The DotComXpo Experiment.. Did It Work?

This past week, I wanted to do something different and take a risk. A calculated risk, but a risk nonetheless.

The goal: To see if it’s possible to run an “Internet marketing” event (called DotComXpo) with no speakers pitching from the stage while still making it affordable for attendees (and profitable for the producer.. which is me!).

There were some challenges…

1. Would high-calibre speakers be willing to come and deliver content without selling from the stage?

2. Could I attract sponsors to offset my production costs?

3. Could I make “the numbers” work?

4. Would this type of event resonate with people enough to have them attend, travel, take time away from their families and pay up to $1,000?


There were two ways to measure the success of DCX… The feedback forms and the bank balance.

First, the feedback forms. I’ve been doing live events for over 15 years (starting when I used to work at Blythedale Children’s Hospital) and I have never had feedback be so strong. Not even close.

When asked how you would rate DCX, almost every single person said a 9 or a 10. In fact, there average score was 9.36! There were a four 8s (and one was because there were too many great sessions to choose from during the “tactical labes” and the other was because the hotel wifi was slow), but that was it. Virtually each form had phrases like JoEllen Marks saying “this event was truly LIFE CHANGING” to Ross Bowring saying “these strategies will add tens, or even hundreds of thousands of dollars to my client’s bottom lines”.

In the past, I’d always have up to 10% of the people who didn’t love the event, it’s just the nature of the business. You will never please everyone… but this year was different. 100% positive feedback for a crowd in the hundreds is unheard of and I even got teary reading through the forms.

Attendees overwhelmingly praised the speakers, the value of their sessions, the positive energy of the crowd and the no-pitch environment.

Next, I looked the numbers… because numbers never lie. When taking into account the sponsors, registration fees and bookstore sales, it was a 6-figure weekend after expenses.

Now, to be honest, DCX brought in about 30% less up-front income than my other events when I allowed speakers to “pitch”. While the registration was higher for DCX (the other events would be either free or up to $199 to attend), some of the speakers could bring in $100K or more in just one hour from the stage. So the tradeoff was more registration revenue but less total sales volume.

BUT, I know the goodwill achieved will pay off in the long run. Attendees will tell their friends about the event, about the speakers, and about my companies. And the buzz generated should result in selling thousands of copies of the videos (which will likely make up for less revenue made from the actual event).

In fact, here is a FB thread my Seth Larrabee about DCX and he even plugged FounderFly (I didn’t post the entire thread but other people said things like “I’m in!” – so it is making sales).

Would Seth have plugged FounderFly so hard if the event didn’t blow him away? Maybe, but probably not. And he’s just one of hundreds of people who were there… so multiply this by a larger number and you can begin got see the bigger picture. It’s about building a business with legs.


Since I’ve been putting on events for so long, I have it down to a science. Everything from hotel negotiations to speakers to filling the room at zero cost.

And even though the amount of dollars generated in the SHORT-TERM were about 20-30% lower at DCX because there was no-pitching, I have zero doubts that LONG-TERM it will pay off.

I sincerely hope there are other brave producers who follow my lead. And if we can all raise the bar and work our asses off to truly overdeliver on events – well, things will be just that much better.

Thank you again to my team (Shirley, Adam, Catherine and PAV Video), the speakers and to the attendees for taking a chance with this event. You all stepped-up in so many ways and I am forever grateful.



P.S. I will make sure the DCX recordings are affordable. Get on the early-bird list for the videos and save even more right here.

P.P.S. My next “big” training program I am going to blow you away. I’ll show you EXACTLY how to run your own 5, 6 and even 7-figure live events and workshops. Prepare for the madness, my friend. I’ll show you every trick I’ve learned from putting on high-value and very profitable events for big, fat paydays. Stay tuned…


  1. Ryan, you are a legend. Congrats on all you do! I think Shirley deserves a bonus πŸ™‚

    By the way, while you were at dotcomxpo, we introduced a TON of people to your founder fly, and boy did they love it.

