A Melbourne digital agency is challenging the traditional three-day annual meeting with shorter, more frequent events of its own.

Real Big Things is a series of lectures designed by Hardhat Digital which describes itself as “A smart, dedicated team of digital enthusiasts, helping brands do amazing things with the internet”.

How it is positioning the lectures and running them is anything but old school.

For starters, tickets aren’t the one price. The earlier you book, the cheaper your ticket is, with a ticket for the first registration costing just $1. The price then goes up by $1 with each new person booking. If you’re the 200th person to book a seat you’ll be paying $200.

Hardhat Digital co-founder and head of strategy, Dan Monteith, said the seminars – of which they have now held six – were devised after he and his co-workers became disillusioned with the annual conference format.

“If we had five people then we’d book a venue for five. If we have 200 then we’d book a venue for 200,” Monteith says.

The past four meetings have been held in a dance studio.

Each meeting, held in the morning, includes three 30 minute presentations from a variety of presenters on digital technology.

“We don’t use professional speakers. We use people who have something interesting to say about a variety of things relating to the business we’re in,” Monteith says.

It’s frequently asked questions area on the website is a refreshing turnaround to the traditional meetings format:

Cool. Who’s speaking?

Really smart people who are charismatic, passionate about this sort of stuff and know not to put too many words on a slide. And besides, it’s not about the who, it’s about the what. The content is totally kick ass. We might look at wearable technology, the future of money, how 3D printing is changing the world, the internet’s deep, dark underbelly, thoughts on writing a brief in 2014 or the next round of industries likely to be annihilated by the web.

Hang on a sec. I already go to a fancy two-day digital conference every year.

I bet you do. So you already know they suck. Average speakers, annoying sponsors and those nasty plastic name tags all make for a rubbish day or two out of the office. Maybe two days of schmoozing once a year was how things used to work, but 363 days seems like a long time to wait between bouts of knowledge and inspiration. We think two-hour sessions spaced regularly throughout the year works better.

The next seminar will be held somewhere in Melbourne on November 14.

Visit https://realbigthings.com/ to learn more.

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