Mar 28, 2005One nice thing about running your own company is you get to do things your way. When I worked for other publications, the focus was on making money, which is fine. But the way some of these companies made money was by hiring inexperienced editors and reporters and paying them peanuts. If you came up with a new idea that was going to make the product better, it would immediately be rejected if it increased costs.
This, frankly, never made a whole lot of sense to me. You have to give people value, and you have to spend the money to do things right. We apply that philosophy to all areas of RFID Journal—our Web site, magazine, education seminars and conferences.
Another nice thing about steering the course of RFID Journal is that I now get up for work every morning excited about what I do. That's because I enjoy nothing more than trying to come up with new ways to provide the highest quality information in the most engaging way to our audience.
For the past 12 months, much of my focus has been on RFID Journal LIVE! 2005, our third annual executive conference, which will be held in Chicago in two weeks. (We booked a much bigger hotel this year, so I hope we won't have to turn people away, as we did last year.)
We’ve assembled a stellar roster of speakers who will talk about the use of RFID in retail, manufacturing and the supply chain, as well as how to build a business case and implement the technology. And we’ve put together seven preconference seminars that will provide in-depth information for investors, those new to RFID, people in health care and the pharmaceutical industry, airplane manufacturing and more (view the agenda online, or download the Agenda at a Glance for details).
Before we planned the agenda, we surveyed our audience, learned what they were interested in and then recruited speakers and crafted sessions to address those issues. It's more work than other events organizers are willing to do, but it's worth it. It's a thrill to sit in on some of the sessions at RFID Journal LIVE! and see the great content we're providing through speakers such as Tom Ridge, Paul Saffo, Bob Metcalfe, Simon Langford, Alan Estevez and many others. (If you have a question for Tom Ridge, former secretary for the department of homeland security, e-mail it to me—
email@example.com—and I'll pose it to him after his keynote address.)
The content is key, of course. But I've also been working with our staff—including our new VP of events, Kimberly Ray—and with the team at Mosaic Media Partners, which helps us produce the event, to come up with novel ideas for making sure the conference is not just informative, but an enjoyable experience. We've designed a set for the stage that's like nothing you've seen at any conference. I think a couple of people thought I was nuts when I proposed the idea, but now that a professional set designer has fleshed out the concept, everyone agrees it will be something special.
We've also added some humorous touches, from the songs that will be played as you enter the rooms for sessions to the drinks that will be served during breaks. And the band Big Fun, featuring Jake and Elwood, will perform Blues Brothers hits at a dinner and networking reception on Monday evening.
Of course, RFID is going to be deployed globally in the supply chain, so we're taking our unique approach to events to Europe. We'll be holding RFID Journal LIVE! Europe in Amsterdam, Oct. 11-12. To highlight the event and reward one attendee for his or her support, there will be a lucky draw in Chicago. Before the last keynote address by Paul Saffo, I'll randomly choose the name of one person in the audience to go to Europe on us. (RFID badges will let us know who is in the audience.)
Everyone involved with the event will be putting in long hours from now until April 10 to make sure every detail is attended to. And we'll continue to spend a little extra to make sure that we give you a lot of value for your money. It’s well worth it, because we want you to leave Chicago after the event and think to yourself: That was the best executive conference I've ever been to.
Mark Roberti is the founder and editor of RFID Journal. If you would like to comment on this article, click on the link below.