Fronteers 2008 - the doing and dusting
Wow, it’s over. I created a first class web conference. Of course I borrowed heavily from the @media plan, which I now thorougly understand after five visits. But still, I’m happy — and exhausted.
Some random impressions:
- We were lucky with the weather. We needed sunshine (or at least no rain) on Wednesday and especially on Thursday, but Friday didn’t matter. Thursday evening (party time) featured excellent weather, although Friday’s was more Seattle-like (as an inhabitant of those parts confided).
- Speakers are clueless, drunk or hung over, haven’t read your important organisational mails, and as a consequence have no idea when their sessions are, or where. They tend to follow the beer around, though, so next year I’ll leave a beer trail between the hotel and the venue.
- On the other hand, when they go on stage they’re on time, give excellent presentations, are funny and inspiring, and know exactly what they’re doing.
- It evens out in the long run.
- Certain speakers hold sessions even in the middle of what’s supposed to be other speakers’ Q&A time.
- Stephen Hay and Tom Occhino are totally ready for main track sessions at any web dev conference. Organisers, jot down these names!
- The worst, absolutely the worst, problem I encountered during the conference was having to order 20 additional lunches on day 1.
- The people from the venue set up everything wrong, but I’d expected that and dealt with it promptly. So it doesn’t count as a problem. But it remains a pity that such an excellent venue has such a shitty "commercial" staff.
- Speakers’ dinners on boats are fun. They’re even better when speakers don’t read their mails and are pleasantly surprised by having speakers’ dinner on a boat.
- There was no music at the party. Nobody noticed.
- Wifi worked (thanks to Wilfred Nas). Everybody noticed.
- One of the things that didn’t go perfectly was getting people to ask questions. We used fixed cord microphones the first day, but few people (except for certain speakers) used them. The second day I tried to switch to a runner system with cordless microphones such as @media uses, but that worked only in part, mainly because I gave out too few microphones and too vague instructions. But I now know how to implement a proper runner system.
- Behind the curtains, Krijn Hoetmer did an amazing amount of work as webmaster/treasurer. He doesn’t like attention coming his way, but I claim organiser’s privilege and ignore him.
So meet Krijn. He’s amazing. He’s also a freelancer.
- Many thanks to the volunteers:
Hidde de Vries, and
- Extra many thanks to Robert Gaal, whose work as Master of Ceremonies at the main track took a LOT of weight from my shoulders.
- Some sponsors understand what they can do at an event like this, and actually organise something. Others promise to organise something and then don’t. But that’s not my problem.
- Oh, and the main sessions on Day 2 were taped, as was one panel. Once they appear online I'll let you know.
This is the blog of Peter-Paul Koch, mobile platform strategist, consultant, and trainer.
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