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michaellee posted this link about some recent convention failures, and it makes some interesting food for thought. My first reaction was "not enough people watching the money, obviously" but that really doesn't get at the root of the problem.

Media conventions have been cordially despised by fans ever since the days of ST:TOS for being ginormous goat ropes and money traps designed to quickly separate fans from their money by any and every means possible. The ones that are fan-run are somewhat less suspect than the ones run by for-profit outfits like CreationCons, but only somewhat. There's just too much money involved, for one thing, and because of the Five Geek Social Fallacies the necessary oversight to keep someone from busting the con budget wide open and tipping it into bankruptcy (or worse, looting the con for all the money they can steal) usually isn't in place until after the horses are loose and the barn is in flames.

Incorporating is only part of the answer. There needs to be an internal audit committee keeping a suspicious eye on the Treasurer, who in turn should be a paranoid tightfisted fuck who hates writing checks and demands receipts as soon as anything more expensive than a candy bar is bought with convention money. "Trust" should not be a word in his vocabulary. Maybe I'm being extreme here, but would you rather have someone like that in charge of your money with a couple of other senior staff looking over his shoulders, or would you rather get a call from the bank to inform you that the 150 kilobux you thought you had in the bank have gone missing?

I also think the timeline on the ConRunner.net site is ridiculously optimistic (18 months lead time to sign a hotel? YGBSM! Try two years!) but that's another kvetch for another post.

Comments

( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
redmartel
May. 15th, 2009 02:45 am (UTC)
So, did I fit the profile or what?
wombat_socho
May. 15th, 2009 04:43 pm (UTC)
Let's just say we didn't offer you (and before you, J) the job solely because of your good looks. :)
jolene_tucson
May. 18th, 2009 04:47 am (UTC)
I have been following the fedcon case for a while thru another blog. Pretty fucking pathic. You don't do that to people and I passed the information that I had to many people in MN from CONvergence and MarsCon. It is getting past the point that you can just pray and hope your convention will work. You do need to run it like a business and have checks and balances worked into the whole system...very important!
wombat_socho
May. 18th, 2009 07:36 pm (UTC)
Anyone not running a convention like a business at this point should be avoided like the plague. It's half the reason I don't get involved in running any of the ones out here in DC - the other half being that I'm enjoying my sabbatical. :)
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )

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