Interview with Craig Rayner, COO UnGagged
The next UnGagged event takes place in London in June this year, so we thought we’d catch up with COO Craig ahead of this to find out a bit more about the conference.
How long has UnGagged been going?
The idea of UnGagged was hatched in 2013. It was at this point we realised we were rather disillusioned with the Digital / Search conference scene. Too many times certain areas of the venue were packed with people creating a claustrophobic hell which isn’t a nice way to network or do business. These people often bought the cheapest tickets or it was a free conference. Quantity over quality. This left many speaker sessions empty because those tickets were slightly more expensive. This in turn created a speaker who simply went through the motions churning out the same information which in our ever changing industry has no value. To us the entire scene needed to be shaken up and drastically improved and so we created UnGagged. Despite being from the UK our first event was in November 2014 in Caesars Palace Las Vegas. As Wham did sing ‘if you’re going do it, do it right!’. Yep I am that old!
Why should people attend UnGagged?
If you too are sick of walking away from an event with no meaningful leads, connections or knowledge and you’re bored of waiting for an hour to grab a cold slice of pizza and had nowhere to sit to eat, talk and properly network, then UnGagged may well be for you. The speakers are amazing, we only invite the best in the business. The learning is unparalleled because all sessions are not recorded and behind closed doors, therefore the unique content which is shared has an incredibly high worth. In the price of the ticket not only will you rub shoulders with the cream of the industry but you get excellent food, plenty of drink and ample opportunity to pounce on the golden snippets of wisdom being dropped everywhere. The ROI is staggering when you meet the right caliber of individual especially in a great environment conducive to business development.
What kind of audience will attend UnGagged?
The technical level at UnGagged is high. This isn’t for the newbie, it’s for those in the industry who want to learn more and earn more. It is for those serious about moving forward and keeping up with our fast paced industry and more importantly, staying ahead. The audience is generally made up of C level decision makers and technically proficient professionals usually from SME’s. UnGagged offers a friendly community feel which equally embraces intelligence with fun.
Tell us a bit about the speakers at UnGagged?
We only invite those speakers who are respected within the industry and have something important and relevant to say. Unlike other conferences we do not give them boundaries or edit their content, they get to say what they want, how they want, behind closed doors. Freedom of speech. We emphasise the importance of bringing something unique to share with the audience and if they have given the same session elsewhere they are not invited back! Now we have two conferences a year, one in London and the other in Vegas and the speakers for both have a good international spread. They each get 55 minutes to share cutting edge material, mostly on their own. We don’t think having an hour session shared by 4 speakers each doing 15 minutes gives enough knowledge to the audience or demonstrates the speaker’s ability. Our biggest problem is choosing the speakers because everyone who has spoken before asks to return plus of course now the industry knows UnGagged is THE conference to attend, we get inundated with speaking requests. I guess that’s a nice position to be in.
What makes UnGagged stand out from other conferences?
The speakers. The content. The attendees. The food. The drink. The ROI. The networking. The atmosphere. The caliber. The venues.
Anything else to add?
If you want a friendly conference where the aim is to build or make relationships and to learn relevant actionable knowledge then UnGagged is the conference for you. There are few if any other events that can truly compare. It’s for those who are serious about this industry and their future in it. Take out your calendars, scratch out the free events and invest in a conference that will take you to the next level.
Perhaps the best way to describe UnGagged is to take a look at our previous events.
Hope to see you soon.