Tag Archives: 360Flex

2014 in review.

I know, everyone does one, blah blah. This is mine. Read it or don’t :) But I think 2014 was a pretty big year personally and professionally. It saw me recover from a massive blunder in 2013 to the tune of about $80k. It saw me cancel my first event, and sign on to do event consulting on an event I’m excited about. It also saw lots of travel, and bonding with friends near and far.

Things that happened in 2014:

  • Once again helped organize Denver Startup Week
  • Helped organize and run GoCode CO 2014
  • Cancelled 360|intersect 2014
  • Recovered from 360|Stack 2013
  • Held what’s likely the last 360|Flex
  • Helped organize AltConf 2014
  • Brought 360|iDev back to downtown Denver. Sold out a month in advance
  • Held a successful and the first of many [360|iDev min] in beautiful Greenville SC.
  • Spent 10 days in Hong Kong with my Pal Tom.
  • Spent a week in Amsterdam with my amazing wife and friends (Mike, Judy and Samuel)
  • Took on my first event consulting gig
  • I found awesome people to take on Ignite Denver

All in all not a bad year, some ups, some downs.

Denver Startup Week, as always was a great pleasure to help organize. It’s a week long celebration of the entrepreneurial side of Denver, that’s growing each year. It’s an exciting time to be in Denver, and I’m thrilled and thankful to be a part of such an amazing community and City.

GoCode CO is the first of it’s kind, multi city, multi month civic hackathon. Organized by the CO Secretary of State, it was a big pleasure to be asked to be a part of the team that executed this event. On top of being involved in all the primary events I was part of the team that ran the Fort Collins hack weekend. It was great, I worked with a member of the Sec. State and got to spend a weekend in the basement of OtterBox. GoCode is back in 2015, and I’m pretty sure I’ll be involved. Oh and the winning team? From Ft. Collins… not that I had anything to do with it, but since I was on team FoCo, i get bragging rights :)

360|intersect 2014, was the biggest fail of my professional life. I had a line up of amazing people (some I knew, some I hadn’t yet met in person) ready to share their passions, but I couldn’t get people interested. Several things worked against me, so I learned and am excited for 360|intersect 2015.

360|Stack 2013 was a dud. It was 2013’s big fail. I didn’t make it clear what it was about, I moved my focus from Flex too soon, and as a result an event I had planned for hosting about 300, hosted 100 (40 of which where speakers). I started 2014, owing 80k to the hotel we hosted 360|Stack at. Not a great way to start the year. I also learned that community doesn’t always support.

360|Flex 2014, was not an experiment, but was exploratory. Was there enough interest in what was left of the Flex community to do a Flex focused event. While it didn’t lose money, it didn’t make any, and while my heart is with the first event I ever organized, and what was the flagship of 360|Conferences, i decided that 2014 was probably it for 360|Flex. We brought it back for a last hurrah and everyone enjoyed it, but I think that’s it.

AltConf 2014 is something I love. In 2013 I sponsored with money. In 2014 lacking much spendable cash, I sponsored with my time. I volunteered the entire week; helping set up, being the safety monitor, and generally making myself useful. AltConf started (IMO) as a thing that existed along with WWDC. Something you could come to if you didn’t have a WWDC ticket (or if you did) but wanted to be in San Francisco that week. AltConf is now it’s own thing, the team behind it has worked hard to bring in amazing speakers, and provide an amazing (free) event for folks and really while it still happens during WWDC week, that’s more of an “oh yeah WWDC is this week too”. I go to SF that week now, to be a part of AltConf.

360|iDev 2014 in Downtown Denver. This was a big deal. It’s not that we didn’t like downtown it’s that downtown is expensive. We had used the same venue that while great, wasn’t downtown, for a few years. The time came to make a change. Almost a leap of faith, would enough people come, to justify the much higher costs associated with being downtown? Turns out, yes. 360|iDev sold out a full month in advance. We’ve sold out the last 3-4 years, but usually only a week before, sometimes only a day or two before. This year we spent the last 30 days focused on making the event great, vs. selling tickets. It was a bit freeing.

[360|iDev min] have been a mixed bag for us. We went to Vegas a few years back, it was meh. Nothing specific was wrong, just not the place for us. This year we tried going someplace we’d never been. Greenville SC. It was great. We had an amazing line up of people who spoke at 360|iDev in Denver and folks who hadn’t so the content was fresh and meaningful. It went great. So great we’re working on the 2015 version. It’ll be better than 2014! Stay tuned!

Hong Kong is a long ass flight from Denver. That said the trip was worth all nearly 30 hours of travel. What an amazing place. You can read about my trip here, but suffice to say for this post, it was time/money well spent. Tom is one of my best friends and it was a great chance for us to re-connect and hang out.

Amsterdam is one of my favorite places. Helped by the fact that three people I adore live there. Nicole and I spent my birthday in Amsterdam. The upside of going in February, no tourists. It was amazing and not crowded with americans :). The downside, it’s cold. it’s winter, LOL. Sadly all we got was rain, no snow. It was worth packing the extra layers though. Any opportunity to hang out with Mike and Judy and Samuel I’ll take. Spending 10 days in a foreign place with my awesome traveling companion and wife Nicole was also pretty great. I can’t imagine us not traveling together.

