So we did it, it happened. No one died. However, I think some people’s minds are still in pieces strewn across the back of the ballroom after many of the speaker’s sessions. Including my own. And I feel the Woocrew rightly should be paying for dialysis for a few attendees they bought rounds for.
PressNomics 1.0 is in the books. We throughly hope you all enjoyed yourself and extracted value from the time spent visting with us and your peers in Chandler, Arizona.
A few points of interest and personal take-aways from Sally and I.
- 5 speakers were cycled in within 3 weeks of the event, Joshua Ziering filling in for Ortiz that very morning. For the most part no one noticed as all our speakers brought their A game.
- $5,126 was donated to St Judes Childrens Research Hospital. Being new parents ourselves, and being fortunate that Ethan is healthy, we chose St Judes as a Charity for a pretty simple reasons: Most of us are healthy which allowed us the opportunities that got us where we are today. Not every parent or child is as lucky as we are, in terms of health or financial situation. If you recall Sally left the stage and asked me to present the check as she was already emotional about achieving the $5k goal we set and did not want to bring the whole audience to tears along with her.
- We had speaking notes on all sorts of things, like thanking the community sponsors by name, going into depth on why we chose St Judes, my thoughts on what PressNomics meant and why we were all there. Sally and I were so exhausted from the planning, travel, setup, and the excitement we were drawing blanks up there on stage. I think I even forgot to use Cory’s last name when I have known him for 4 years and it was written down right in front me. Next time we will try to sleep more leading up to the event.
- Most of these speakers are personal friends and mentors of ours. Every one of them said yes without hesitation, and all flew in on their own dime. To me that is a testament to the value of relationships. I asked for help, my posse responded even when details were sketchy in the early planning stages. Furthermore we chose to share these relationships with all of you so you could gain some of the same benefit we enjoy during our personal talks.
- It was nearly $1000/day for the 2 hours of coffee. WTF right. This was added last minute when Envato became a sponsor.
- We had a kick ass band booked for the Friday night party well before hand. 1 of the lead guys is a pediatric surgeon, he literally saves the lives of kids. About 6 weeks out he confirmed he would not be able to get his 36 hour shift covered and the band could not make it. So we had to find a replacement.. and we did with the help of Sean Tierney find another kick ass band. This time a 6 person hipster friendly group of rockers that seemed perfect for this crowd. 10 days out they flaked. So we got this quirky band that on a normal day plays a really awesome set, I witnessed this awesomeness via youtube, but was missing their drummer so they went art-rock on us and gave us that delightful show.
- Our contact at the San Marcos quit a week and a half before the event.
- The router for the internet was stolen the day before. This was very upsetting as the entire time while planning we made it known that internet was a top priority.
- The ice luge never made it to the happy hour. The delivery guy who handled the situation was very unprofessional. He was fired.
- We wished that we would have had the time to talk and join in the fun more with everyone but we were too busy with the event. Now that everyone knows what Pressnonics is, and if we decide to do this again next year, hopefully we’ll get more volunteers.
We asked for feedback and we got it. The attendee feedback was overwhelmingly positive. Not just ‘good job’ positive but absolutely gushing with praise. It feels good to score a win. Anyone who has planned an event will tell you there is a lot of uncertainty and doubt leading up to something like this where you put yourself and your brand out there.
Wow. #PressNomics was by far the best WordPress event I’ve ever been to. Talks were inspirational and it was great to meet everyone!
— JR Farr (@jrfarr) November 10, 2012
— Justin Sainton (@JS_Zao) November 11, 2012
Just got home from #pressnomics –great event, amazing people, and all around kickass-ness!
— WerkPress (@WerkPress) November 11, 2012
Can’t begin to tell you how much I enjoyed and learned at #pressnomics over the past few days.
— John Hawkins (@vegasgeek) November 10, 2012
— WordPress 101 (@WP101) November 10, 2012
If day 2 of #pressnomics is half as awesome as day 1, it’s still the best conference I’ve been to in a loonng time.
— NatalieMac (@nataliemac) November 9, 2012
#pressnomics is going great so far. If the WiFi were better I probably wouldn’t be getting as much out of the sessions. Moleskins ftw.
— Doug Cone (@nullvariable) November 9, 2012
There are many more just like these…
The critical feedback is a welcome reminder to always push for excellence. We wanted to deliver an A+ event and inevitably things get overlooked or issues arise. The critical feedback falls into 3 primary categories.
The Wifi laying an egg was the number 1 complaint. While it is a very valid complaint I have to agree with the way 2 attendees summed it up.
…a lot of people are going to say WIFI. I call bullshit. At the community summit there was almost ZERO tweeting/posting going on because people were staying involved with what was going on in the room. I think there’s a huge value in that.
Many people complained about the poor WiFi, but I feel that this was a good thing as there were fewer open laptops and more engaged people actually listening rather than trying to win at live Tweeting.
The value was on stage happening right in front of everyone and in the face to face conversations with peers. If you recall, that was also our motivation for the moleskines. Unplug, put pen to paper, soak in what you are witnessing.
But I digress, never get between a dev and his internet. We get it.
A Perceived Gender Bias
We got a handful of comments about the lack of female speakers. If you were not aware prior we had 2 amazing female speakers booked well in advance. Unfortunately they had to cancel very close to the event, one just days before when it became evident she would not be able to get out of NYC due to Hurricane Sandy.
The VIP Event
So this one came as a genuine surprise to us. The feedback says it was unclear what made someone a VIP in a room full of VIP’s. Peoples feelings were hurt and/or they felt awkward about it. That is a fair criticism. I think it boils down to a bad name choice and a little lack of clarity. So let us dispel that now.
It technically should have been called ‘An appreciation event for Sponsors, Speakers, a few key WP business leaders, and a few other special guests that helped make this event happen‘. But that is mouthful, so we used the more common term: VIP. Also, the suite at the Suns game was the VIP Suite. We wanted to do something special to say thank you to the commercial sponsors, the speakers and to recognize a few key people that helped make the event happen either via their evangelism or relationship with one of the sponsors/speakers/organizers. 16 speakers + 6 sponsor representatives + Sally and I + a handful of key WP players + spouses.
Due to our personal connections at the arena we were upgraded to a larger suite for the price of a smaller suite. Regular suites hold 16. Ours held 60. The problem became food and liquor cost which added up quickly. So although we had the room, we didn’t have the budget to feed everyone. We were able to add a few more attendees to the list, and we were also able to include my inlaws who made the 2 hour drive to Phoenix to babysit for us during the event.
It was a budget issue, there simply was only so much money. So if I told you, pre-event, that only you from your team of 3 or 4 could attend, that is why. I would have loved to have all of the woocrew there, but only invited Adii. All of the MOJO crew, but only had room for JR. All the of event espresso crew but only invited Seth. We wanted to invite at least 1 representative from as many of the larger shops as budget would allow. You get the picture.
I take responsibility for poorly communicating the purpose of the event. If you were invited and chose to pass because you felt weird about it, I am sorry for that too because you missed a great experience. We never meant to hurt anyone or make anyone feel less important. VIP now stands for Very Incorrect Phrase.
So the big question. Will there be another one and when?
What started as a late night scotch-fueled skype conversation between Dre and myself ended in a 3 day event that I think everyone would agree was a game winning grand-slam. The distance between those 2 points was immensely vast and Sally moved mountains to make it happen for all of us. She has hinted she is on board for planning 2.0 but the only answer I can give you right now is: stay tuned.
Attendee wrap up posts
Feel free to pingback to this post other wrap ups.
Thank you again for attending, and thank you to all our sponsors and speakers.