Farewell to the ’Fest: Why We’re Ending Our Annual Conference

January 8, 2018

Topic tags

Chris Savage

Founder, CEO

After dozens of guest speakers, 4 boat cruises, thousands of oysters, 1 marriage, and a dunk tank, we’re saying farewell to WistiaFest, Wistia’s annual conference for all things video marketing.

For the last 4 years, we’ve had the honor of hosting the most driven, genuine video marketers from all across the world. It inspired some of the products we’ve built, and gave us a deep connection to some of our most passionate customers.

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I know what you’re all thinking …  why would you stop having a conference if you loved it so much?

Short answer: WistiaFest was incredibly inefficient. The best part of WistiaFest was also its achilles heel — how intimate it was. We learned after 4 years that 400 people was the perfect size for what we wanted and could internally accomplish, but it still took a lot of work!

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The small and mighty team invested all of our creative resources into crafting useful, memorable content. This meant saying no to some really important projects for our larger customer base. Between creative, marketing, and design resources alone, it took months of planning and execution. Other projects would grind to a halt, or simply never happen. Making specific content memorablefor the audience at the ’Fest was super energizing, but it also meant de-prioritizing other projects (ones with longer shelf-lives).

Saying farewell to WistiaFest was a super hard decision to make, but after thinking it through, we believe there are more scalable ways to accomplish the same goals and connect even more people in our community. We’ve also realized again and again that there are only so many things we can do well as a company.

The future of the ’Fest

But this is no eulogy. This is an opportunity to pivot and reimagine what Wistia events and community building efforts look like. WistiaFest provided unique value to us as a company, and we want to make sure (as best we can) that our new events and other ideas retain that same value.

Now that WistiaFest is ending, we’ll be working hard to make sure some of the best parts about the conference live on.

  • More in-person time with customers, partners, friends, and the community. We’re so grateful for all the time we got to spend with our customers and the community at past WistiaFests, and we think we can actually make space to meet with more than 400 people throughout the course of a year. In the future, we hope to create many (less resource-intensive) opportunities to get folks together.
  • Formalized ways to learn from the Wistia Community. WistiaFest was never about us lording our “video expertise” over attendees. It was about everyone sharing their experiences with each other to contribute to our collective knowledge base about video marketing. As we develop future events, we want to keep this philosophy of communal learning at the forefront.
  • Projects the whole company can rally behind. One of the best things about WistiaFest was the collective high that the company got when it was finished. After months of teamwork, everything came together in 72 hours, and it was always pretty magical. That’s the kind of morale boost that reliably aligns your team behind your core values and mission.

We want to hear from you. What will you miss? What was your favorite part? What are the other ways we can help bring people together? Where else could we get together? Let us know in the comments!

Quick tip!

If you’re looking to connect with the Wistia Community online, you can request an invite to our Slack team!

January 8, 2018

Topic tags

Chris Savage

Founder, CEO

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