With the kind of access to data we now have I really wonder why so many events are still run on speculation. I’ve done it before and it’s both nerve-wracking and frustrating. Once the doors are open it’s just a matter of whether people can be bothered to show up and hoping like hell the marketing was enough to get people through the door.

A while ago I read about the way Jonathan Coulton started doing things:

This was the week I first started using Eventful to track where enough fans existed to allow me to do a live show (I was certainly feeling confident!). It was an incredibly helpful source of information those first couple of years when I was figuring out how to tour. Having done my fair share of poorly attended gigs in the city before I was even semi-famous, I simply could not stomach the idea of TOURING in that way where you doggedly play to empty houses in ever widening geographical circles, hoping that people who accidentally see you one time will want to see you on purpose in the future. Just awful. So I used Eventful to identify the cities where I could be sure that wouldn’t happen (the first test of this technique would happen in Seattle sometime later, we’ll get to that). It was a great strategy for me, and really the only way I could have made it work.

Perhaps in time I’ll scrape together the resources to run a company that organises events for people using a crowd-sourcing model. Working out the details and using a Kickstarter-style pledging system. If the event goes ahead then fine, if not then refunds all ‘round.

It’d be nice if one day we could live in a world where events could actually be relied on to make money. They’re a huge job to organise and great fun, but making them financially profitable is tricky.

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