Interview with HostingCon marketing manager, Andy Grider
HostingCon is the global event for the cloud and service provider ecosystem. They host 4 events a year, in India, China, Europe (which has always been in Amsterdam) and the largest one, in the United States. HostingCon is bar none the biggest event for networking with the people who provide and create the services we use and to keep up to date on the latest trends. Offering full conferences, speakers, big exhibition halls and most of all, networking events. We sat down with Andy Grider, the marketing manager of HostingCon to learn more about who should come and what to expect from the event.
HostAdvice: What is HostingCon’s core audience?
We typically attract the decision makers of hosting, cloud and service provider companies, the owner, CEO, CTO, directors, etc. of SMB’s coming to learn. We have a good mix of both web hosting companies, cloud providers and others offering services and products to those companies. We are known for networking so if you need a new cpanel, security partner or other service or product for your business these are reasons to come to HostingCon.
HostAdvice: You title the event “The trade show for hosting and cloud.” Isn’t cloud just a segment of hosting or is the event also relevant for non-hosting cloud providers?
Hosting and cloud have kind of become blurred, especially the last couple of years. Most hosting companies offer cloud services and vice versa. We see many companies that are not web hosting companies in the event, like service providers, VARs (Value-Added Resellers J.H), data centers, colocation providers and more. Different segments work together to create the internet. HostingCon attracts a broad brush of people in all these different segments in order to interact, network and learn and see the latest trends.
“Meet business partners in a fun and educational environment”
HostAdvice: What has changed over the years in HostingCon and what new surprises do you have lined up for us this year?
We’re really focusing on the interactive learning where you’ll have a chance to ask questions of peers around you as well as provide answers for other people. As far as the education goes the biggest change is the sessions are a lot more interactive. We have a lot of round table discussion sessions where you’ll be sitting at a table of maybe 7 other people. A table leader will be present at the table to keep the conversations going. It’s a lot more interactive then just sitting in the audience and having someone present something to you. As far as networking goes, it has always been a big part of the show and this year we’re adding even more opportunities to meet new partners.
One thing we started last year, and will continue this year, is called “Ask The Experts.” That provides an avenue where each of the presenters has a designated time for people to come, ask questions and introduce themselves in a 1-on-1 setting.
HostAdvice: If a lot of the people are small hosting companies, aren’t they looking at each other as potential competitors, why would they share information and give advice to others?
A lot of it is sharing things that are beneficial to everyone. People generally share what works for them and this builds comradery amongst the hosting providers. A lot of hosting providers are targeted to specific countries or a segment of the industry, for example, they just deal with the healthcare industry or online gaming or something like that as their niche so there is a lot more collaboration than one might expect.
HostAdvice: Our hosting market share has shown that hosting is very local in nature. 70-80% of websites across the globe are hosted locally. Do you see a lot of global audience in your USA event or do you see mainly American’s coming there and people from Europe waiting for Europe event to take place?
People like to host with someone local. A lot of the SMB’s that look for hosting want to work with someone that speaks their own languages, perhaps has a storefront within driving distance away. These days it is really not a requirement but still there is some value to it. I guess bigger companies do look into an international or non-local hosting provider.
We have quite a large international audience. Last year we had attendees from over 45 countries come to our USA show. Our European show saw a very large international audience as well, just about every European country was represented and we had North America, Africa, Asia as well. About 30% of the USA show is non US audience.
HostAdvice: What are the “Don’t miss” parts of the event for the newcomers?
Typically we hear that the number one reason people come is for the networking. With the event happening in New Orleans this year, we’re going to have a really special New Orleans style party/networking event. Networking is an area where people get a lot out of. They talk to people that they keep in touch with throughout the year. They make new partnerships, learn about new services, plus the networking events are just a lot of fun.
HostAdvice: What are the differences, if any, between each event:
The main difference between each of the events is that the educational content is customized specifically for the local audience. For example, The European event focuses on issues facing Europeans. All of the HostingCon Events include networking events and an exhibit hall.
HostAdvice: How many people come to each event?
ResellerClub Presents HostingCon China – 500 Attendees
HostingCon Global (USA) - 1,800 Attendees
ResellerClub Presents HostingCon Europe (Amsterdam) – 750 Attendees
ResellerClub Presents HostingCon India – 2,300 Attendees
HostingCon partnered with ResellerClub for our 3 events outside of the USA. In partnership with them, we produce the events, develop the content, drive attendees and sponsors, etc.
HostAdvice: Can you share a funny story that happened at a past HostingCon event?
During HostingCon 2007 in Chicago, most attendees were staying at the W Hotel on Lakeshore Drive. At the time, they had a bar on the top floor called Ghostbar (not sure if it’s still there or not). By the end of the evening, one attendee had quite a lot to drink and fell asleep sitting in one of the booths. The staff had to wake him up when he was the last person in the bar. Come to discover, he lost his wallet somewhere along the way and had a pretty large bar bill that he couldn’t pay.
The bar staff locked him in the bar and made him start washing dishes to help cover his bill. Lucky for him, someone from the conference fancied a late night drink, came up to the bar, only to find it locked and closed. They happened to see him in the bar and were nice enough to pay his tab and get him out of washing the rest of the dishes!