I’d like to point you to a great article published this weekend in the Orange County Register: “The Conference Industry is Booming, and It Is Only Getting Bigger,” written by David Ferrell.

Ferrell’s article is a godsend of a piece that shows the value of conferences. What’s more important is that it was published in a non-industry publication. Too often we in the industry keep telling ourselves how important the industry is, with the hope that someone on the outside will overhear us. I’ve always thought it was more important to reach out to mainstream reporters than politicians when it comes to telling our story, so I’m happy to read Ferrell’s piece. I think you will be, too.

“The conference industry is booming, expanding more or less in parallel with the Internet,” Ferrell wrote. “Conferences not only are getting bigger and more numerous, they are tackling more daunting problems. Topics have gone global—renewable energy, atmospheric warming, the plundering of the seas. The very way information is exchanged is evolving, different now than in pre-Internet days when events were less plugged-in and interactive—more limited to the so-called sage on a stage.”

Ferrell goes on to discuss high-brow events such as TED and the Milken Institute Global Conference. He explains serendipity is the main reason for these events. Two people from divergent disciplines could meet and end up changing the world. 

“But for all of the public banter, ‘some of the most interesting conversations go on in the speaker ready room,’ one of the many semi-private places where the alliances are formed, where plans are set in motion that literally shape the course of world events, says Michael L. Klowden, CEO of the nonprofit Milken Institute,” Ferrell wrote.

It’s a great piece that should only take you about 10 minutes to read. Then share the story and let others know about the greatness of this industry.