We did it – 350+ happy web people enjoying a day together, talking about the things they are passionate about. I’m sure it was mostly not about “web”, but it was as good excuse as any to get together. It took about 25 people in the end to make it happen and I’m thankful to all that made it possible. Thank you!
Despite being our ~6th event with 100+ participants, I still learned a lot of important lessons.
Lesson: Make (transparent) plans and document things
Helmuth von Moltke the Elder said: “no plan survives contact with the enemy*”. I never understood it, until we made plans and then we tried to execute them and things changed. But just going through the motions of making a plan was useful.
Having a shared Google Drive folder helped. A set of documents, expectations and timelines allowed us to synchronise our expectations.
It’s also important that you make an archive of data available to others as team members change between events. It’s no fun if you have to ask people to dig through their archive of 1 year+ old emails.
Lesson: Effort is diamond shaped
If you look at amount of work required, you start with a small core, grow it and then wind down, after the event.
This has implications for staff meetings and timelines. You don’t have to have meetings of everyone, feel free to just email updates to people that will help you later.
Lesson: Involve external groups
Conferences usually consist of presentations with many side activities. This allows you bring more interesting people to event and to hand them over certain level of autonomy in planing them. Less work for core team with a better end result.
It’s a weird sport – a couple of months of work for a single day event, but it ends up being a really good party.
*(“Moltke’s main thesis was that military strategy had to be understood as a system of options since only the beginning of a military operation was plannable.”).