360Flex San Jose – Recap

It’s been a while since our last 360|Flex. Almost a year in fact. Indianapolis in May.

Since getting back from 360|Flex, I’ve been full tilt forward on 360|iDev (rest? Decompress time, weak sauce!!), but wanted to take a few minutes to write down my thoughts on this latest 360|Flex.

For one thing it was a huge success. We made money. Not a metric buttload, and it would have been more if we hadn’t carried a ton of debt with us out of 2009. BUt still, we made money, and that’s a good sign for the event and the company.

We did a few things (as usual) differently.

  1. We had volunteers to help out. We had I think 8 folks, that got a free pass in exchange for helping out. w had them help assemble SWAG bags, work the reg desk (This was THE first 360|Event where the keynote wasn’t delayed, and where I was able to actually hop up on stage, vs have some one go start the keynote.) work our video cameras (more on that), and in general be around to do whatever we needed.
  2. We had Nicole on board officially. As Tom leaves, Nicole joins. It’s pretty cool to be working with my wife to make the events even better!
  3. Video. We’ve wanted to do video since Seattle ’07. In fact we had video in Seattle, but marketed them poorly. We had Video in San Jose ’09, but it was Adobe TV. This time we decided to go lo-fi to start and see how it works. We used 8 SD Flip Cams, and Camtasia Relay. Volunteers swapped cams out for each session, and set up Relay on speaker laptops. Now that hard part. I’ve got 40+ sessions to process into usable video. We’re not sure what to do yet as far as distribution. Attendees will get the video for free, but I’d love to try and sell access to the video (un-DRM’ed of course) files. I think there’s value in the videos, and think it’d be nice if we could support the company between events with video sales.
  4. Panels. Panels are another thing we toyed with for a while, thinking it’d be cool to do, but never really executing. We decided to pull the trigger. 360|Flex had 3 panels, and they all rocked! Panels are here to stay. We also put a panel as the last session on the last day, to bring everyone together at the end of the conference. The panels are a great way to have all attendees in the same place, and get great discussions started! I’m really excited about the Panels, and can’t wait to do more.
  5. Official hotel while using Ebay. Normally when we do the SJ event, we don’t have an official hotel, or if we do it’s just a room block at the Holiday Inn. This time we went downtown San Jose to the Marriott. Who offered a shuttle bus each day. That worked out awesome! Each day the bus brought everyone to Ebay and took them back to the hotel at night. After the evening receptions, folks bussed back to the Marriott, and partied at the bar, out in downtown, etc. it was awesome.

Over all I couldn’t be happier with 360|Flex San Jose. We had an almost sell out crowd, at about 365 registrations, not to mention the “I had to register?” Crowd that we printed badges for on the fly.

I learned on my flight out, that Frontier won’t be servicing SJC after mid-May, which means for the most part, my reasons to fly Frontier at all are drastically diminished. I’ll probably start flying Southwest to test the waters of that airline. Since I never watch the free DirectTV that I get with Ascent level status, I won’t miss that. Everything else I enjoy about my Ascent level status, I can pay for with Southwest.

Sorry frontier, poor service of late, terrible website, and now leaving SJC…

Now on to 360|iDev, San Jose! I can’t wait to see my Apple crew! We’ll all be fresh off iPad euphoria, and ready to talk iPad apps!

By John Wilker

I'm a science fiction writer and conference organizer. In 2017 I published my first book, 'Space Rogues', a fun Sci-Fi adventure with a fun cast of characters. I'm also the co-founder of 360|Conferences, a conference and event logistics consulting company.

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