelancer’s Marketplace than I’d ever spend on a hotel suite. Even better, I’ve been able to sit next to real professional entrepreneurs and watch them help other entrepreneurs work through five-figure revenue problems. You can cut the entrepreneurial spirit in the hallways with a chainsaw.
I have to admit, though, that it felt a little odd to see Ryan Guina sitting next to me in Noah’s talk with a crisp $50 bill in his hand that he’d just pulled off a stack of currency. It was a bit weird to have Ryan pass me the inch-thick stack of money for the rest of our row. I pulled my bill off the bottom of the stack and-- even more strangely-- passed the cash stack to the next person. Then I saw the reaction on Ryan’s face when he looked at the bill I’d just taken from the stack… and I realized it was a $100 bill.
Weirdest of all, another person in the row behind me spoke up to the guy passing out the stacks of cash: “Excuse me, do you have any more bills? I didn’t get one over here!” I figured I didn’t need my Benjamin, so I gave it to them.
That experience was priceless.
Why was Noah handing out stacks of cash? We never saw it coming. (In fact he walked up on stage with over $25,000 in bills in a convenience store’s white plastic shopping bag. It was sitting next to his water bottle the entire time he was moving around the platform and talking through the slides. I thought he’d brought his lunch.) He was making a point: he was giving away money and asking people to take action. We were supposed to write down on those bills what we were going to do with them to improve our skills and to turn them into even more money.
Free money has a great ROI. Noah inspired a lot of people that day.
And you can bet I’ll show up for more of the FinCon17 keynote speakers.