    Keep doing what you do.

    1. Author

      Thanks Jason – I appreciate all your support over the years.

      Keep on putting out awesome stuff too!


    1. Author

      Thanks Ron – the response seems to be off-the-charts.

      We missed you at DCX πŸ™‚


  2. Hey Ryan, just wanted to throw my two cents in for anyone who wasn’t at DCX.

    It was hands-down the best event I’ve been to. DCX was the third event I’ve been to this year alone and the quality of the speakers was absolutely 100% top-notch.

    I hung out with a lot of great people and learned some great info. I loved the tactical lab options too.

    I’ve been going back and forth about the direction of my business but after Noah Kagan from AppSumo finished his session…I had an A-HA moment. That alone is priceless.

    So thank you for being the awesome guy you are and putting on an amazing event. If there is a DCX2013 I will definitely be there.

    Talk to you later – Jason

    1. Author

      Hi Jason,

      I know we didn’t get to speak much at DCX.. I was running around like a maniac.

      Thanks for the feedback and I’ll see you soon!


  3. Haha Ryan that was me who proudly proclaimed ‘I’m in!’ for Founderfly. πŸ™‚ Bought this morning, going to start going through the content in detail later today. Looks fantastic so far!

      1. Author

        I love London.. but would be tough to pull it off over there. But never say never πŸ™‚


    1. Author

      Welcome to the FounderFly family Abhi! You made a wise decision.


  4. Thanks for putting on another killer event Ryan! I was very honored to speak, and hope my session was helpful to attendees.

    You know how many events I attend each year, and yet the quality and community at your events still blow me away every time. I’ve never been around a better group of attendees and speakers- everyone there is friendly, helpful, and positive, which is not always the case at these events!

    Like you mentioned, the fact that the vast majority of the speakers actually hung out for the whole event and attended the sessions speaks volumes about what you’ve built and cultivated.

    I’m glad to hear it was a profitable event for you, because I know how much work goes into these things behind the scenes! Once again, you’ve raised the bar for the industry πŸ™‚


    1. Author

      Thanks Beau – that means a lot coming from you.

      The speakers were amazing. They were literally there at every session.

      Even Daymond John told me how friendly and supportive all the attendees were. He wants to do more in our community.

      Talk to you soon, my friend.


  5. Excellent. So glad I could be a part of it. The energy right from the start was electric, and you could tell everyone was there for each other. Very glad I went. The best thing is… I’m implementing a large amount of stuff learned (and reminded of) at the event, and I have the PASSION back for my biz. Thanks, Ryan! πŸ™‚

    1. Author


      Thanks for coming and filling in at (literally) the last minute.

      I appreciate all that you do and I’m glad you got your mojo back.

      Looking forward to see what you have in store for us…


  6. Really liking the customer centric versus revenue centric focus on events. Will be interested to hear the financial upside from this approach over the medium term. My gut tells me this approach will outperform a more revenue centric approach.

    1. Author


      So far, just over the past few days, overall sales are up.

      Whenever you are 100% customer-focused, it’s hard to lose.

      Rock ‘on

  7. You did a great job Ryan and we all had a great time.

    I think a large reason why is because you’re attracting the type of people with a similar outlook on business and life – both in the audience as well as from stage.

    Your whole team did a fantastic job and a big virtual high five to them as well!

    1. Author

      Thanks Stu – and I appreciate you coming out and rocking the stage again.

      You rock!

  8. Ryan the event was epic and the speakers were simply AMAZING! It was great to finally meet you in person and be able to learn so much from your extensive knowledge. It was a natural to get in on your FounderFly lifetime membership deal and I can’t wait to dig in and make it happen. Thanks again and looking forward to the next Ryan Lee Production!!!

    1. Author

      It was great to finally meet you to Seth.

      Thanks for bringing your energy to DCX and for getting behind FounderFly.


