Have you ever thought of taking your most popular content and turning it into an event? The Next Web does just that. They've been producing content and growing their readership for years. They started seeing a demand from their blockchain readers, so they gave them a dedicated spaced called Hard Fork.

The demand then started crossing over into their conference. And when those blockchain tracks became so popular, they decided to make it its own summit. Introducing the Hard Fork Summit.

Michelle Lee:  Do you find there’s a lot of overlap with the readers of your website that attend the conference? Or are they separate?

Iva Donova: There is quite a big overlap, and actually I think we connect our media brand well with our conference. For instance, we have a content media brand which is called Hard Fork, and it’s entirely about blockchain. Because we saw there's also a big interest from our conference audience into blockchain, we decided to have a blockchain track at the conference.

ML: Right, because you already know what people are engaging with online?

ID: Yeah, and that’s also how we’re not only doing the flagship conference. We have other events throughout the year. We’re looking at what our attendees are interested in, which tracks are most interesting for them, and then we look into our speaker database and client database. We see which are the top ones that would be interesting for our audience, and from then, we do research and try to create a new event around that.

We are trying to find ways to streamline, see what our readers are interested in that we can also incorporate in our event. That is our strength.

ML: So Hard Fork was a track at The Next Web Conference, and now it's the Hard Fork Summit. Did that particular track just get so popular that it made sense to move it to its own summit?

ID: Yeah. I think in a way we also experimented in person. It was the first time we actually did a separate event around a particular track, so blockchain at that time, two years ago, was obviously huge.

ID: We did it in London, the finance capital of Europe, so it was the perfect place to do it. And it turned out to be quite successful. This year we decided to do it in Amsterdam, and we changed the focus a little bit. It was more fintech and business related, rather than crypto. We experimented a bit to see what would be most interesting for people.

There is no real script for how to know.

ML: You just started trying something new.

ID: Yeah. So far it’s been working.

ML: I love that you guys have been throwing events for 13 years, and there’s still that room to experiment and try something new. No matter how much you plan, there’s always going to be some new way to iterate or grow. You just have to be willing to be flexible and brave enough to do it.


Interested in going to The Next Web Conference? The next conference is happening June 18 & 19, 2020 in Amsterdam.

Hard Fork Summit 2020 dates have not be released yet.