Welcome to MAD//Fest: let's make something people want

By Dan Brain, Content & Marketing Director, MAD//Fest8 May, 2018

From taxis and telecoms to finance and food, few industries are immune to the forces of disruption.

It’s therefore a bit surprising that the the model for trade shows hasn’t really moved on all that much in 40+ years. As someone who has plied his trade in events for most of his career, I became frustrated at the lack of innovation in the sector (with some notable exceptions such as TED).

‘The build it and they will come’ mentality prevails - fill a huge expo hall with as many people who can get out of the office for a few hours, create a sprawling expo of shell scheme stands, and pack the agenda with vendors with deep enough pockets to get their message heard. This is considered “scalable”.

Of course event organisers, ourselves included, need to earn a crust. They have shareholders, investors and salaries to pay. However, I believe the sector needs to embrace a more customer-centric model.

That’s why, with the support of our like-minded partner Mediatel, we decided to create a show that puts the customer first.

I remember being inspired by meeting John V Willshire, founder of strategic design unit Smithery, a few years ago. Since then, the words “make things people want rather than make people want things” have remained front of mind.

We’ll try to do these words justice with MAD//Fest London this November.

I love the way that marketing and advertising shapes our culture and behaviour.

I love the way that technology has breathed energy into east London, Lisbon, Tallinn, Tel Aviv and beyond, creating a generation of entrepreneurs who have rejected the 9-5 to challenge the established order.

I love meeting people who are restless for innovation and are actively shaping the future of our industry, work, aspirations, cities and global economy.

Hopefully MAD//Fest will embody this energy and passion. We’ll put focused, curated and punchy content in the limelight - not PR waffle or sales pitches. We’ll use cutting-edge technology to boost your networking experience.

We’ll bring the most innovative start-ups and VCs into the mix and host live brand hacks. Whether you’re an attendee, sponsor or exhibitor, we will always aim to deliver value in the form of inspiration, ideas and a fun space to meet the most relevant people (look out for our pop-up pub, The MAD//Fest Arms!)

No doubt we’ll make mistakes along the way but it’s genuinely inspiring to hear the positive feedback and support we’ve had from the industry so far (thankfully nobody has said “not another f***ing conference!”)

We’re always up for hearing your ideas and suggestions - take a look around the site and drop us a line if you’d like to get involved.

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