What’s the ROI of TADS?

RIO of TADSA common question I’m asked about TADHack and TADSummit is, “What’s the ROI of TADS?” Return on Investment. In other words, how many relevant leads, which we can convert into sales, will TADS deliver.

My response if always the same. There is no ROI for TADS, measured in those terms. I’ve had people close down the conversation at that point, its their loss, let me explain through this article. In reality there are a few leads, and businesses have been founded out of hacks, but if leads is the main focus of the investment, TADS will not deliver. So why have people been sponsoring TADS for 6 years?

Taking a recent example of TADHack-mini Orlando 2017. Cisco had a nice story, https://www.nojitter.com/post/240173270/tadhackmini-means-business, where Garanti Bank took the hack they built on Cisco Spark and implemented it across their business on Jabber. At TADSummit Utku from Garanti shared his experiences in moving from hack to implementation. Garanti Bank are sending 2 people from Turkey to TADHack-mini Orlando this year. RingCentral had a nice story with Medtronic (Justin Haefner) showing how their platform can solve personal problems with his hack Elder Connected Care, helping them open up a deeper relationship with a new account. BTW, Justin is running a session at Enterprise Connect 2018 on DIY APIs, on Tuesday March 13 at 1:30 pm. I strongly recommend you attend if you’re at EC18. But did either of these two stories directly result in additional sales? No, at least not as far as I’m aware.

At TADHack its not only about enterprises hacking in programmable telecoms, though having Garanti Bank, Medtronic, Disney, and many more enterprises involved is nice; our focus is diversity in attendance as that directly correlates to quality. And we have more enterprise attendance than many hackathons. What TADHack delivers is compelling original content to inspire people to use your APIs. What makes it compelling is its independent, its not wheeling in a customer to say you’re great. Its having someone who didn’t even know you existed 24 hours before solve a problem that matters to them using your platform. These are real human stories, some do directly generate demand, businesses have been created out of TADHack, but most do not. The 300k+ minutes of viewing of the TADS videos, the tens of thousands of users per month across the TADS websites show we’re meeting a need, albeit a geeky niche.

Take a look at Netflix, they are going to spend $8B on original content this year, why? Because that grabs people’s attention, not rerun slideware on why your APIs are great. TADHack delivers tens, hundreds of inspiring stories over 24 hours with pain, suffering, heartache, success, and despair. If you’ve just watched Altered Carbon on Netflix, TADHack delivers something similar, though nowhere near as cool, compelling original content in programmable telecoms. If you’ve not watched Altered Carbon and love Scifi, you must watch.

I’m frank with anyone who asks about the ROI of TADS in terms of leads. There is none, well as mentioned its not the way to evaluate TADS. Its an investment in brand awareness; being innovative and supportive to tens of thousands of people interested in programmable telecoms around the world; to walk the talk on APIs; to contribute to a tide that raises all boats in programmable telecoms. And most importantly creating compelling original content that engages people to pay attention to you, not someone else.

Building an engaged audience is tough, repeating buzz words and acquiring followers does not deliver an engaged audience, it requires compelling original content, and that’s what TADS uniquely delivers.