The question everyone had for us RedMonkers last night at dinner, and the RedMonk sponsored House of Shields outing that followed, was simple: “How’d it go?” The ‘it’ being our initial foray into the world of conferences with the RedMonk track at yesterday’s very successful (3K attendees + first time event = I’m impressed) CommunityOne.
What if I told you that a.) our t-shirts were somehow lost in transit, b.) our venue was right next to the general session room so we were periodically drowned out by thunderous easy listening tracks, c.) the schedule building application used by the conference organizers informed everyone (including the AV folks manning the room) that our track was an hour long, not the full day we had planned? Would you expect it to be a.) a success, b.) a failure, or c.) an unmitigated disaster?
I’m delighted to report that in spite of the various setbacks, RedMonkOne – from our perspective – was a tremendous success. From the content perspective, we had a startling variety of topics to pick from – all of which, importantly, were organized and led by someone from the audience. Not us. I’d assumed that even with a limited number of sessions slots available, we’d have to fill in a gap somewhere and facilitate our own session. Not so; the attendees did a fabulous job of organizing, facilitating and leading sessions that us monks merely participated in. We had panels, we had discussions, we had product demos, we had presentations. Phenomenal.
And speaking of attendees, the numbers weren’t stellar, but were far from awful. We’d gotten word last week that registration for our track was abysmal, and we frankly didn’t know quite what to expect yesterday morning. My worst case predictions were not good. What we got was an audience of 35 or 40 people that showed up, didn’t leave, and engaged. For seven hours. While we very likely could have improved significantly on those numbers if the schedule hadn’t informed would-be attendees that if they missed the first hour they missed the show, I couldn’t be happier with the audience we had.
From our side, there are a bunch of takeaways – not least of which was Simon’s suggestion that we provide more up front guidance as to what’s to be covered – but overall I think it came off successfully. Even if we do suck 😉
There are too many folks to thank individually, but I want to say that I very sincerely appreciate the time that all of our attendees took to be there. And while we obviously appreciate the kind words and emails we received subsequent to the conference, the thanks are misplaced: the success of the day doesn’t belong to RedMonk, but to the folks that made the event a success. The attendees succeeded in making the event a success, against heavy odds (particularly the music, that was a killer).
What a great start to the week.
P.S. Almost forgot: attendees, mail us your address and you’ll get your shirt. Provided that we eventually find them.