The answer to your first question is, yes. What you’ve heard is true.
Confab 2023 will be our final in-person event.
It’s likely you have follow-up questions to this announcement, such as WHAT?! and WHY?! and HOW??!! So here’s the story.
We’ve been thinking about the future of Confab for a while now. But for the past year, it’s been exceptionally tough to feel confident about making any major decisions (of course) because our typical decision-making data points have been all over the map: What’s happening with COVID? Do people really want hybrid events? What’s going on with layoffs and professional development budgets? Where is this field going, anyhow?
Until *checks watch* a few days ago, it has felt impossible to say, okay, based on what we know right now this very minute, we can make this monumental choice. But after a lot of reflection, for the first time, we feel that confidence.
1. We believe content strategy needs something new. When we debuted in 2011, “content strategy” was a practice only a handful of people even recognized as a thing! We were fully committed to making Confab “the big tent” for absolutely anyone doing anything related to content strategy. In fact, our About page still says it after more than a decade: “If you are a person who cares about making content better for everyone, you belonged at Confab.” And our annual programming choices embody those values.
Now, on the one hand, we’re thrilled to be able to offer attendees a veritable smorgasbord of content topics to choose from. But on the other, it’s … a lot. Because, ultimately, content strategy isn’t just “a thing” … it’s many, many things. And what’s we’ve seen is that trying to cram all the things in the same tent (read: in one job description) simply doesn’t work in practice.
In their Intro to Content Strategy workshop (happening April 30, you should come), Kristina and Meghan introduce content strategy as four separate-but-related fields of practice: content design, content marketing, content engineering, and content ops. We’re thrilled to see people so fired up about Button (our content design conference), and we’re anxious to see how content ops in particular evolves in the next year or two. And that leads us to ...
2. We want to explore new territory without growing our team. This might seem like a weird thing to say, because for most companies, “growth” is synonymous with “success”. But not for Brain Traffic. We’ve long said that there’s strength in our small numbers! Our team gets to painstakingly craft every event according to our personal standards, and we want to keep it that way. So while we can’t say for sure what’s next, we do know we can’t explore new horizons while doing business as usual. And ultimately ...
3. We want to end on a high note. Look, there’s no doubt in our minds we could keep on Confab-bing for years to come. Attendee reviews are almost 100% ecstatic every year. We typically sell out without really trying. But ultimately, we’d like to wrap things up on our own terms, in our own way. And this is the way (said baby Yoda) (wait, did he actually say that?).
So, what’s next? We can’t say for sure! Is it possible Brain Traffic may find ways to continue to offer online or small-group gatherings for our Confab audiences? Yes. Are we ready to promise anything? No. Do we still love you? Always.
What we can promise is that Confab 2023 will be the very best Confab in our 12-year history … and we hope you’ll be there to celebrate our final event.
Gearing up to make history happen,