Roofing/Insurance Restoration Honest Conference Review -
I’ve been to a lot of industry conferences over the years. When I say industry, I realize the many people would categorize that differently than I might. Since I’m a Public Adjuster at a Roofing Convention, let me qualify the term “industry” to mean “insurance restoration conference with a strong emphasis on roofing”. Technically this conference was not in that category. But, since I went, maybe it became that? Right, like I’m that important… Regardless of the official category, the attendees of that type of conference were the ones that attended this one. With that type of conference in mind, this is an honest review/comparison of RoofCon 2021 versus other industry conferences and versus RoofCon 2020.
This is the 3rd ever RoofCon event. I attended last year’s conference and wrote a review. While it wasn’t a glowing review, it did show that RoofCon had promise. I came to this conference expecting a small improvement. My expectations were found to be lacking. They clearly took everyone’s recommendations to heart. But in my typical Honest Review Fashion, I’ll give you the bad first, then the good, and then my overall impressions.
The RoofCon team set up a couple of stages. There was one that was situated in the expo area with the RoofCon sign on it that is pictured above. Then there was the main stage which was not very close to the expo area. It was some distance and upstairs. I expect they did this to avoid any audio issues that they had the previous year. The main stage speakers had an auditorium to speak in that was clearly designed to be acoustically perfect. The other stage, I’ll call the Expo stage for this article was there, but because there were not many speakers using it, it seemed to be vastly ignored.
There were some speakers on expo stage, but for the most part no one really knew what was happening on that stage. Speakers there were left to introduce themselves without much preamble. Eddie Walker, who was given time to tell his incredible story from that stage, was simply handed a mic and told to go speak. He pulled his own phone out and played music from it to drive some attention his way. He pulled his own audience in. He was really the only one that gained a decent crowd as a result.
In my mind, if you are going to have a stage, then you might as well promote who is going to be on it. Leaving the speakers on a stage to introduce themselves seems almost dis-respectful. I understand that this is not the MAIN stage, and as such the MC was not around, but it seems prudent to have a secondary MC if there is going to be a second stage. This stage was awkward and underutilized which probably affected any ROI that the speakers from it may have gained. I honestly just don’t think a second stage is even necessary.
The conference expo area was split into 2 halves. There was the main area which I was lucky enough to be in, and the other side. The side which must not be named… It was dark and generally less visited than the main area. Some people didn’t even realize it was part of the same conference until the second day. They did have some big names in the booths on that side, but every time I went over there it seemed less crowded than the main area.
There was a basketball court set up adjacent to the side which must not be named. There was a DJ there. Did a basketball game happen? I have no idea. I’m sure it did. I did not attend. Did the DJ have loud music that seemed to be disruptive to the dark side? Yup. Could the DJ have been utilized for intro music for the speakers on the Expo Stage? Yup.
I don’t know why the lights were lower on that end, and honestly it wasn’t even that much lower, but it was noticeable and it seemed to whisper that that side was not as important. How bad was this? Well to be frank (not Frank Dalton) it really wasn’t that big of a deal. But, I am glad I didn’t end up on that side if that tells you anything.
I usually like to have at least 3 things per category, but I already feel like I’m grasping at straws. hmmm… The hotel that was recommended was attached to the convention center, so I walked from my room to the expo and back each day. I’m fairly certain it was half a mile each way. So, I got some exercise. There, that’s 3.
You can ask 100 people why they go to industry conferences and you may get 100 different reasons. Some will say that they go for education and/or networking. Some go to get motivated, or to motivate their team to sell more. Some will say they go for the chance to party with other industry peeps. Some will simply go because their boss forced them to and they will spend most of the time just drinking. Depending on which camp you fall in, might determine which conference you should attend. If you fall into the education and networking camp, then RoofCon might be the best industry conference offered.
I personally like to learn as much as I can and meet as many people as I can at these things. I am not the kind of guy that enjoys an event that is designed to make someone all EXCITED and ready to slay dragons. I call that an Oh-RA event. I do not understand Oh-RA events. You might disagree with me. I would not be in business if I needed motivation to make money.
They did have a motivational speaker, of course. I suspect that you HAVE to. But for the most part, they focused on bringing in the best of the best. Would you rather hear from a boxer with a possible domestic assault issue, or someone that wrote a crap ton of best selling books on business at an industry convention? Which of these would you rather have a photo with for your professional social media posts?
RoofCon offered John C. FREAKING Maxwell! Yeah, THAT John C. Maxwell. Paul Reed told me John was his best friend. But, he’s my best friend, so I’m not sure how that’s possible. This guy makes you feel important instantaneously. I’m fairly certain he is secretly a Jedi. I’m not sure I’ve seen someone of his caliber before at an industry event, but I’m positive that I’m biased on this.
The Breakout Sessions were not advertisements for people’s services. They weren’t allowed to be. Most conventions claim to be a “no-pitch” convention, but they tend to allow the vendors to pitch you during the breakout sessions anyway. Not this one. I’m not sure if it happened anyway, but I can tell you that the speakers were specifically asked not to do it. That’s the first time I’ve had that happen to me.
Why does this matter, you might ask? Well would you rather get good information that you can take with you, or be sold on something? If you would have asked this, you should just stop reading. We probably won’t get along. Consider this though; the breakout speakers are given 50 minutes to speak. As a speaker I can tell you that 50 minutes is not much time to get some important concepts out. If a speaker spends 10-15 minutes of that giving you their pitch, then is it really worth attending? What can you get out of half an hour other than the same surface-level bullshit that you get at every other conference?
Basically RoofCon was centered around education. How can you tell? The VIP event was AFTER the convention officially ended. That’s how. Yes, we partied. Yes, many of us got drunk. Yes, I made a fool of myself. BUT, I didn’t have to get up the next morning and be at the convention ready to learn. It was a great party, and it was at the right time. I hope more conventions take this to heart. We don’t need parties every night. -I may be in the minority on this one, so I’m curious how many of you agree with this.
Don’t get me wrong, we want to network, but do we want to do that while having to scream at each other to be heard? I learn more at events from the attendees than I do from the speakers in most cases. I need as much time as possible to have those conversations. If I’m expected to make an appearance at every after party, then I’ll get very little time to get the information I really need out of the other attendees.
Also, I really getting tired of hangovers.
RoofCon Improved greatly from last year and its no wonder. Hunter Ballew and his team took all of our comments and suggestions to heart. Hell, they did it this year DURING the convention. They pulled me and a few others into a private room and asked us for help making it better. I was honored… like, really honored. Why the hell would my opinion matter? I’ve never run something like this. The comments from the other chosen were well thought out and thorough. What did I add? I just sat there and nodded along. That’s how awesome I am.
This might not be the biggest industry convention out there, but its definitely among the best. I sincerely hope RoofCon grows tremendously next year and continues to improve. If you attend RoofCon 2022, you too can witness what an industry convention is supposed to be like. I know I’ll be there.
Cheers! – Mat