Category Archives: Work

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Event Consulting

I just wrapped up RWDevCon, which by all measures was a huge success. Kudos to Ray Wenderlich and his amazing team.

I handled logistics, and Ray’s team put together an amazing two days of tutorial based content.

For my part, things went well I think. Nothing too crazy came up with the hotel, the other group didn’t interfere with us at all. We didn’t run out of food, or have a projector crap out :) All win’s

This was my first “conference consulting” gig. I really enjoyed it and think I gave great value to the client (Ray).

I’m really excited to help make other events in the community awesome!

Also, I’m happy to announce that I’ve joined the AltConf 2015 team, so that’s gonna rock! I’ve sponsored, and volunteered in the past and this year I get to have a more direct role, which I love.

See you at AltConf! Or any of my 360|Conferences events; 360|intersect, 360|iDev or [360|iDev min] :)

 

Events are easy

until they’re not.

They’re easy when it’s someone elses money you’re working with, or when there’s no real money on the line to begin with. Or when your name and reputation aren’t attached to it.

They’re very much not easy when it’s your money and/or reputation on the line.

Last Friday afternoon i made one of the hardest business decisions I’ve ever had to make, whether to cancel an event.

I cancelled the event. 360|intersect 2014, that was to take place in Seattle next week, isn’t happening. Ticket sales were way too low. I had kept hoping the flood gates would open in the last two weeks, as often is the case with events, but finally had to admit defeat, no one was coming. Well not no one, but not enough, by a long shot.

I’ve never had to cancel an event before, I’ve been in spots where i probably should have, but didn’t. This was the first time i made the call. I spent the weekend calling the speakers and talking to them about it, thankfully each one has been awesome and supportive of the decision.

Today I’ve been emailing sponsors, the venue, the hotel, refunding attendees, etc. Working out the details of unwinding an event.

I’m losing money, but I’m losing less than had i gone through with it, in terms of money but also my reputation and the reputation of the event.

 

Events are easy, except when they’re not.

Why 360|intersect means so much to me.

tl;dr;
Buy a ticket to 360|intersect, thank me afterward. Hate it, I’ll give you your ticket fee back.

But really, read this.

I created 360|intersect last year, after 3 years of it sitting in my brain, waiting to hatch. The seed was planted by Doug McCune, in 2010 at 360|Flex DC. One of our worst performing 360|Flex events.
Doug gave a talk about “taking the Tangent” (The link is to a recording of the talk, watch it now and come back, or save for later, but watch it).

That talk really stuck with me, like i said, it was the seed.

Since that talk, I’ve made sure every event after it no matter the audience, had at least one or two talks that stoked the fires of inspiration and creativity.

Last year, in talking to Ben Reubenstein and Brent Simmons at very different times they both suggested something like 360|intersect. I mentioned Doug’s talk, and similar ones, and both agreed it sounded like something that should exist.

So I did it. I hand picked people from all the spaces of tech i knew (Flex, Mobile, web, business, and more) and invited them to Seattle to share their stories. You can see the recordings here.

It wasn’t a large event. It wasn’t supposed to be, i wanted it small, exlusive, cozy. I didn’t want a TED or TEDx sized monster. I wanted something approachable, where speakers left the stage, and took a seat in the audience, where everyone could fit on a single duck.

From what I can tell, everyone loved it.

From the moment we wrapped up 360|intersect 2013, i was thinking about 2014. Who to invite? Who to ask for recomendations?

I think this years line up is every bit as awesome as last. In fact maybe more so, because there’s a few people in the line up that are recommendations from people i admire. The speaker line up has grown beyond my meager circle of friends. WIN.

360|intersect, isn’t a technical conference, it’s an inspirational one. Hell it’s not even a conference, it’s an ‘event’. Everyone there wants to learn and grow, whether speaking or sitting in the audience.

TEDx type events are great, and the ideas spread are amazing, but they’re not approachable, and they’re not exclusive. I look back at 360|intersect, at the Millennial Media Jones soda contest, at the duck tour, at hearing people i know and admire for their technical expertise talking about running, race care driving, magic, hiking, and more, and i can’t help but smile.

I’ve watched and re-watched last years recordings, because when i need a kick in the pants to write, or be more involved in Denver and get outside my shell, they do the trick.

Go get a ticket, you’ll thank me, and if you hate it, well you had a nice few days in Seattle, and I’ll give you your ticket fee back.

