5 March 2003
Too expensive has to be seen in the light of, too expensive compared to what?
Here’s a quick comparison of MacMania to Macworld NY, which isn’t an exact equivalent, but it’s close. I’ve left off airfare, because airfare from CA to NY is approximately that of airfare from CA to Hawaii.
Now you say: but the NYC conference includes lodging for two, and on the cruise you have to share a room. Okay, here’s the numbers for a couple looking to go to both:
Platinum Passes (2 @ $1500): $3000
Hotel (6 nights @ $150/night): $900
Transportation and food (7 days @ $100/day): $700
Conference fee (2 @ $1000): $2000
Inside cabin: $2100
which is still considerably cheaper. Of course, I’ve listed only the cheapest class of lodging in both cases; obviously, it’s easy to upgrade your room at a higher rate for both conferences. The same goes for the quality and quantity of food.
Of course, what’s most important is the value of what you get for that dollar. Like a lot of frequent conference attendees, I think that the most valuable part of any conference isn’t the seminars, but the interaction between the attendees and each other, and between the attendees and the speakers.
Given this criterion, MacMania blows away just about any other conference I’ve ever been to. Attendees don’t have a choice about interacting with each other and with speakers. That’s who you have three meals a day with, that’s who you hang out at the pool with, and that’s who you see in the evening. The classes themselves end up being a very small part of the overall conference value in comparison to, say, getting Sal Soghoian to debug your AppleScripts over after-dinner drinks.
I’ve worked for both conferences in the past, and I hope to again in the future. But strictly in terms of conference value per dollar, I think that MacMania comes out way ahead. And I believe that the MacMania numbers can be extrapolated to those of the Geek Cruises overall.