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MEETUPS 2019 Fastlane Summit - Announcement

Discussion in 'Networking, Socializing, Meet-Ups' started by MJ DeMarco, Oct 4, 2018.

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  1. MJ DeMarco
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    MJ DeMarco Raving Lunatic Staff Member Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass LEGENDARY CONTRIBUTOR Summit Attendee

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    I wasn’t sure how to address this but decided transparency and honesty would be the best approach.

    With that said, it is with great disappointment (and some frustration) that I must officially announce that the upcoming 2019 Fastlane Summit has been canceled.

    Yes, canceled.

    I realize this will upset many (as it upsets me that I have to do it considering last year's event ROCKED) but here is the reality as see it.

    As you may know, the event was also canceled in 2017 due to some health challenges I was having. However this year’s cancellation has nothing to do with my health, but due to a combination of reasons, all of which paint a bigger picture.

    First, in THIS THREAD, I made a preliminary call out (probe) for potential speakers. In the past, the event has always featured forum regulars who were gracious enough to offer their time and expertise. Having a nice pool of speakers to choose from was never a problem. For those who responded in that thread to speak, I thank you for your generosity in offering your wisdom.

    In this thread, a total of 16 people offered to potentially speak (as of last Friday, several volunteered others to speak but that does not count.) Now when someone offers to speak, usually you can count on slightly LESS THAN HALF to actually do so -- this is because of a person’s schedule, their financial situation (flights, hotels, etc.) and various other reasons. This means as of now using this conservative formula, 7-8 people would speak.

    Last year, 16 speakers spoke.

    I figured this number would change when the weekly forum mass email headlined this announcement. To my shock, it didn’t. This means in order for me to get to 16, I would need to go “off forum” and seek (plead / instigate / compel) speakers who aren’t regular forum visitors or contributors.

    Second, holding this event is a HUGE financial risk for my company because it has always been an event that was NOT designed for PROFIT, but for COMMUNITY.

    Ticket prices have been purposely kept low for this reason. Additionally, when you compare this event to other similar events, the average price is usually more than triple -- and those events don’t even bother to feed you. Additionally, the hotel makes me sign a guarantee for rooms and food -- and if they don’t sell -- I’m on the hook for 100+ nights plus the guarantee. This amount is nearly $50,000 that I have to sign my name to. This risk increases as the local attendance increases (they don’t book rooms).

    While last year's event came out marginally in the green, it was a type of “bet” that I would NEVER make in the financial markets, in business, or otherwise. But I find myself doing it here. In order for me to accept the risk, the ticket prices would need to skyrocket, or significant services (food) would need to be cut.

    Third, if the event isn’t beneficial financially or from a risk standpoint, surely it must be good for the community right? I mean, that’s the main reason I was doing it right?!

    Unfortunately history (in recent years since the FB era) shows that the direct forum benefit for the event has been marginal and not sustainable -- limited to about 60 days, about 45 days during and after the event, and maybe 15 days around ticket sales. And then things return to a baseline whereas many attendees stop contributing, or worse, stop visiting, only to return next November when the Summit discussion returns.

    To verify this, I actually looked at the user attendance history of the last 2 years of meetings and was woefully shocked to discover that a majority of attendees do not contribute content to the forum. And by content, I mean a periodic post every few weeks, not something daily.

    While I don’t deny that the incredible energy, camaraderie, and singularity of purpose of the event is awesomely breath-taking, it appears that this “energy” doesn’t stay on the forum, but goes elsewhere into personal networks, Facebook groups, Discord, etc. It’s disheartening for me to see the FB group that represents this event is actually more engaged than forum it represents. In the past, I even created a separate forum for attendees to gab and post in order to sustain the energy, but the result was the same.

    While user registrations are higher as are active users at the forum, deep communal engagement is not at a level where I feel comfortable holding this event. This may also explains why the response to speak was somewhat lackluster.

    Fourth, I have a lot of irons in the fire, from writing 2 more books (Unscripted Book 2 and 3) to other business dealings, to starting the process on building a custom home in Sedona. And lets not forget, being an active, daily contributor to this forum to help other people live the dream that is made possible through Unscripted Entrepreneurship.

    All of these concerns become more evident when I recently read Essentialism, a book which is a treatise into learning how to say NO! to things that aren’t benefiting your personal mission and the things most important to you.

    As many know, I have zero interest in being a guru, public speaking, or having seminars. While I appreciate meeting readers face to face, socializing with cigars and liquor, and hearing accolades and kudos about my writing, as an introvert and someone who enjoys deep solitude, the event is very stressful for me.

