With the STEP Conference taking place tomorrow, Team TMN sit down with Founder Ray Dargham to find out what we can expect from this year’s event…
Tell us a little more about the concept behind STEP…
STEP started in an art gallery in Beirut, where I’m from. I ran workshops on emergent trends and it was really a space for creative people to connect and was something very organic. I then moved to Dubai and saw an opportunity for STEP to become bigger and better.
Even though STEP has grown since it began in Beirut, the core element has stayed the same – it’s essentially a cool hub for like-minded people to connect
What can we expect to see and how will this year’s conference differ from previous editions?
To get a real feel for STEP Conference you really have to come and experience the fun for yourself. It has a real festival feel and is so much more than a conference.
Aside from the action packed schedule, we have a food fest area with eclectic local food. Music will be provided by Freshly Ground Sounds and we will have an art area, which keeps the spirit of our beginnings alive.
We know people in the media like to socialise, so we will be having a warm up barbeque the night before and an after party at a top-secret location for all attendees.
This year will be bigger, bolder and better. We have tripled in size, there are three main stages instead of one, and we have leading speakers and attendees from around the world, putting us on a global platform.
There will be more announcements for STEP Conference right up until the event and we will also have a few surprises in store on the day itself.
How does STEP Conference differ from other technology, design and gaming events in the region?
We provide an engaging and disruptive format, and it’s very experience-led. We’re the only conference in the region that mixes entertainment with the commercial side of business for these industries. And most importantly it’s lots of fun!
What can we expect to see from this year’s line-up of speakers?
Three of the top 100 most wanted tech speakers in the world will be there – Dave McClure, Mike Butcher and Jeremiah Owyang will share their stories and reveal the latest trends in their sectors.
Who is your target market and how does your marketing strategy reflect this?
It’s a mix of people, which keeps it interesting. We target the start-up community, including the mentors and investors. People in the digital space in general, as well as gamers, designers, brands and agencies. Our marketing strategy is targeted, digital centric, with content at the heart to appeal directly to our audience
How can communications professionals get involved?
STEP Conference will reveal the latest trends in digital and will showcase leading global speakers, so it’s ideal for any professional in the media and communications sectors to learn what’s hot in this exciting space.
Are there advertising opportunities?
There are still opportunities for advertising, or as we call it, brand integration. Our sponsors aren’t just names with logos – they get engaged and provide something experiential and meaningful to the audience.
How can members of media attend the Conference?
They can register through the website stepconference.com or go direct to our PR agency – Brazen – who will help. The media lounge is the same as the speaker lounge, so media will get direct access to everyone taking part, which is pretty different.
Are there any future plans for STEP Conference?
Absolutely. Our vision is 10,000 attendees by 2017 and for it to become a global platform in showcasing tech, design and gaming talent and trends.
Dubai is the perfect city to host STEP and get us to that vision. Not only does it have the connectivity and infrastructure, but it’s also a hotbed for the creative and digital scene in the region. The weather and beach help too of course!