Event Camp Silicon Valley Pod Discussion – Show 183

The event campers: Mike, Elizabeth, Jon and QuAn discuss their experiences as a remote pod of the Event Camp Twin Cities meeting.

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  1. says

    Funny how we took some of these things differently! I loved the experimental nature of it, even when things went wrong, and applaud the companies that were wiling to go out on a limb. Before implementing some of this stuff, I learned from watching ECTC11 to test, test, test, test any technology before going live with it. But even then, stuff happens, whether it’s a video feed or an overhead projector, stuff always happens. Key is to be able to keep things moving when they do hit the fan.

    Totally agree that it was confusing and a bit of an overload, especially at first. But all that confusion and overload actually worked for me. I was like a lab rat running from place to place trying to earn some cheese–totally addicted to jumping from challenge to badge to Twitter feed to my team’s Twitter feed to actual sessions. Though for all that activity, I’m not sure how much I actually learned. Hmm.

    I wanted to check out (virtually, alas) the Silicon Valley EventCamp the day before, but I just couldn’t take that much time out of last week. Maybe if you had spaced it a little differently, it would have drawn more virtual folks, anyway. The timing made sense for locals, of course.

    Thanks for sharing the pod experience. I think my experience (and my expectations) probably would have been different if I had been in a pod instead of sitting in my office with just my dog for company.

    • says

      First thanks for listening. Glad you had a good experience on your end. I also enjoy an experimental nature of EventCamp and that is why I started it with Jeff, Christina, Mike and Jessica. Sadly, this eventprofs crowd can be very enthusiastic and equally brutal. But it is a learning experience for all involved each time. I learned a ton from putting together EventCamp Silicon Valley, much I would like to forget. Again, in the same way I appreciate all the work Sam, Ray and gang put into having another EC Twin Cities. Next time I will either go to the event or experience it with my dogs as you did. I think my EventCamp producing days are over. Thanks for the comment.


  2. says

    FYI…EventCamp East Coast (Philly last year and DC this year…November 4-6…www.eventcampeastcoast.com) are true unconferences/bar camps. All attendees decide on the session topics at the event.

    As the Philly Pod leader I completely agree about the game confusion. We spent most of our time trying to figure out what to do with the game that we didn’t have time to actually play it. There was no one we could ask questions of because Emilie didn’t have access to the speakers while they were on stage or in the main room. We found that the game was taking away not only from our time to socialize and network and reflect on what we were experiencing. It was also taking us away from the “virtual” experience with Emilie and her speaker interviews. On day two we just bailed on it because we could see no value or make any connections to any learning experience. Without access to the game designer to ask questions, your virtual pod host should have instructions given days in advance so we know how to access and understand the point of the challenge. Also, take into consideration the fact the pod is 40-60 seconds behind when you give a three minute challenge.

    Our POD was very disappointed in the fact that we didn’t get skyped in at any time. I also put a lot of time into planning this and Jeff Halligan from Dyventive put in time and donated their expertise and equipment (camera, laptops, screens, etc.) but they were never put to use other than us waving at the camera. However our participants did each pay $50 to attend to cover basic costs for the event. The common sentiment even on the first day was that we were abandoned. We ended up being 12 people in a room watching TV.

    We definitely learned a lot from this and I do hope the organizers are willing to listen to our feedback (without malice) to learn from the experience.

    • says

      Thanks Tracie for listening. I forgot about the Philly Eventcamp and I thought it was done in the Adrian Segar Conferences that Work fashion. I do think we should have more unconferences. The first year we did this and did not have many signups at all. (In fact I think Adrian was one of the only ones who did) So many Industry events now cover what we started to cover at the first EventCamp so having an unconference might be the the way to go. I had one of the speakers at EventCamp Silicon Valley bow out because he thought it was an unconference type of an event and when he found out it was a traditional one he dropped out. In hindsight, I should have listened to him.
      I woke up at 5am the first day to make sure all our setup was ready for the attendees to interact with EC TwinCities. Made several trips to Fry’s, beg borrowed and stole to have everything ready. Many of our attendees/sponsors left because they said it was like watching television. I was so frustrated that day. I slept the night and decided to come in at 8am instead of earlier and try to enjoy the next day without frustration. I did this by talking with my fellow attendees laughing and looking at other technologies. One of the Pod attendees Quan showed us Google hangout and she invited the rest of the group to join up. I found the POD comrade we had together was the most beneficial thing I got out of EventCamp TwinCities.
      I wont go into what I/we ended up spending on this whole thing….. but as they said. “We make the mistakes so you don’t have to”

      Thanks for the comment


  3. says

    Hi guys, listened to the podcast, and can’t say as I disagree with much of your analysis. I would urge some caution when it comes to the sponsors, and I’ve written up a post on the subject: http://wp.me/pSVmS-66

    As I say in the article it makes me sick to think that any of the sponsors names might be tarnished by the experience. I can’t remember if it was Mike or John (I was listening at 250% speed) but you guys even touched on this. “Who wants to hire a production company from an event that had issues?” and “I run a production company and I would have fixed it” (paraphrasing). Yeesh. So now what are we supposed to do? We supported this event because we want to support cutting edge meeting production. We performed IMHO amazingly well, and the guys pulled stuff out of you know where that they didn’t even know they could do. We fixed what we could fix, and you can testify that in the end I made a solution that would have worked on a pod by pod basis, only to run out of time (we had a hard out at 2pm and struck that biznatch in an about an hour). I’m not looking for a pat on the back, I’m just trying to be clear from my perspective.

    The guys tried a lot of things, and an unfortunate amount of them went south. It could have just as easily gone the other way and I could be kicking myself right now for not getting our name out more, but it didn’t. Now all we can do as sponsors is hope that the positive outweighs the negative.

    As for malice, you’ll get none from me. And if it’s something I can take away and make better in the future, you can be damn sure I will. BTW in my original draft for that post I digressed into the Philly Pod and the Silicon Valley Pod in a cage match. Ready? FIGHT!!

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