    Reading Essentialism forced me to face the truth in the matter -- I don’t do this event for me -- I do it for the community -- additionally, it is extremely nerve-wracking, it is not a profit maker (giving me a decent return on my time to compensate for stress/risk) and most important, it doesn’t appear to be helping the community long-term.

    At last year’s event I thought things would change when Chris W (Lighthouse) made a plea to all attendees to start a progress thread and update as the weeks and months went by. I also tried to reiterate the importance of the forum as it related to the event.

    To be specific, the EVENT exists because of the FORUM, the FORUM does NOT exist because of the EVENT.

    Think about that dichotomy.

    The event happens because of the forum and it’s standing as a community, not the reverse.

    So this year’s event, I’m sorry to say, will not happen.

    However, is this the END of the event?

    No more parties at Talking Stick Resort?

    I hope that isn’t the case.

    I hope this is a ONE year kink in the road and next year, I will look at the forum and its engagement and say, “We NEED to have an event!“ Again, my main priority for this event since leading its charge was foremost COMMUNITY -- that headlines over profit, stress, and risk. Next year it would be nice to look at the forum and say, “Damn, I WANT to do this, and we NEED to do this!” I would welcome to be forced into a re-evaluation.

    Ultimately I would love to blow it out and have 200, or even 300 people. I don’t think hitting those numbers would be a problem but this kind of ambition (much less 120 like last year) has to ORIGINATE and be grass-rooted at the forum, not elsewhere.

    So if the forum and its message (and the event) is important to you, I would hope that you continue to make the forum a small piece of your life.

    If this is your first time back in months and you’re reading this, I will just say thank you for visiting and hope you understand the decision.

    Over ten years ago I started this forum to foster a message of freedom through entrepreneurship. The forum has gone through a variety of peaks and valleys, but still retains its fundamental purpose which is derived from my purpose to inspire people to live their best through business ownership.

    If you believe in that message, I will kindly request what I request every year… visit the forum and contribute! Say hello. Tell us what you’re doing. Tell us what you learned, what you’ve failed, and what you’ve succeeded.

    And to everyone who has done so and continues to do so, I thank you from the bottom of my heart …. thank you so much for sharing your journey.
     
  2. TreyAllDay
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    TreyAllDay Whatever it takes Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass

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    Unfortunate to hear engagement from members isn't where it should be! Hopefully over the next year we can continue to engage new people on the forum.

    Thanks for all you do MJ!
     
  3. Kyle Thumm
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    Kyle Thumm Online Fitness Entrepreneur Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER

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    I'm brand new here but I will be sticking around. Looking forward to being a part of the resurgence.

    Thank you for thoroughly explaining the decision MJ!
     
  4. Tom.V
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    Very sad to hear this. The summit this year was a GAMECHANGER for me and my business.

    • The connections made with fellow Fastlaners, several of which now are forged in stone for years to come.
    • The chance to put the faces to the names I have spoken to over the years.
    • The ideas flowing from every angle as a constant reminder as to why we are all doing this.
    • The rocket fuel of motivation and inspiration to straight up change every aspect of my life for the better.

    It was an incredible experience and definitely one I was looking forward to partaking in and contributing to again this year. It was a catalyst for incredible change in my life and many others as well. For that, I am forever grateful to you @MJ DeMarco and everyone here at the forum for your contributions both to the event and otherwise.

    Summit or no Summit, this place is life changing. I won't be going anywhere anytime soon and will continue to provide value as much as I can. Fingers crossed for FLF Summit 2020.
     
  5. CareCPA
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    This is frustrating to read. I was looking forward to the chance to go this year. We couldn't swing it last year, but decided we were going to do everything we could to get there this year.

    I can't speak for others, but I'll give my thought process on speaking:
    I was going to throw my name in there, whether as a solo speaker, or part of a panel. However, when I saw some of the more successful contributors putting their names in, I figured they were more qualified than I am to speak.
    For example, @GlobalWealth is an incredible source of information on international tax and asset protection - so why would people want to hear me speak about domestic tax strategies? They could save way more if they can pull of an international structure.
    Accounting in general is not seen as a value-add component to a business, so I honestly didn't think people would be interested to hear me talk. I'm curious if there are, perhaps, other people under-valuing their knowledge?

    I hope this even returns in the future. I believe there is a level of connection that is attained in-person that cannot be replicated through anonymous forum posts. I'm sure the networking alone was invaluable to those who attended in the past.
     