RWDevCon is my first time doing event consulting. It’s gonna be a great event, i’d say grab a ticket, but it sold out already. Ray and the raywenderlich.com team are great, the content he’s got planned is amazing. I’m excited to run this event!

I started Ignite Denver in like… 2009? I honestly don’t know, we’ve done some 20 events so far. Ignite Denver was the first Ignite event in Colorado, and up until this year I’ve been the head of the organizing team (sometimes that team was just me and Nicole). I’m super stoked that folks like Terry Cabeen, Dan Stones et. al. are involved and want to take Ignite Denver to the next level. I’m excited to attend Ignite Denver and not be the sole driving force behind it continuing. I’m immensely proud of Ignite and the stuff we’ve done, it’s only gonna be more awesome in 2015.

All in all, a busy year. Not without it’s challenges, but a good year. I hope yours was good, or at least didn’t suck too bad. I’m excited for what 2015 has in store for us all. See you there!

Free isn’t Free

There’s a popular saying, “When something is free, you’re the product.” That’s always true, maybe you being the product is as innocuous as hearing a short speech to welcome you to a meetup, maybe it’s getting some logo emblazoned swag, maybe it’s being signed up for a mailing list, or having your facebook details used as demographic data. Whatever the case may be, if you’re not paying for something, you’re the product, and that’s not always bad, but something to remember.

Another type of “Free isn’t Free” is when you don’t support something, but expect the by product to be available, i know that reads weird, here’s an example.

I’m doing an event, for a relatively small dev community. It used to be huge, and my biggest event, but has since become a bit more niche, by no means small like hundreds of people, it’s still in the thousands or so I’d guess worldwide. I decided to do a smaller scale version of my regular event. On one of the lists i’m promoting it on i got this question, “Will the session recordings be available afterward”

Which raised an interesting point, sure they will, if the event happens. Somebody has to support the things that are free. If no one buys a ticket to an event, the recordings won’t exist to be free.

It’s easy to lose sight of this kind of thing, and just assume “Someone is paying” and to sit and wait for the benefits to show up. Free isn’t free. There’s always a reason you can’t support something, and that’s fine, but I think if more people kept this in mind, we’d all be better off.

 

This has been in “draft” status long enough that the event took place, the session recordings are free, and released. I hope the asker of the above question enjoys.

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!

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.

HouseOfGeniusLogo-smaller

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.

My First Barcamp

So I’ve been making noise on the 360|Stack twitter account and wanted to mention here too. Since Adobe canceled MAX this year I’m trying a barcamp called 360|MIN. We normally do an unconference inside Adobe MAX called 360|MAX, this is a play on that concept.

Unlike 360|MAX which can’t be a true unconference/barcamp, 360|MIN can be just that. Folks will gather pitch topics they want to present and the audience will vote. Those in attendance will create the conference they want.

To make sure we’ve got the tone and vibe right I’ve got a few folks lined up as basically anchor speakers. Check out the details and the line up here. If you’re in the web stack space, this is how you should spend your October! Oh yeah and it’s in Las Vegas!

Some Thoughts on the ‘App Developers Alliance’

I had an interesting, albeit short twitter conversation today about the App Developers Alliance. I’ve been watching this group/site/organization for a little while now, debating whether I should reach out. I think 360|iDev and even 360|Flex could be great partners for an organization focused on those making apps, since, well you know that’s the focus of those conferences. But I’ve held off. Namely because I could never tell who I’d be talking to, or what they had to do with App Development.

Lately they’ve added to the Board of Directors which is what caused the twitter discussion. I should be clear I have no problems with anyone on the list, and actually really respect Joel Spolsky. However no one on that list represents the “app maker” community. Sure many of them employ and manage app developers. Some of them make money from developers leveraging their platform, some of them love talking about apps. But for something called the “App Developers Alliance” I’d expect people actively developing apps to be on the BOD. And that doesn’t seem to be the case.

I mean as a comparison, Appsterdam is run by people making apps. Not people managing people who make apps, or people who invest in apps, or who want to sell ad networks to app makers. It’s run by coders.

It seems the whole point of the alliance is to bring together those who have platforms they want developers to use (buy), and then, well I don’t know what after that. Looking at the service discounts, it’s a mix of companies that represent the BOD’s employers or investments, which seems a little shady to me.

They’re also not open to criticism it seems because After Tim and I made our points the conversation went dead. I personally avoid companies who can’t operate transparently, ESPECIALLY when it comes to criticisms. It’s also worrisome that when confronted on the lack of app developers on the BOD, the conversation ends.

I’m not (yet) condemning the concept of the App Developers Alliance, but I am seriously questioning it’s motives, and will be watching with great interest. I think things like 360|iDev and 360|Flex would be a perfect fit. Not from a sponsor standpoint (they do mention loving to sponsor events, but I suspect that’s just for marketing purposes). I think events that are really and truly focused on the developer community make a ton of sense for an organization that also claims to be focused on the developer community. If our focuses align, it seems like a great fit. The “if” is the big question right now, and I’m waiting to see if there’s an answer.

2011 in review

I was traveling by car from Denver to Vancouver WA during the holidays and didn’t get much laptop time. A blessing and a curse for sure :) but wanted to take a few minutes to put down my thoughts on the year that just ended.

It’s been a roller coaster for sure, in both good and bad ways.

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