  9. hi Ryan,

    Great post! I can’t wait for the event info to come out as that is one thing I’m wanting to do! As far as what I would pay for the DVD’s of the DCX – I would pay around $200 for them myself. Keep up the great work!


  10. Ryan,
    this was the fourth event of yours that I’ve attended, and they get better every time. I’ve got pages of notes that I’m working through, and while I learned some great tactical ideas to implement, i think the greatest benefit were the speakers opening my mind to think differently. Noah Kagan, Marie Forleo, Dean Hunt, Derek Halpern really gave me new perspective that will transform my business going forward.

    I can’t thank you enough,

  11. Thanks for Quoting me Ryan, and I will say it again: This event was truly LIFE CHANGING!

    Since returning from DCX12 I have been in action like never before! DCX12 helped me lay out the steps I need to take to launch my internet based program, and the website will be up and offering quality content in just a few days.

    Before the event I felt as if the steps were still daunting, there were just too many things to do, but thanks to you and all of the presenters at DCX12 (Chris Farrell, Brian Edmondson, Andy Hussong, Kevin Rogers, Marie Forleo and Derek Halpern to name a few) I came home with a CLEAR GAME PLAN and the contacts to make it happen.

    And then you throw Daymond John, his book and the opportunity to meet him into the mix…as a BONUS??!!! All I can say is Thank You a Millions times and I hope…no, I know I will make you proud.

    You Rock!
    JoEllen Marks

  12. Ryan, Your event was the highlight of my year! The experiment paid off in my book and I’ve already told thousands of entrepreneurs in my newsletter! The β€˜no whining’ and pitch free atmosphere was hands down a 10 – way to go! As promised, I’m sending my video testimonial this morning, it’s actually rendering now!

    Rock on, Jim

    P.S. Meeting Daymond John was very cool, thanks!

  13. Awesome post with total transparency!!
    YOU know I am in for the DVD’s of the DCX – I would pay $200.00 USD

  14. Hey Ryan, I signed to DCX through Seth’s thread on Facebook and I know that whenever he promotes something, it has to be something with really high valuable and this was no exception.

    I’m just wondering on what plan to pay for but I’m definitely down for this.

    See you inside man thanks!


  15. Ryan,

    Nice post, I admire your willingness to try this.

    I’ve gone to two events, one was in 2005 which
    turned out to be a totaly rip off. Some readers
    may remember Joe(the wizard) Clayton!

    The other was in 2006 which was a total pitch fest.
    He will remain un-named because he no longer is doing

    I swore off events after that. I’ll watch for your next one. πŸ™‚

  16. R –

    I told you this, but will say it again….the pitch fests make me want to throw up and take a shower and then take another shower.

    And I’m saying that from BOTH perspective of attendee and speaker.

    As an attendee, I know I’d rather pay *more* to get a great experience, awesome content and not feel like it is all leading up to a high-pressure douche pitch.

    As a speaker, while I totally get the “pitch-from-the-stage” model, I never, ever, ever, ever liked doing it. I mean seriously, almost made me sick.

    I’d rather build up good will by giving an awesome presentation and bring in new fans as opposed to hit people over the head and I know you feel the same.



  17. The event was a lot of fun Ryan for sure and it was an honor to share the stage with you and so many other talented speakers as well (not to mention a hell of a lot of fun). I too received tons of great feedback about the event and especially the speaker lineup, so CONGRATULATIONS on a job well done man!

    I think the biggest salient point that soooo many people miss about these events is that it’s not about the money you make AT THE EVENT, but rather the relationships you form at the event, the friendships – those will lead to far more backend money over time than the short term mentality of just trying to “make sales”.

    Thanks a ton man…


  18. Ryan, This event was a game changer for me. The thing that amazed me the most, even more than the high quality of the speakers and their superb content was the atmosphere of openness and cooperation. There was such a willingness to share ideas. I met and talked to some of the speakers and many attendees. They all were there to learn and give. I was very impressed with how approachable and supportive these very successful people were. Your model has always been to give and the atmosphere at DCX reflected that.