  6. MJ DeMarco
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    MJ DeMarco Raving Lunatic Staff Member Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass LEGENDARY CONTRIBUTOR Summit Attendee

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    We would have welcomed you to speak. I try to mix up the speakers and not have the same folks speaking every year. Additionally, you don't need to be forum rockstar to speak or to be selected. If the content sounds beneficial, it is considered.


    There is no doubt about this.
    I've seen it every year, however in the last few years, this hasn't translated into significantly more forum engagement outside of the short time-period window described above.
     
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  7. Ravens_Shadow
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    That's unfortunate, but understandable. I was looking forward to the event and getting to see everyone face to face again.

    Perhaps for the next summits, if there are any, only allow users who have met a certain value threshold here on the forum to attend. It'd leave newer guys out, but it'd help weed out the non-contributors or value sharks.

    To me it's a situation of stealing value from the forum,its members, and the speakers, to go there and give nothing back in return after having such a life changing experience. They had time to stalk the forum for a ticket, you would think they would have time to write posts too.

    For me, the event strengthened my relationship with a few people and introduced me to a few others who have made tremendous impact on my life and my business. Frankly, a lot of the conversations that go on between me and those guys are off the forum in the form of phone calls, skype/discord chats, etc. Even with the huge swath of time my business, family and job requires, I'm still able to post progress updates every week or two.

    I understand the difficulty of putting on an event like the summit and how much of a risk it is. Thanks for everything that you do MJ and it was great meeting you at the summit.

    It'd be nice to have a weekend to go out to scottsdale and meet up with everyone at the resort or some other location. No speakers, just face to face interaction, conversations, and relaxing.
     
    Last edited: Oct 4, 2018
  8. MJ DeMarco
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    MJ DeMarco Raving Lunatic Staff Member Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass LEGENDARY CONTRIBUTOR Summit Attendee

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    Thanks Tom for all you've contributed here. Believe me, I see it.

    And thank you as well for your contributions here. Much appreciated.

    Truth is, I wouldn't expect everyone who attended to regularly contribute, that's being unrealistic. But I would have expected Summit peeps to be slightly to significantly more engaged than those who never attended. At this point, there isn't really much of a difference between the two groups, which means, the event doesn't affect engagement, at least here. It doesn't seem feasible to hold an event that spikes traffic for February, and then just slowly dies for the next 9 months until the next sale announcement comes.

    If the energy from the event snowballed and built until the next event, then by all means, the event needs to happen.

    But the opposite seems to be the pattern.
     
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  9. Scot
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    Scot Ductus Exemplo Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass LEGENDARY CONTRIBUTOR

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    I definitely agree with this. I submitted my name to speak, and only felt confident because a few people suggested I do it. But, to be honest, even though I have a couple of gold threads already, I still don’t feel like one of the “big dogs” on the forum. My business is still fledgling, we haven’t broken 6 figures yet. But, I also know I’m the only good guy here, and one of the few actively pursuing traditional B&M wholesaling.

    I’m definitely bummed the Summit won’t happen this year. @Vigilante is still mad at me for not being able to go last year. Speaking with everyone who did go, I know I missed out on a lot of great connections and knowledge.

    The forum will definitely see more of me though. We’ve got to keep this place going strong!
     
  10. Longinus
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    Longinus Platinum Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass

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    Is he still not answering your phone calls and messages? Seems you'll have to surprise him with chocolates and roses or something.
     
  11. amp0193
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    amp0193 Legendary Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass LEGENDARY CONTRIBUTOR

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    Sorry to hear this @MJ DeMarco. Was really looking forward to going again this year.

    It was really impactful for me this year, and I made a lot of life-changing connections. Yes, we're chatting off the forum... but in my case these guys happen to still be here regularly as well.

    I found myself nodding my head through the whole post though. I get it. Hard to believe only 16 people put their names out there. I seem to remember pages and pages of entries in the past?

    I think this is the heart of it.

    Any thoughts as to why the communal engagement is low?

    What's driven away the regular contributors?

    How do you improve community?


    I know I go on here to look through the recent threads on the front page, and 2 out of 3 times there seems to be nothing that great to read. I feel that the quality of the content posted by users, in general, has gone down. I took a 2 or 3 month hiatus earlier this year, because I didn't feel that coming here was worth the time. I wasn't getting much out of it. I keep coming back, because I know what the forum was, and I have hopes that it can change.

    Is this shift in quality what has driven away regular members?

    Or is the lower quality the void left by members leaving?

