I returned home yesterday morning after spending a couple of weeks on vacation and at the TRAFFIC conference in Miami. I thought I would share some thoughts about this 10th anniversary conference for those who were unable to attend. I’ll break it down into three sections – Venue, Attendees, and Panels & Parties.
For those who may not know, the TRAFFIC conference was held at the Fontainebleau Hotel in Miami, Florida. In past years, the October conference (called TRAFFIC East) has been held in the south Florida area, including Ft. Lauderdale and Hollywood. This was the first time the event was held at the Fontainebleau Hotel.
Some of my thoughts about the conference:
The Fontainebleau Hotel in Miami was an excellent choice. If you haven’t been there before, it’s a very large hotel with four towers of hotel rooms. There are a variety of rooms – from standard to very large penthouses, and there are several areas to hang out, including pools, bars, and restaurants. It’s a chic hotel, and it served the conference well. One downside is that it’s expensive (for instance, the valet parking cost more than my rental car).
I thought the conference rooms where the panels were held and where lunch was served were perfect. There were some slight acoustic issues in the room where lunch was served, but the group fit in well. There was also quite a bit of space to have private meetings with other attendees. Privacy was not an issue, as it can be at other venues, especially because it can be uncomfortable to host a meeting in a non-penthouse hotel room and there can be lots of distractions in smaller venues, making private one on one meetings more challenging.
Because of the Halloween holiday and perhaps due to the expense of attending the conference (and other reasons I am sure), this was one of the smaller TRAFFIC conferences I have attended. There were quite a few “regulars” who didn’t attend for a variety of reasons, and they were missed. The primary reason for my attending industry conferences is to meet with friends and colleagues, and I wish the turnout had been larger.
One of the things I like best about TRAFFIC is that it feels like a family affair. When I arrive at TRAFFIC, I am immediately greeted by friendly faces I have known for years. While this may be the case at other conferences, it’s always nice to greet Howard Neu’s wife, Barbara Neu, at the registration table. Co-founders Rick Schwartz and Howard Neu are very hands on, and they work with the TRAFFIC team to make sure attendees are comfortable and getting what they expect out of the conference. This is one of the hallmarks of the conference, and this event was no different.
Despite the smaller turnout, there was a large variety of attendees. There were some new gTLD registry representatives in attendance, and there seemed to be a good mix of domain investors and vendors. There weren’t too many booths at the conference, and there wasn’t pressure to visit the booths, which is something I appreciated.
Panels & Parties:
I’ll preface this by saying I didn’t attend many panels, so I am not the best person to opine on this aspect of the conference. I enjoy listening to people who are active in the space, and I especially enjoyed having Braden Pollock serve as the moderator. Like Domain Sherpa’s Michael Cyger, Braden is able to extract some additional information from panelists that they may have been reluctant to share.
I heard the crypto currency panel was well received, and I thought the roast of Rick Schwartz was funny for the most part. I was unable to attend the opening cocktail party due to a late arrival from Punta Cana, but I understand there was a gluttonous amount of food. In fact, I must say that the food was very good, and there was a great selection of food options for people with different eating preferences. I also did not attend the masquerade party.
Overall, I am very glad to have attended the conference. It may have been smaller than usual, but it gave me a good opportunity to see friends and make some new connections.