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The Minimum Viable Conference

The Minimum Viable Conference

Ok, so, if nothing else, we’ve got one thing in common. We like conferences. The two of us like ‘em so much that we recently spent a large chunk of time and money organizing and hosting one, and are planning at least one more for next year, too. Ask us about it!
We’re here to spill the beans on what it takes to make these things happen. We’ll do our damndest to tell you everything you need to know to get your own conference off the ground. We’ll cover topics like:

+ How many people do you need? To attend? To organize?
+ Where’s the money come from?
+ How do you get sponsors?
+ How do you run a CFP?
+ What are the easy wins and hard losses?
+ For what services do you pay versus those you seek for free?
+ How do you protect yourself and your fellow organizers?
+ Who buys the beer?

Whether you’re planning a multi-day conference, a monthly meetup, or just a one-time get-together for your office, we’ll give you a handy list of DOs and DONTs, based on our own experiences and those of others in the community event game. Like Kerri’s Gramma once said, “If you want to go to a party, sometimes you have to throw it yourself.”

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Kerri Miller

March 21, 2016
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  1. @_jnf & @kerrizor MountainWest RubyConf 2016 THE MINIMUM VIABLE CONFERENCE

  2. @_jnf & @kerrizor MountainWest RubyConf 2016 THE MINIMUM VIABLE CONFERENCE

  3. @_jnf & @kerrizor MountainWest RubyConf 2016

  4. @_jnf & @kerrizor MountainWest RubyConf 2016 T.J. Higgins, JSD

  5. @_jnf & @kerrizor MountainWest RubyConf 2016 Rosa

  6. @_jnf & @kerrizor MountainWest RubyConf 2016

  7. @_jnf & @kerrizor MountainWest RubyConf 2016 OSFeels.com

  8. @_jnf & @kerrizor MountainWest RubyConf 2016

  9. @_jnf & @kerrizor MountainWest RubyConf 2016

  10. @_jnf & @kerrizor MountainWest RubyConf 2016 Bri Dotson Kristina Hjertberg

    (@khjrtbrg) Whitney Levis (@roseaboveit) Strand McCutcheon (@strabd) Utah Newman (@theutahkate) OSFeels 2015 Organizers
  11. @_jnf & @kerrizor MountainWest RubyConf 2016 Bri Dotson Kristina Hjertberg

    (@khjrtbrg) Utah Newman (@theutahkate) NEW! Brenna Flood (@brennx0r) NEW! Mixolidia Gautreax (@mix) OSFeels 2016 Organizers
  12. FIRST THINGS FIRST @_jnf & @kerrizor MountainWest RubyConf 2016

  13. • Help build or maintain your community • Create opportunities

    for others • Get participation credit outside of "lots of open source commits" @_jnf & @kerrizor MountainWest RubyConf 2016 Why do you want to run a conference? Women In Tech - 88 WOCinTech Chat - CC BY 2.0 https://www.flickr.com/photos/wocintechchat/21910883173/
  14. • Write up a mission statement • Work on your

    elevator pitch • Create 2 paragraph write- up • Identify your ideals and values @_jnf & @kerrizor MountainWest RubyConf 2016 Make it official - write it down! The thumb that hurts from too-much-touchscreenalso aches to grip a pen! - Justin Hall - CC BY 2.0 https://www.flickr.com/photos/justin/8501155973
  15. @_jnf & @kerrizor MountainWest RubyConf 2016 SECURE A LOCATION

  16. • Know your audience • http://osfeels.com/checklist @_jnf & @kerrizor MountainWest

    RubyConf 2016 Find A Venue Broadway Performance Hall https://www.facebook.com/Broadway-Performance-Hall-121211941265491/
  17. • Accessibility Concerns • Audio/Video Capabilities • Catering @_jnf &

    @kerrizor MountainWest RubyConf 2016 The Checklist Broadway Performance Hall https://www.facebook.com/Broadway-Performance-Hall-121211941265491/
  18. @_jnf & @kerrizor MountainWest RubyConf 2016 SECURE SOME

