SaaStr Europa Didn’t Cannibalize SaaStr Annual (Lesson: You Just Don’t Know)

One thing that is interesting at “scale” is you have to be careful about shooting from the hip.  You have to start speaking with data.  As SaaStr has crossed $11m+ in annual revenues, what we think will happen often … isn’t what happens.  We could intuit everything the first few years.  Now, we have to be careful about that.

Speakers we think will perform well are less popular than we think.  New trends emerge.  The past playbook doesn’t work as well.  E.g., the fireside is dead.

We’re re-learning and refreshing everything.

One question we had in launching the first SaaStr Europa was if it would cannibalize SaaStr Annual attendance.  I.e., would folks “stay home” in Europe and not travel all the way to SF Bay Area?  I assumed many would.  We already had huge attendance from Europe — and why go to a smaller event if you are willing to fly all the way to the #1 bigger event?

Add in the lower sponsor revenue in Europa and lower ticket costs, and it was “clear” we’d lose revenue from this cannibalization.  Which was fine if it was better for the community, but potentially impactful.

But our “gut” was wrong.  Only 146 folks from the 2018 Annual came to the first SaaStr Europa in 2018, and we are tracking to similar numbers on a percentage basis in 2019 at the second SaaStr Europa (again in Paris, 12-13 June).

There are different ways to slice and interpret the numbers.  But overall, we learned contrary to our expectations, Europa brought in a new audience.  Which is terrific.

And not at all what we expected.

Published on February 20, 2019

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