    You and your events have helped me so much. I just wish there was something I could do to help you and return the favor.

    1. James,

      If you really want to support Ryan then send him some money. How much is an amazing game changer experience really worth? Well far more than your admission price. So whip out your check book, stop being stingy and give Ryan some serious money to show your genuine gratitude beyond mere nice words. He has a family to support! Do it now if you are authentic in your thanks.


  19. Amazing team of speakers and leaders to meet and greet at this event. I’m glad I could help in little ways and extremely grateful to have many new ideas and actions steps to move forward with now.

    A bunch of life champions all in one place makes for a memorable AND repeatable event.

    Thanks for all that you do!

    Till next time…Stay Golden πŸ™‚


  20. I’m truly sorry to have missed this. I’ve come to personally know many of the “gurus” of the IM industry, both great and gruesome. You are the most unique and ethical marketer I’ve found and I’ve yet to meet you!

    I spent years doing in-depth corporate and strategy consulting for very large to smaller companies. It I were still interested in doing that, I’d study your model and pass many of your concepts on to my clients as well as with my own business.

    I wish you continued success!

  21. Failure?? Ryan, how could anyone think of walking away with 6 figures after all expenses was a failure? Duh! I’d, and I know thousands of others, would love to fail like that on a regular basis…lol!

    Not only that, but just the inner satisfaction of helping others with pure content and direction that will put them on a path to success. Now all they have to to do is begin to implement what they were taught, right? Nuff said.


  22. hey Ryan, great to see you again! We didn’t get much chance to talk as I know you were super busy…just wanted to give you a quick update on my progress since we met at SAM and I’d taken your $1k per Day course…it’s amazing to say the least…I’ve already made over $20k and last year this time I didn’t even know what IM was. PLUS, first major launch of a $2k product coming out next month πŸ˜‰

    I’m sure we’ll catch up soon, looking forward to it.

  23. I’ll just say this: there’s a reason I’ve been to all your events since you moved back to CT (what is that now, 7, 8? 9?) Plus I’ve been to one of your private sessions in your office with only a small handful of folks which was also a great experience.

    For pricing, I’d say make it affordable to the masses and sell more and let people see what kind of event you put on…$100-$200 range. I’d also offer a big discount to those that were actually there and paid to attend – might encourage even more people to travel next time and make those that do travel feel good about buying the replays. Definitely would like to see the sessions that I missed.

  24. Hey Ryan!

    Thanks again for putting on such a great event! The content and atmosphere at DCX was truly amazing and I am sure that most of the attendees are looking forward to attending it again next year! (So hopefully you will seriously consider putting on at least one more live event) πŸ™‚

    You Rock!!

    Jit Uppal

  25. Ryan… thanks putting on another great event. It was an honor and pleasure to speak to such an amazing group of attendees.

    Pitch or no pitch, the opportunity to provide value and content to the people in that room makes all of the time and effort worthwhile!


  26. Even though I could not make it this time around…When I have been to events of this nature, the knowledge gained and applied by those in attendance starts to spread exponentially.

    The relationships that develop as well during these events is priceless.

  27. Congrats Ryan on your dotcomxpo success.

    While you were rockin’ it in Stamford, did you know that you brought down the nanacast server on that Saturday?

    Yup, you did. It happened on the Jason Fladlien and Wilson Mattos auction webinar. When your FounderFly membership came up, so many people went to purchase it that the nanacast server crashed!

    You rock in SO many ways!

  28. Ryan – really a great event my friend! I know all the work that goes into putting on live events and even when you have it down to a science like you do, it could potentially still be a huge waste of tons of time if the event doesn’t come off as planned.

    You rocked this one man! Great speakers, great attendees, great content, lots of options for different sessions to attend, etc… It was 100% worth the price of tuition and I’m really looking forward to next year already!

    Well done, and thanks for all you do Ryan!