    Maybe it was a negative feedback loop, and both caused the other?

    Or maybe the amount of quality content is the same as ever, there's just more "noise" burying it.

    Maybe the influx of new members following the release of Unscripted played a part in this?


    But, regardless of what brought us here... what do you think is the way forward?

    I think it's people stepping up to the plate to take the reigns from those members that are no longer here. More good content from members who are here regularly. You don't have to be a success story before you have valuable content to share. Almost everyone has something they can contribute. Strive to be a producer here, not a consumer.
     
  12. ZCP
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    ZCP Legendary Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass LEGENDARY CONTRIBUTOR

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    @MJ DeMarco ... Boss, am proud of you for what you have done so far. You change lives. You matter.
    No way I try to change your mind as you are stubborn and most of the time right. :)

    The summit introduced me to people and ideas that I have frankly been too busy trying to execute to be able to spend the time i used to on the forum. I submitted my name to speak. Would be honored to be able to in any year you would let me. I drop by from time to time now to drop encouragement bombs.

    I think a bunch of us have just 'gone off to school' and left @MJ DeMarco 's house for a little bit while we make a mark in the world. Give us a little time. We'll be back with results and pics to prove it!

    I'll set a calendar item to pop in every week or two to give back. We all owe each other and you so much!
     
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  13. MJ DeMarco
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    MJ DeMarco Raving Lunatic Staff Member Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass LEGENDARY CONTRIBUTOR Summit Attendee

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    I hope you understand that this isn't about you.

    The folks who have posted here in this thread have contributed regularly. I can think of a dozen more as well. And that's the irony...

    ... the people who read this (at least today) aren't part of the issue.

    The people who aren't reading this, who aren't here, who aren't engaging, that's who needs to understand it. So in effect, I'm having to report this to the very people who actually ARE engaging.

    This isn't a new development, it's been happening for years.

    I hope the event SNOWBALLS in activity onward to the next event, and it doesn't. It just drizzles and dies. I have ample history here to reference.

    So if the event doesn't have a sustainable benefit to the very institution it is suppose to support, I no longer can advocate for it, at least not in its present form amidst the other concerns cited (risk, personal goals, etc.)

    Also, a small contributing issue are forums are typically a desktop medium, and forums are notoriously bad for mobile contribution. The former medium is declining, the latter rising.
     
  14. Vigilante
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    Vigilante Legendary Contributor Staff Member Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass LEGENDARY CONTRIBUTOR Summit Attendee

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    In 2019 for the first time ever mobile ecommerce will be more than 50% of internet purchases. Think about that. In the relatively short life of the worldwide web, that is an epic shift. It will change mediums/platforms like the platform that hosts this forum ...forever.

    The newest iphone has 512GB memory.

    As an extra bonus for those of you reading this thread, do you know what the #1 best selling single model computer of ALL TIME is?

    .......

    Commodore 64 - Wikipedia
     
  15. mtnman
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    Well summmbeyatch!

    I wasn't physically able to attend last year, battling some health problems and was getting amped up for this year now that that's out of the way.

    Sad to see this, although I am probably part of the crowd that's the problem. I don't share case studies on the forum, and save details on what I've been slaving away at for B&P presentations.

    I also have to keep myself off of forums, or sh*t doesn't get done. Quite the conundrum, and I understand your position.

    Why not let the attendees finance the meetup if we want it that bad?
     
  16. Vigilante
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    Vigilante Legendary Contributor Staff Member Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass LEGENDARY CONTRIBUTOR Summit Attendee

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  17. Greg R
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    Thank you @MJ DeMarco I greatly respect your decision, transparency and honesty.

    The 2018 Summit was one of the biggest highlights of my life. It has been life changing to say the least. I'm still on the post Summit high.

    My sincerely apologies for not posting much recently as I have been entirely focused on executing everything that I've learned. It was time for me to leave the nest and fly for a while.

    I echo pretty much everything that was already said and will make a point to contribute as more.

    Thank you for everything that do you.
     
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  18. YoungPadawan
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    YoungPadawan Miles to go before I sleep Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass

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    Dang, that's a bummer, but I understand. I really hope to meet you all someday after I'm able to escape the 9-5 for good.

    I agree with the previous comments about each member financing their stay and amenities. I actually assumed that was already the case. I agree with you that that is way too much risk for a person to burden if there isn't a justifiable payback.

    In about a month, I'll post a progress thread on what I've been working on for the past few months. I've also been developing a "Value Attribute/Competitive Advantage Master List" in order to make a productocracy/monopoly that I would share.

