The Dad 2.0 Conference was held recently held in Houston, with great success and a 25% increase in attendance, according to conference organizer and cofounder Doug French (best known as Laid Off Dad).
The conference sought to be “an open conversation about the commercial power of dads online” and according to the New York Times, it succeeded. One of the biggest complaints that dads who blog discuss frequently is the way dads are portrayed as bumbling parenting fools. From the Times:
One of the biggest laments among bloggers at this year’s Dad 2.0 Summit was that many marketers continued to portray fathers as babbling buffoons who need constant supervision. “Dads are seen as heroes as long as their kids don’t drown in the swimming pool,” says Mr. French, who has a blog called Laid-Off Dad.
I checked in with Doug French to see what he thought about this year’s conference. Here’s what he had to say.
Congratulations on a successful second conference! Why do you think it was such a big hit this year?
Thanks! We have a lot to be thankful for this year. For one, this was our second conference, and this year we were able to schedule the event at our own discretion and attract speakers and attendees independently (as opposed to Dad 2.012, when we overlapped with South by Southwest). We also tried a few new programming ideas that were received well, and our sponsors (including our Title Sponsor, Dove Men+Care) took really good care of us.
What was your favorite thing about Dad 2.0 this year? What was your least favorite thing?
The theme of the conference was Elevated Expectations, and I feel like we met them. We grew by almost 25%, and many attendees were new faces, many of whom weren’t even blogging a year ago. It’s kind of great to see so many interested new dads who will never know fatherhood without dad blogs.
My least favorite is always the same. I work to help build the kind of conference I want to attend, and then I’m too busy to attend it.
The NYTimes covered the conference pretty fairly. How did you like the article? Do you feel like they got it right?
Since I’m immersed in Dad 2.0 from the ground up, I enjoyed reading about it from a more remote perspective. I think Hannah Seligson did a terrific job, which is important when an article like this brings the message to so many people who hadn’t heard of us.
What do you feel is the biggest difference between Dad 2.0 and the conferences that primarily focus on mothers? I read a blog post where one dad said blogging didn’t even come up that much. Do you agree that the discussions are different?
The only difference I see derives from the maturity of the group. Moms are established and powerful, but a lot of new dads are just figuring out that our tribe exists. We’re lucky in that way; because moms blazed the way to create relationships with brands, we get to work with a lot of people who already understand that there is no such thing anymore as “traditional media.”
There was also a lot less obsession over shoes.