  29. Hey Ryan!
    It was an awesome event – great speakers, kick’in content and incredible networking, thank you for taking the risk and putting this together!

    It was very cool being a speaker at one of your events for the first time. Some many people – so little time.

    Shout out to: Anh, Jim, Christine and all of the other great people I met πŸ™‚

    Awesome Ryan!

  30. Ryan,

    Thanks again. You over delivered once again. The speakers -excellent. The value of the event to me was a minimum of 10x… Frankly it has a higher value than 10x, I say 10x considering the factor of “action” and how much of what I learned I put into action (which has started, but remains to be seen). Extremely valuable as always, your team exemplary- super helpful. The hotel was excellent. Truly hope you continue to do these events.

    Chris Verrone

  31. Yo Ryan,

    This was the best event you have ever produced. The speakers were awesome, the people are fun and cool, and your staff is “on it”!

    As always, I learned a ton and started applying it “at the event”.

    It was nice not anticipating the “yes or yes” and seeing people sprint the the back of the room.

    – JSE

  32. Ryan,

    DCX was a killer event. I know this sounds cliche, but every event you put on is better than the last – you know you have an awesome event when you don’t know who’s speaking versus who’s just attending in the audience… high level stuff.

    Can’t wait to see what you do next!


  33. DCX was amazing! It was great to meet so many new people.. the spirit of the attendees was one of truly wanting to share and help others and see others be successful. The speakers hung out and attended sessions.. not something that always happens! And the best part.. no having to sit through any pictures of cars, vacations, and 30 minutes of … the value of this package is 30K but you can get it today only for $197!

    The interview with Daymond was much better than a typical keynote and part of the highlight of the event! That was a great idea to do in that format.

    Truly a success!


  34. Ryan,

    I have to agree with David Garland, 190% here. I have done pitched events that charge less up front and a couple things happen. You sometimes get people that have a bit of desperation and the environment preys on that. Pitched webinars also usually hold things back from the audience…sell the “Dream” more then anything else. Then you get people who will call their bank right after a pitched webinar to see if they can remortgage their house to pay for a 15k program.
    I have nothing against high end coaching programs at all. But it has to be for the right person. Someone who has the income or ability to pay it without having to starve their family.

    That is what i can sometimes feel about pitched events…they can prey on a certain type of person that can come in to afford my inexpensive events.

    I think by charging 1k and giving away a ton, you get the caliber of crowd you want, they aren’t pissed at you for stealing their home and you walk away feeling absolutely great with an established relationship in tacked.

    Ryan you rock.


  35. Ryan, I forgot to fill out the survey, but since this my third event / Ryan Lee productions, that tells you all you need to know…….I never ask for seconds if the first taste is rotten…..

    The 3 days went by in a flash, and that tells everyone who needs to know , that you were clicking on all cylinders……

    What i would back next year is an expanded meet and great tag line, where we all get the chance to talk to people that we might have been bashful in saying hello to……Personally i was looking forward to this……

    BTW, great birthday bash….Larry

  36. Pingback: 10 Steps to Success System – Step 1: Site Reviews « Professional Coaching and Business Consulting | Nicole Munoz

  37. If the 30+ hours are really step by step instructions on how to slam dunk important aspects or strategies in business, with principles applicable across multiple business models, and you can prove it in the sales copy…I’d pay $1000 for the package.

  38. Hello Ryan I am a brand new Lifetime Founder Fly member thanks to Seth Larrabee introducing me to you via his Facebook as noted in your post above. Curious these videos you speak of the DotComExpo will the be available to us over at Founder Fly? Also I left a message in the forum I can seem to locate the Video Vault. Look forward to learning from you and maybe soon meeting you in person. Thanks in advance for your response!

    George Marsh
    Williamsburg, Virginia

  39. I just got through the “Ryan Lee Method” but looking forward to getting my hands on the videos from this amazing event. Hopefully I can get over to the US to be involved next year if you run it again.

Leave a Comment