I don’t want to see 360|intersect go away. I believe in it’s value to people. I believe it can have a positive impact on people’s lives. Marketing something like this is hard, really hard. I don’t have crazy TED money, or crazy TED name recognition. I have me, this blog and twitter.

Can’t make it, want to help me out? Share this. Share a link, it all helps. If i had a passion project within 360|Conferences, this is it.

That’s a lot of session recordings

So, around the middle of the year, or so I decided to put conference session recordings on Vimeo. Up until then I’d been keeping them on Amazon and selling them through Fastspring, occasionally making one free on the conference website. I decided after 360|intersect 2013 that I wanted to simply make the session recordings free. Selling them wasn’t bringing in gobs of money so I wasn’t losing much revenue by going free, but I was keeping the number of people who saw the videos low, and I think it’s just better for the community and the conferences to share such awesome content with anyone that wants it.

This data is as of 12/6 but i think I was right in my decision.

Screenshot 2013-12-06 15.41.37

 

That’s for less than 70 (69 to be precise) videos across 3 events.

The geographic distribution isn’t too bad either.

Screenshot 2013-12-06 15.44.40

 

I’m really happy with this data, I think it shows that the conferences make for great content that people enjoy watching. Monetizing is of course important and it’s tough to link a video play to a conference ticket purchase, but web traffic is definitely increased, so anecdotally it’s positive. More visitors, should equal more ticket sales. I hope to be able to drill down into more data and create a stronger link.

I’m always working to increase and improve the data I can collect and analyze to help me make decisions, but if nothing else, these numbers make me smile that content I helped bring into the world is being enjoyed by folks. (and liked by a whole 113 people!)

I can’t wait to add 2014’s conference recordings!

Do you need to organize a Hackathon?

Some companies can rock their own hackathons! Developer evangelists do a good job with hackathons, but not all companies have developer evangelists, and not all developer evangelists can or want to organize events. That’s where I’d like to come in. I love organizing events, turns out I’m not half bad at it either. Have you been thinking about introducing your API or platform to developers and designers? Maybe you’ve got new things to show your existing communities, hackathons are great ways to galvanize community around what you offer. Generate awesome new ideas or companies (Startup weekend style) as well as find awesome new talent.

 

So there it is, you’re looking to do a hackathon and need some help actually doing it, Ping me. I’d love to talk to you about it. I wrote up some thoughts on what I can offer on the company page

 

 

Two things I’m very proud of

The other day I had the opportunity to take part in something super awesome. I’m almost embarrassed it took me this long to get involved.

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House of Genius, is to be blunt, awesome. I had the opportunity to present at the last gathering/meeting/whatever it’s called. I like Assemblage of awesome myself.

Anyhow, the basic idea is a small group of people, all anonymous beyond just a first name. Those selected to present their idea have 5 minutes to present it. There’s some Q&A, then some “Sit and listen to what we say without responding” and at the end of the presentations, (usually only 2-3 I think) there’s the “reveal” where everyone introduces themselves; who they are, what they do, etc.

It’s really awesome. I presented something I’m working on and got tons of feedback and introductions. It was very valuable. If they’ll have me, I’ll be happy to be back, it was that awesome of an experience.

 

vis_1The other thing I’m currently really proud of is 360|intersect. It’s an event I’m organizing that’s 100% different than I’ve ever done before. It’s not a technical event, not a hackathon, or summit. They easiest way to describe it, is TED minus the Douche baggery. It’s a group of awesome speakers, from across the events I’ve done and beyond, talking about what they’re passionate about, what makes them awesome technologists.

It’s coming up the end of this month, if you’re in Seattle or just want to spend a weekend being inspired, riding WWII Amphibious vehicles and nerding out with folks from all different technical circles, use “johnsblog” to save 20% when you register.

I can’t wait. Seattle is awesome in the spring, I’ve got lots of friends there, and we’ll be right downtown at an awesome venue, nerding out indoors and out.

 

Hope you can make it! It’s gonna be fun.

Denver Startup Week 2013

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It’s Back! If you missed last years Startup week, make sure you’re paying attention this year!

It’s gonna be bigger and better (My Prediction).

I’m really excited about it, and hope to be even more involved than I was last year. I really want Denver to be a big player in the startup space. At least personally I want to help get boot strapped startups more love. I know VC makes the world go ’round, but think it’s important, especially in a city like Denver, that we make sure to highlight and give love to the boot strappers out there (of which I’m one).

You can sign up to be on the mailing list right now. Organization is just starting so if you’re interested in helping out or being involved in some way, get on the mailing list.