Here’s my Platform Conference review hosted by Michael Hyatt and team–the full version! I broke the categories into speakers, content, networking, facilities, and price.
Platform Conference is all about teaching you how to build and expand your personal or business platform. Likewise, the speaking lineup was top notch. They got some of the BEST in every sector of platform building, from blogging, copywriting, podcasting, selling, Facebook, and so forth. Here’s the lineup and the titles of their talks:
- Michael Hyatt – The Platform Framework / The Five Elements of a Powerful Personal Brand
- Ken Davis – Creating Wow
- Jeff Goins – Starting From Scratch: How to Build A Platform with Words, Passion & People
- Ray Edwards – Writing to Sell (Without Selling Your Soul)
- Cliff Ravenscraft – The Benefits of Podcasting for Taking Your Platform to the Next Level
- Lysa TerKeurst – Remarkable: 3 Decisions That Will Make or Break Momentum in Your Organization
- Amy Porterfield – Why Facebook Marketing is Your Most Powerful Lead Generation Tool
- Derek Halpern – How to Sell Anything to Anybody: Sales Psychology for Platform Builders
- Stu McLaren – More Money, More Impact
- Michele Cushatt – closing talk
All the talks were engaging and well-prepared. It was great to be exposed to such diverse speaking styles and presentations. All of them used slides or video; Michael Hyatt’s in particular were gorgeous. The top 3 speakers for me were Lysa TerKeurst, Cliff Ravenscraft, and Amy Porterfield. Lysa TerKeurst in particular stole the show. She leads Proverbs 31 Women’s Ministries and was so good that I signed up for her email list…and I’m a guy.
I never felt anyone just mailed it in. I walked through the hotel after midnight and happened to see Cliff Ravenscraft rehearsing. He was speaking to a crowd of one person after the whole conference shut down just to practice. He was still honing, tweaking, growing. Awesome.
Repeat Content? I was concerned the content would be a repeat of stuff I’d already heard. I’ve spent the past year devouring almost anything that Hyatt, Ray Edwards (copywriting), and Amy Porterfield (Facebook) have. I’ve also heard most of the other speakers in one form or another before the conference.
Personal Stories: There was some repeat content, but many of the attenders hadn’t been exposed to the speakers before. There was obviously new stuff I learned, too. The speakers I was familiar with shared personal backstory which really helped contextualize and humanize their content. Amy Porterfield shared a candid story about hustling too much (i.e. working too hard) that affected me powerfully.
Some advice: If you ever plan to go, eat up as much content as you can from the speakers beforehand. You’ll still be exposed to new live content but won’t feel like you’re drinking from a firehose. I’d never heard Lysa TerKeurst, Derek Halpern, and Michele Cushatt before, so I was taking crazy notes during their talks. I can’t imagine trying to do that every session.
Total attendance: I’d say around 150. Main point: Platform Conference is not a crowd, it’s faces. I love that. There was plenty of time to network. I’m a member of Platform University, so there were two special sessions for us: a cocktail party and a breakfast Q&A with Michael Hyatt.
They don’t organize anything to intentionally put people into groups; the assumption is that everyone has basic social and networking skills. I went not knowing a soul. I came out the other side having connected with people I’ll stay in touch with for a long time.
Speaker accessibility: I went with the goal to meet a few specific speakers. They were all accessible, attended every session, and were there to learn. There really was no “us” and “them”…it was just a community of platform builders. Not many conferences can pull this off. I commend the Platform team for bringing in people that embody this relational culture. (above pic with Ray Edwards, copywriter extraordinaire. Pic below with Podcast Answer Man Cliff Ravenscraft and his wife Stephanie)
From past experiences with conferences, I know that the most important (and fun!) component is meeting new people. Hyatt said that as an “infopreneur”, work can be very lonely. This type of community is vital to him; I totally identify. Not many of my close friends blog. I’ve connected with others who understand this world and know how vital community is.
The conference was held at the Omni Park West in Dallas. I’ve done lots of hotels, and I’d rate this one as satisfactory for the conference. The food was great. Salmon, chicken, sauces and salads I’d never heard of, gluten-free deserts, good bar.
Main downers: nothing to do with Platform, everything to do with the hotel. A huge conference table…in my room. Seriously, a 10-seat conference table in my room. The building itself was a bit older. The conference room was spacious and had good seating, but no power outlets. You’d think they would be standard for a business hotel conference room.
All said and done, the Omni was good. It was close to the airport, and the hotel provided shuttle service. Dallas is a central location for the country, so attendees came from as far west as Seattle. I flew in from New York. People came from all over.
Here’s a screenshot of the price breakdown:
I signed up for the Signature level. I would have gone for Master had it not sold out. I know how valuable it can be to have small-group or 1-on-1 time with influential people.
Discounts: Price is going to be the biggest deterrent if you’re thinking of attending. You’ll need to factor hotel (great rate, around $150 per night) and flights. There were plenty of registration discounts through referral links on the various speaker’s blogs. There was also an early-bird discount, as well as a $400 discount for Platform University members. Yes, $400!
There was no upselling, just promotions including SCORRE and Launch Conference, both geared towards public speaking. Obviously this is a business, but I never got the feeling they were greedy. Paying this much made me hustle like crazy and get very intentional about what I wanted to get out of attending. One connection can change your life. It’s an investment.
Generosity: Platform gave away thousands of dollars of stuff, including free registrations to conferences, other online courses, a book, hoodie, and water bottle. Very generous spirit to the whole event.
That generosity was reciprocated by the attendees. One of the speakers, Stu McLaren, builds schools in Africa. We raised about $87,000 in 20 minutes. He cried. We cried. Lives will be changed, and it’s one of the many memorable moments of this event.
- I went at a season of life where I really want to take my platform to the next level. I’ve been blogging regularly for almost a year, and the timing was perfect to attend.
- I met a few people that said they had read some blog posts of the speakers but didn’t do anything with building their site. No judging, but that’s a pretty expensive way to get yourself motivated to just start. Put the work in, build out a site, and blog a few months before going. That way, you can focus most of your effort on networking. It’s better than spending a lot of money to go meet people…and then have nothing you can point them back to.
If you’re an aspiring blogger, podcaster, writer, copywriter, marketer, consultant, or solopreneur, you’ll benefit from Platform Conference. It’s a 10 out of 10.
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