My Takeaway From Attending C2 Montréal For The First Time
It's no secret amongst my friends that I have been meaning to attendexperienceC2 Montréal for many years now. For the first time, everything worked out for me to be in town and space out my work load to be present for the full 3 days in a row. If you've heard of this event before, you know that the general opinion is split in two: the attendees LOVE it and the non attendees HATE it. It's no surprise when you look at the price of the tickets. Of course, if you own a business, it doesn't really matter because you can easily pass it off on your expenses. But what if you freelance like I do? Is it really worth it?
I won't make that decision for you but I'll share my experience for each aspect of the event which I've split in 4 areas: venue, content, experience, and party.
If I could only use one word to explain C2 in person, it would be overwhelming. Overwhelming in both a good and bad way.
In a positive way because there is so damn much to see as soon as you enterthe space at L'Arsenal. I can bet that most people who attended this year only saw 70% of the whole place. You just can't compare it to any other conference gathering because they've created so many things to see and areas to sit at that your mind never gets bored and your feet actually hurt at the end of the day.
Negative in a sense that for a first timer like me, I just didn't know where to throw myself. I had a major case of FOMO the whole time because there is so much happening at the same time and it is physically impossible to not miss out.
There was as much to see inside than outside too!
The "marina" they built this year by the canal was quite impressive and I wish it would stay there year long! We never get to be as close to the water unless we get on a boat in Montreal. It became my safe haven to gather my thoughts and meet up with friends.
Now the content aspect is the more important for me in any conference as I just can't stand the whole "networking" activity as an introvert.
For that, I can say that C2 Montréal does deliver. People were constantly starstruck about the upcoming speakers!
Compared to most conferences I go to where I learn technical things or business skills that I can apply the day I get back to the office, C2 is more about inspiration. It's about letting you know what is being done right now in the world and it's up to you if you'll do something about it or just be grateful for the knowledge.
There are also masterclasses for more hands on learning but I did not attend those as I spent most of my time in the Big Top 360°.
My favorite talk as a blogger was by Laura Henderson from Buzzfeed! It felt great to hear about a company that doesn't do things old school aka find your mission and create goals based on it. They just go with the flow, understand their data and keep on creating new things from it. Sounds like something I'm trying to do with the blog :P
On top of the venue and content, C2 Montréal brings an amazing experience from beginning to end -- and I'm not talking about all the circus animation which I'm not fond of.
There were a lot of activities to try including VR mountain climbing, baking a giant cake or having a discussion with a bunch of strangers in the air! Some people can find these things ridiculous but I love it. I love anything that takes the serious away and gets us to play like when we were kids. That's when we are true to ourselves and become creative!
The downside is that I was not able to do one single activity as registration was too agressive and the line ups were never ending. I think that these activities need to be able to accommodate at least 30-40 people at once to give a chance to every attendee to do at least one.
One thing I got to try was the Braindates with e180 and it was so much fun! It's like they created this for people like me who hate networking. By using the app, you could find someone to connect with by meeting up to talk about a specific subject. I ended up meeting with Ravi Mantha, a health guru from India, to talk about my back pain from working out. Instead of just talking, he ended up doing some weird stuff on my back, ah!
The conference has fun evening events planned every day with djs and plenty of fun people to chat with. I loved the vibe daily and that's because Montrealers know how to do 5 à 7s right!
As for the big Illumination party, I'm just going to say that I closed the dance floor at 3:30am which I haven't done in a long time! I am pretty over Chromeo but the dj set by Sofi Tukker was AMAZING!
If you can afford this conference, GO! Go to get refreshed, hear new ideas and talk to people from around the world. There's something special in the air during those 3 days; everyone seems more open and willing to interact with one another. The whole place is cool & trendy and there's nothing wrong about it.
I learned a lot through this first experience and I'm hoping I'll be back next year to attack this major event with more planning, calm and simply feeling less like a freshman.