The annual Boring Conference
Conferences are a big deal, especially here in the UAE—but not necessarily the most interesting events.
December 12, 2010 8:57 by Samuel Potter
How would Kipp define conferences? How about: expensive affairs aimed at gathering an industry’s self-declared “experts” into stuffy hotel rooms for hours of claustrophobic tedium?
Apart from mind numbing boredom, other particular conference highlights include dossiers full of handouts you will never read or use, expensive stationary, oh and of course, “networking opportunities.”
Conferences, exhibitions and trade shows: call them whatever you want, they are nothing if not big money. Though it may be free for the registered “experts,” having been involved with the organization of a few local conferences, Kipp knows firsthand just how expensive the events can be for everyone else. From renting a hall to arranging for personalised ball point pens and lanyard cables, the bills quickly go up in the thousands and beyond.
So no, we aren’t the biggest fans of standing in line for finger food with a nametag hanging from our necks. But we’ll be the first to admit conferences are a big industry for Dubai especially, thanks to the UAE’s prime geographic location and its conference friendly infrastructure.
The global industry for trade shows and conferences, which is estimated to be worth $300n billion, apparently experienced significant growth in the last quarter of the year. The UAE in particular had a successful year when it came to hosting such events, says the National. Simon Mellor, the senior vice president of DMG World Media, told the paper that the trade shows were a “global barometer” for the wider economy: “I’m not hailing the end of the recession,” he said. “[But] exhibitions are starting to move forward again.”
The range of conferences the UAE has been hosting for industries are as diverse as medicine, pharmaceuticals, engineering, marketing, and finance. But none are as specific as the recent inaugural Boring Conference held in central London. The conference, which sold out to 200 attendees, quite possibly housed some of the most boring talks we’ve seen (obviously). We weren’t there, but from the sounds of it (talks on bus routes, breakfasts, full fat milk and multi-storey car parks) the conference probably did live up to its name.
However, with the 2nd GCC Government Organization Websites Global Competitiveness Strategy Development happening in the UAE in a week’s time, we think the Boring Conference could well face a run for its money. All hail the UAE, king of the conference (even dull ones).