Martin Ferro-Thomsen


Martin Ferro-Thomsen

Martin Ferro-Thomsen

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Techcrunched Again, Five Years Later

Back in early 2008 I was one of the co-founders of Issuu. Late one night we were ecstatic to find ourselves covered by the biggest online media in tech, TechCrunch (post link). Today Issuu is the leading publishing platform and a US top 100 that Time considers one of the Best Websites in the world.

After five years, I left a highly successful Issuu to pursue another legacy industry, namely that of conferences and professional events. I had no money as we/I hadn’t exited yet and I was still indebted from the early Issuu bootstrapping days before getting funded. But I had a killer idea and loads of energy and experience to make it happen:

Let’s open up conferences to the world so we can all get smarter. Simple and very important, I thought, but also very very tricky…

Today the new Conferize beta was Techcrunched, 5 years after the story of Issuu’s beta broke. I’m extremely proud of this product! It’s a radically new take on what conferences and events can be online. Our very small team has truly impressed me beyond my wildest hopes.

image

Below is a live embedded example of our new highlight player, showing the fresh Copenhagen Distortion Festival (yes, we also do cool festivals now although conferences are our main focus).

A few remarks on the TechCrunch coverage

Much has happened in the world of tech reporting the past five years, many new players have entered the stage. But to come “full circle” I chose TechCrunch to cover our launch once again. Mike Butcher that I have met on several occasions was kind enough to break the news (post link)

They went with a pretty standard tech blog format “X startup joins Y crowded space with Z service”. To tech reporters in the land of silicon abundance everything must seems like a crowded space, fortunately consumers don’t always see it that way. To my knowledge, no one has really “cracked” conferences online yet.

When I was at Issuu we were constantly compared to Docstoc and Scribd, although I thought we were in different spaces (doc sharing vs. online publishing). Since then Issuu has demolished the former and are on par with the latter (according to Quantcast).

Building platforms is for the long haul but of course also about the occasional sprints.

Here’s a quote from the post with my highlights in bold:

“Taking a look at the service it does seem pretty comprehensive. However, we feel Lanyrd has the platform head of steam right now (…) That said Conferize looks slick and probably serves a slightly different purpose”.

I’m fine with bias, but as an old scribe and editor myself (MA. in language and fine literature having worked extensively with writing in most formats) I have to say that’s not a very conclusive verdict. Facts please…

As far as I can tell Mike didn’t have time to sign up (please someone correct me if I’m wrong) which is very important to get the most of Conferize’s networking and social graph filtering options. He might have created a secret account, but at least he didn’t care to claim his temporary profile albeit 78 people are actively following him to see where’s he’s speaking next. 

Anyway, please see for yourself by comparing our version of TC Disrupt with Lanyrd’s.

To me there’s a world of difference. Conferize is operating in realtime, automatically capturing content and activity from all platforms as it happen. We surface the best possible content in the crowdsourced Highlight Player that’s a radical new way to experience conferences online. We structure and stimulate the conversations to go beyond just the random timestamped tweets. And we then source everything into a user’s personal dashboard to give him/her a truly unique overview of unique ideas from around the world.

More about the new Conferize

For anyone bold enough to make up their own mind about Conferize I’m running a blog series about the new Conferize over on the company blog. The first post is up, check back in the following days to see more.

There’s also the usual press release.

Expect much more to come! Thanks for reading

Martin.

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