We cornered one of the Events Events speakers — Peter Jones, Chief Executive of Nineteen Events — and asked him to divulge his views on the past, current and future state of the conference industry:
Q If you were to tell your 20-something self three things they should definitely do to help further their career what would they be?
A. Make mistakes. What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. We learn our biggest lessons from our failures. It’s OK to fail! And if you don’t take the leap of faith in your 20s you’re less like to do so in your 30/40s once you face school fees and a whopping Mortgage.
Q Who in the business world has inspired you?
A. My chairman Phil Soar for his ability to see into a crystal ball that to the rest of us is just a Ball! And selling a business for £635m! Nick Field for being one of the smoothest and calm operators I have worked with, a relationships man, having gone onto to grow and sell a show for £16m! Then, anyone else who takes that leap and goes it alone. Courage and tenacity inspires me.
Q What would you say is the biggest issue being faced in the events industry at the moment?
A. HA! I often get asked this. Or ‘what is the new way to grow a business’… at the risk of sounding like a dinosaur, I have been launching and selling companies for 15 years and things really haven’t changed ‘that’ much. You need to:
collect the cash
Any clever stuff outside of that, you’re probably wasting your time.
Sure. Life isn’t quite that straight-forward but I am sure we’ll get to discuss more at your conference..
Q What do you think the biggest challenge for the industry will be in 2018?
A. GDPR. It’s one of those things we all know is coming but few realise the full implications.
Q What innovative measures should the industry adopt in the next few years to ensure market sustainability and growth?
A. People talk about innovation and new measures a lot. And pressures from increased competition, and, and… But you know what, opportunities are rife! Did you know that there are more millionaires made in a recession than any other time? You just need an idea, then the right people involved and a lot of elbow grease, determination and grit. So many people will tell you why a launch won’t work but you have to be determined and head strong. It you hit something enough times with your hammer from all different angles, something eventually will crack and you’re in!
Q. Why do you think events such as the Conference Summit are important for the industry?
A. Sharing of best practice, ideas and especially in the face of an eager and enthusiastic audience wanting to carve out a successful career in Events, reassurance that it’s not as hard as you think. It’s about commitment, hard work and not accepting no for an answer!