    You have had an incredible impact on my life @MJ DeMarco and I would love the opportunity to meet you in person. Please don't let this year be the chopping block for the main meetup forever.
     
  19. Vigilante
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    Vigilante Legendary Contributor Staff Member Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass LEGENDARY CONTRIBUTOR Summit Attendee

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    Were you there?
     
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  20. Greg R
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    Greg R Act, Assess, Adjust Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass

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    Ha, I guess my badge tags would suggest otherwise.

    You don't remember me begging you for an a$$ kicking?
     
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  21. MJ DeMarco
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    MJ DeMarco Raving Lunatic Staff Member Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass LEGENDARY CONTRIBUTOR Summit Attendee

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    Admin Post
    Of course there has to be a balance.

    This is not about asking people to spend all day at the forum.

    It's about just keeping in touch on progress, success, and failure.

    Mind you I visit the forum daily and try to keep tabs on everything.

    When I looked at the attendance list from the prior years, I had no clue what 98% of what everyone was doing today. There's about a dozen folks (outside of the Phoenix peeps here) where I could easily say, "Oh yes, he's doing X, she's doing Y, he's starting this, she started that..." Just for example, I know @Ravens_Shadow is trying to grow a software biz, I know @IlyaP is growing a productized service company, I know @SteveO is subdividing land and growing a golf course, @GlobalWealth crypto mining...

    As for the other 300+ people, I have no clue.
     
  22. WJK
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    Too bad. I was wanting to come this year, and I'd be happy to speak. I offered last year...
     
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    This is why I still go on Reddit, because the apps and mobile experience are flawless.

    Trying to navigate this forum on mobile is a little irritating to say the least, and I think that it's a bigger contributor to the lack of engagement than you think.

    Logging onto TFLF in a mobile browser while you're waiting for a burger is too much of an ordeal from most people. They just go to reddit or another mobile app.

    Maybe a private subreddit for us mobile users? Or would that further fragment the forum?

    Emphasis on private, I wouldn't want the cesspool that is Reddit to leech into the forum in any way.
     
  24. rollerskates
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    rollerskates Silver Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED Speedway Pass

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    Oh, boo! I was hoping to go this year. I visit here just about every day, although I don't have much to contribute in the way of "I've done this and it's awesome". I'm more of the type that exists to be an example of what not to do. I'm not doing anything fast lane at the moment because I need to stabilize my non fast lane biz so that I at least have income while I fast lane on the side.

    But just so everyone who contributes more meaningfully than I knows, I read here a lot, I have threads and threads upon threads bookmarked and I appreciate everyone's contributions every single day. Especially @MJ DeMarco, thanks for still having the forum!
     
  25. splok
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    splok Silver Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass Summit Attendee

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    I understand most of the problems that you're mentioning, but I just wanted to poke at this particular part. I think the event is a victim of it's own success as far as speakers go. I think there are a lot of people here who could give an interesting/useful talk, but maybe they aren't exactly hitting it out of the park business-wise. With the past pool of speakers being so great, I think it's getting harder for people to imagine themselves competing. It's a bit sad when I consider that pretty much everyone that I talked to one-on-one at the past events had some sort of a story that could be interesting and helpful, and that's not even considering how reluctant people generally are to stand up in front of a crowd... Even as comfortable with it as I am (I'd be happy to come and give a talk pretty much any time, and my previous talks went well enough I think), but without enough personal success/results to put behind the topic, it feels a bit crappy even submitting an idea.

    Considering all that, here are a few suggestions:

    -I had glanced through the request-for-speakers thread a couple of times, and it didn't feel like there was a shortage of great speakers offering. If it were made clear that you wanted/needed more submissions, it might prod some of us fence-sitters into action.

    -Invite people to speak directly. In addition to the request-for-speakers, what if there was a thread that asked people who they would like to see speak, and about what, maybe even with a vote after compiling the more promising entries? People may be doubtful of the value they would contribute, but that barrier would vanish if you specifically invited them to speak.

    -Going back to my assumption that everyone has a worthwhile story, I think it would be great to go back to the "everyone must present" rule. Trickier with more people but still do-able. Have different length slots available, so there could a few full talks each day, with a few half slots, and a bunch of 5 minute lightning talks... Could break up the small talks into smaller rooms as needed to accommodate more people. Maybe 20-30 people per room with quick talks between breakfast and lunch... would be a great way to get to know each other.
     
    Eskil, salasben19, Sheens and 6 others like this.

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