Since attending the TCWorld/Tekom conference for the first time last October, I’ve been thinking about how it both resembles and doesn’t resemble the STC Technical Communications Summit, an event that I have attended several times.
I had heard a lot of different opinions about this, and find that my own perception of this first dive into the Tekom world is a bit different from many of the comments I’ve heard. Here are a few of my observations, in no particular order, comparing the two events.
Number of days:
- TCWorld/Tekom: 3
- STC Summit: 4
Cost (member std rates):
- TCWorld/Tekom: 650€
- STC Summit: $1 025
Social Events included:
- TCWorld/Tekom: Refreshment breaks, lunch every day
- STC Summit: Refreshment breaks, 2 receptions, 1 lunch
Number of sessions:
- TCWorld/Tekom: English – 62 sessions, 24 workshops German- 82 sessions, 25 workshops
- STC Summit: 80 sessions, workshops extra
Post event access:
- TCWorld/Tekom: Some presentation slides available for download
- STC Summit: Summit@aClick access to full recordings of most sessions
Both conferences include trade fairs (Tekom’s is many times bigger than STC’s), and vendor showcases. Tekom also includes technology sessions that don’t seem to have a direct equivalent at the STC Summit, though some of these themes are treated in STC regular sessions.
Tekom offers a discounted rate to members of TC Europe member organisations. STC members do not receive a discount. STC, to my knowledge, has no discount programme for members of sister organisations anywhere.
Tekom’s trade fair does not include the innovation of the consultant’s corner, the space reserved for small consultancies that has been quite successful at recent STC Summits.
As Kai Weber has pointed out in his overview of Tekom, it really is two parallel events: one in English, one in German. I have the impression (not totally backed up by observation) that more of the German sessions were oriented to practitioners, and more of the English sessions were oriented towards managers or consultants.
Like the STC Summit, presentations are organised in parallel tracks, and you can follow a single track or skip from one to another, as your needs and interest direct you.
Sarah O’Keefe, who speaks fluent German, said that she preferred to attend more of the German sessions. Her reasoning is that she already knows most of the English presenters, and the German presentations offer a different perspective on the themes that occupy our attention. My German is very rusty, and what remains in my head is just enough for me to feel frustrated when I try to decipher a spoken presentation. I must refresh my German before attending another Tekom event, because I would have very much liked to experience what Sarah was talking about.
Scott Abel organized a content strategy day at TCWorld that I took part in, that was the highlight of the conference for me. As I understand it, this was a new initiative for Tekom, not unlike the effort at the Dallas STC Summit. I would have liked to see a more dynamic followup at the Sacramento STC summit, as I have indicated elsewhere.
A major component of the TCWorld/Tekom event is localisation, and GALA is a partner in the event. The result is that if localisation is not at the centre of your concerns, it will seem that a huge part of the event does not concern you. A very high percentage of exhibitors at the trade fair were also vendors of localisation services, software, etc.
On the other hand, TCWorld/Tekom features a separate “Associations World,” a sort of trade fair for not for profits, for which STC has no equivalent. Exhibitors this year included other technical communication organisations such as ISTC (UK) and organisations from India, Japan, Poland, etc. It’s interesting to note that Tekom, a for-profit organisation, hosts associations, and STC, a not-for-profit, charitable organisation, doesn’t really have an equivalent.
Both TCWorld/Tekom and STC Summits are great events. They have different characters, based in part on cultural differences, and also on the different business models and size of the two organisations. I am pleased to have been able to attend, and present at, both.