Simon Willison’s Weblog


How does Lanyrd compare to Plancast?

3rd October 2010

My answer to How does Lanyrd compare to Plancast? on Quora

Plancast is a general purpose event site. They handle concerts, birthday parties, gigs, conferences and so on. They allow you to sign in with Twitter or Facebook, and make use of your social graph from both.

Lanyrd is focused exclusively on conferences and knowledge sharing events—basically anything with at least one speaker. We currently only support Twitter for authentication, for reasons described below.

When you sign in to Lanyrd with Twitter, we pull the list of people you follow on Twitter and show you a calendar of events they are attending, speaking at, organising or tracking.

We’ve been live for just over a month, but we already have over 2,500 conferences listed—of which 970 are happening in the future.

One of the key features of Lanyrd is that anyone can edit an event (wikipedia style), and that includes adding the list of speakers for that event. Since we currently use Twitter as our identity platform, any speaker who has a Twitter account can be added to an event on Lanyrd. This means people can end up with a Lanyrd profile page without ever signing in to the site themselves. Note that we only do this for people speaking at conferences, since the information that e.g. “timoreilly is speaking at Web 2.0 Expo” is public knowledge. We won’t be extending this feature to allow other people to report you as an attendee.

This feature (adding speakers to events) has one huge benefit: if you are following a popular speaker (and the best speakers often have thousands of followers), when you sign in to Lanyrd for the first time we can instantly show you conferences that the people you follow on Twitter are speaking at.

We’re a very young site, but we have a lot of additional features planned. Our focus is on adding value before, during and after a conference. Before the conference we’ll help you find events to attend (we do this pretty well already). During the conference we plan to help capture and navigate the coverage of the event on Twitter, as it happens. After the event we will collect sessions, slides, write-ups, videos and podcasts relating to that event.

We’re also very keen on helping people build up a speaker profile page showing all of the events they have spoken at and the talks they have given. To my observation, most speakers never get around to doing this on their own personal sites. Here’s my profile page, for example: