Is the OuiShare Fest too expensive?
This is a translation of an article originally published in French in 2016.
We hear sometimes that the OuiShare Fest is thought to be expensive. Too expensive. After having raised our prices 20% last year, some people might even have thought that we were finally seduced by profit. However, the economic model of such an event is in fact rather fragile. It depends first of all on the energy of a team, that year after year, makes vast sacrifices to make the Fest happen. A few weeks before the opening of this year’s Ouishare Fest, it seems necessary to come back with full transparency to an important point; we do not sell tickets, we finance our freedom.
PRESERVE OUR INDEPENDENCE
After more than 4 years, OuiShare has taken on the challenge of providing a space for encounters, for reflexion, and for action around emerging collaborations and a society based on sharing. We financially depend on our partners through various projects (events, studies, publications…) and ticket sales from the OuiShare Fest. OuiShare is a not for profit general interest association.
When you participate in the OuiShare Fest, you’re not only buying a ticket for a conference, you’re financially contributing to sustaining an independent collective associative project.
THE BUDGET FOR OUISHARE FEST IS AROUND 470K EUROS, IS THIS A LOT?
At first, it might seem like a big number. In fact, it is rather little if we consider that an international team of 30 people works themselves nearly to death on the project for more than 8 months. Nearly 200k euros are allocated to remunerating the team. For the sake of comparison, it is worth considering that this amount is the equivalent of employing 5 people paid 24k euros for a year.
To this it should be added that we pay for space, structural costs, security agents, hire material and that we bring more than 100 speakers from around the world. In all, the budget is far tighter than it may seem.
No event-planning organisation would be able to carry out such a project without a budget at least two or three times as large.
EACH TO THEIR OWN NEEDS AND FINANCIAL CAPACITY, UP TO 400 HACKER TICKETS AT 50 EUROS EACH AND ALL EVENINGS ARE FREE AND OPEN TO THE PUBLIC
OuiShare has an important social mission, to remain an inclusive organisation and to avoid addressing only elites. This is why this year we are offering up to 400 tickets at a reduced prices of 50 euros each (thus at a loss) for people that requested and cannot pay the full fee. Finally, every late afternoon at the OuiShare Fest (from 6 pm) is completely free and open to the public.
For those that pay between 250-950 euros for the 3-day event, it’s the price to pay to help us avoid begging multinationals for scraps from their marketing budgets, which often results in a large corporate presence at events.
In sum, even if we feature similar fees for tickets, and do not hide our ambitions in terms of quality and attendance, structurally speaking we are the complete opposite of some of the big conferences that gather the cream of startups and investment funds at Porte de Versailles.
NO STANDS, NO GOODIES, NOT (MUCH) RUBBISH, AND NO BORING PARTNERS
Perhaps due to idealism, but also integrity, we have often made choices financially irrational choices so as to preserve the quality and authenticity of the experience that we wish to enjoy and put on offer. No more endless round tables were bad speakers are hosted to please partners, likewise, no more traditional stands, standing buffets, kakemonos, hostesses, tiny pastries, flyers, and salad bowls full of anti-stress balls and USB keys emblazoned with your favourite brands.
The value that we seek to bring to the OuiShare Fest lies in the quality of the content and the interactions that we offer.
AN EXPERIENCE YOU WILL NOT FIND ELSEWHERE
Having participated in events around France and the world, I can tell you that the experience of the OuiShare Fest is unique and that you will not find it elsewhere. OuiShare Fest is a gathering, a conversation, a party. There are around 50 nationalities represented, more than 100 speakers, 150 volunteers, gender equality, workshops, city tours, surprises, a zero-waste event and many other things. It is most of all, driven by a program of exceptional quality, that explores the urban problems and solutions of the whole world, discussed by some of the most eminent experts the world over.
There are probably many things that we could improve, mistakes that we could avoid, but we do not doubt for an instant the energy and motivation that we put in this event to make it a success. OuiShare Fest is not too expensive, it is probably too cheap. That’s why we are keen to thank each of those who has already signed up, without whom this would not make sense. Also, our partners, Maif, Castorama, Group Up, Mangopay without who ticket prices would be three times higher.