Today I "stumbled upon" Arnout Mostert, CEO and Founder of Conference Bay. I say stumbled, for it was an unexpected but most fortunate meeting. He spoke to me about his Internet biz in Singapore. It is easy to tell that Conference Bay, hence its name, is modeled after the so-called eBay economy, where a new marketing platform was born and thus, revolutionized trading for its hundreds of millions of users throughout the world. Well, if eBay has done it with leather bags and branded hoodies and lalique figurines, why not conferences?
Although Conference Bay's bid procedure is not winner-takes-all in the fashion of eBay, I still believe this concept rides high and timely, and rightfully so, with the same eBay community spirit and its battle cry of "The power of all of us" -- which a tech blogger has once dubbed "a preachy yet trademarked slogan". Years ago, it was easy to sneer at all of that. But look where eBay is today. Indeed, increasingly more people are willing to bid top dollar for the "extras" of a service oriented economy -- more time, more value-packed packages at competitive prices. Arnout blogged about the concept quite interestingly here.
I can visualize a strong symbiosis at play here. I am quite impressed with the spirit with which Arnout Mostert and partner Frank Bomers has brought the idea of conference stakeholders and audiences transacting online and getting to grips with an idea whose time has come. I believe it is poised to revolutionize the way conferences are organized and attended. The online seat bidding and direct booking at conferences democratizes pricing and thereby broadens the base of knowledge and information sharing, it likewise gives traders a new platform, targets organizers, delegates, speakers. Sounds like a sensible, interesting, less-fuzz way to attend and organize conferences. Let's check it out.