ConfConf note paper

How is the day shaping up?

The schedule

Registration begins
Welcome & Introductions
Promoting your event on a shoestring budget Vicky Carmichael Read more about Vicky and her talk
A tale of two meetups Adam Butler Read more about Adam and his talk
Morning break
Panel discussion: Growing audience inclusivity & participation Read more about this panel discussion
The art of event curation Shaun Gomm Read more about Shaun and his talk
Panel discussion: Encouraging new speaker talent in our events Read more about this panel discussion
The trials and tribulations of speaker liaison Oliver Lindberg Read more about Oliver and his talk
Wrapping up & finish
After party

Meet the speakers

Promoting your event on a shoestring budget

An event is nothing without attendees. But how do you reach your audience when you don’t have a marketing budget? This talk outlines ideas for promoting your meetup or conference that don’t require throwing money at it. Learn how to leverage free and cheap methods including social media, personal networks and content you already have, to get the word out about your event and make people excited to attend.

Vicky Carmichael • White October Events

Vicky is marketing manager and a founding member of White October Events, the folks behind top tech conferences including Render, The Lead Developer and AngularConnect, plus practical training workshops for web developers. Outside of work she can most commonly be found tweeting about food she’s eaten, watching SNL clips, and hogging the karaoke machine.

A tale of two meetups

Running a community event isn’t all that different from running a conference. We both share the same challenges in dealing with marketing, finance, venues, speakers, sponsors and of course the inevitable AV issues. Not to forget the endless logistics that bring all of this together for what will hopefully a very successful and enjoyable event for everybody.

The obvious thing that separates us though is the scale of the operation. Most meetups only have a handful of speakers, most are just in the evening, and most have a fraction of the attendees compared to your average conference. However community events come with their own unique challenges, most notable of them is the challenge of running these events every month all whilst doing so at no cost to the attendees.

For the last five years I’ve been the main organiser of Bristol JS and co-organiser of the Simpleweb challenge hack events. In this talk I’m going to cover some of the challenges we’ve faced growing our communities, processes implemented to support us, our failings and tools that I’ve built to put control within the hands of our members.

Adam Butler • Bristol JS

Adam is a Full Stack web developer and creative coder who spends his days building startups and products at Simpleweb in the beautiful city of Bristol.

He is the organiser of Bristol JS a monthly run meetup group with over 1100 members and co-organiser of the Simpleweb Challenge hacknights.

For the last seven years he has organised various workshops, talk nights and hack events in across the south west.

The art of event curation

While you’re focusing on selling tickets, organising the catering and sorting out the logistics for your event, it’s easy to forget that you’re (presumably) trying to deliver an event that makes your attendees feel happy, energised and inspired. The curation of your event – the careful consideration of running order, transitions from one session into another, the space around and between the sessions, and how you want your event to feel is so important to its success.

In this talk, Shaun will present some good thinking on curating events, and particularly conferences where there can be multiple tracks, themes, and of course many speakers. He’ll discuss some different format options, scheduling and thinking about the flow of your event, and he’ll provide some insights based on his experience to help you deliver an event that ‘feels right’.

Shaun Gomm • Sigma

Shaun is the Commercial Director at digital UX consultancy, Sigma. Although he focuses mostly on Sigma’s sales and marketing strategy now, his background is all in practice, having worked as an IA, BA, information designer, writer, project manager and consultant at various points in his 20 year career in digital.

Over the last 7 years Shaun has organised, spoken at and hosted a bunch of events, from master classes and meetups to conferences and product launches. He has been responsible for organising and hosting Sigma’s annual gathering of digital movers and shakers, Camp Digital, from its inception 6 years ago as a modest gathering of friends and partners to an internationally renowned, multi-stream conference in Manchester for 500 lovely folks from every walk of digital life.

He’s felt the pain of last minute speaker drop-outs, worried about ticket sales as the big day looms, managed demanding sponsors, and experienced the elation (and relief) of closing an event that has gone better than anyone could have imagined. It’s hard work, but when it all comes together it’s a beautiful thing.

The trials and tribulations of speaker liaison

Speakers are arguably the most important part of your event and it goes without saying that you need to look after them well. Sometimes, however, liaising with speakers can be challenging. You need to be able to cope with budget constraints, scheduling conflicts, big egos, lengthy riders, sudden cancellations, even breaches of the code of conduct and much more.

In this talk, Oliver will explore how difficult situations can be turned into positives while keeping your sanity intact. Drawing from his personal experience of dealing with dozens of international speakers for Generate and hundreds of contributors to net magazine, he will scare you with some horror stories but also explain how to overcome tricky scenarios and create a better event as a result of it.

Oliver Lindberg • Pixel Pioneers & Generate

Oliver Lindberg is an award-winning independent editor, content consultant and founder of Pixel Pioneers, a new series of affordable web events in the UK. Formerly the editor of net magazine, he has been involved with the web design and development industry for more than a decade and helps businesses across the world create content that connects with their customers.

He also still curates and chairs Generate, the conference for web designers, presented by net and Creative Bloq, and is passionate about content, user experience, accessibility and designing for social good.

Oliver grew up in the northwest of Germany and moved to the UK in 2001. He now lives in Bath with his wife, daughter and three chickens.

Our panel discussions

Growing audience inclusivity & participation

Making our events a safe and welcoming environment for everyone can prove a challenge, but an important one. From the inception of the event to after the wrap-up, there are a number of things we can do as event organisers which can make a massive difference to your audience members.

In this panel discussion, we explore and swap ideas of what we can do to achieve this; considering accessibility of venues, raising awareness about Code of Conducts, scholarship tickets and trying to broaden responses to CFP’s are just a few examples.

Encouraging new speaker talent in our events

Last year we published an article about the importance of encouraging new speaker talent at your event which proved a much-welcomed topic.

This year at ConfConf 2017 we want to explore this further and discuss with our fellow event organisers what we can be doing as a community to find, nurture and promote new speakers from within our digital community.