  19. @_jnf & @kerrizor MountainWest RubyConf 2016 Secure some “Cash rules

    everything around me, C.R.E.A.M. Get the money. Dollar dollar bills, y’all.” — Wu-Tang Clan
  20. @_jnf & @kerrizor MountainWest RubyConf 2016 Secure some

  21. • Ask local business first • Get ready to hear

    “no” • Get creative with sponsorships @_jnf & @kerrizor MountainWest RubyConf 2016 Secure some
  22. @_jnf & @kerrizor MountainWest RubyConf 2016 PROTECT YOUR INVESTMENT

  23. @_jnf & @kerrizor MountainWest RubyConf 2016 There are no jokes

    in this section.
  24. @_jnf & @kerrizor MountainWest RubyConf 2016 Sorry.

  25. @_jnf & @kerrizor MountainWest RubyConf 2016 Serious Business • LLC

    • Accountants & Taxes • Bank Accounts • Business Licenses • Event Insurance • Budgets
  26. @_jnf & @kerrizor MountainWest RubyConf 2016 Serious Business • LLC

    • Accountants & Taxes • Bank Accounts • Business Licenses • Event Insurance • Budgets
  27. @_jnf & @kerrizor MountainWest RubyConf 2016 Serious Business • LLC

    • Accountants & Taxes • Bank Accounts • Business Licenses • Event Insurance • Budgets
  28. @_jnf & @kerrizor MountainWest RubyConf 2016 Serious Business • LLC

    • Accountants & Taxes • Bank Accounts • Business Licenses • Event Insurance • Budgets
  29. @_jnf & @kerrizor MountainWest RubyConf 2016 Serious Business • LLC

    • Accountants & Taxes • Bank Accounts • Business Licenses • Event Insurance • Budgets
  30. @_jnf & @kerrizor MountainWest RubyConf 2016 Serious Business • LLC

    • Accountants & Taxes • Bank Accounts • Business Licenses • Event Insurance • Budget
  31. @_jnf & @kerrizor MountainWest RubyConf 2016 Decisions are driven by

    adherence to or support of the organization mission and the available budget.
  32. @_jnf & @kerrizor MountainWest RubyConf 2016 CHOOSING PRESENTERS

  33. @_jnf & @kerrizor MountainWest RubyConf 2016 CHOOSE YOUR FORMAT

  34. @_jnf & @kerrizor MountainWest RubyConf 2016

  35. • It doesn’t hurt to ask, but ask early •

    Respect their time and expertise • Stay in contact and keep them informed • Work with them to identify additional communities and sponsorship opportunities @_jnf & @kerrizor MountainWest RubyConf 2016 Inviting Speakers misc 12 - Dennis Hill - CC BY 2.0 - https://www.flickr.com/photos/fontplaydotcom/506702218/
  36. • Blind it as much as you’re able • Offer

    as much upfront information as you can • Make a wishlist of topics, panels, workshops you’d like to see to help inspire people • http://cfp.osfeels.com @_jnf & @kerrizor MountainWest RubyConf 2016 Running A CFP STV Indie SAMPLE BALLOT marked - Laurel L. Russwurm - ZERO 1.0 - https://www.flickr.com/photos/laurelrusswurm/15456907727
  37. @_jnf & @kerrizor MountainWest RubyConf 2016 PEOPLEOPS

  38. • This wasn’t a software project, but it kinda felt

    like one. • Consensus v. Deadlines • Accountability v. Volunteers • The retrospective is an important part of the process @_jnf & @kerrizor MountainWest RubyConf 2016 Communication Breakdown.
  39. @_jnf & @kerrizor MountainWest RubyConf 2016 Have an Organizer Code

    of Conduct • Similar intent to event code of conduct, but tailored for organizers • Outlines expectations, behaviors, consequences • http://www.osfeels.com/ organizer-code-of- conduct
  40. @_jnf & @kerrizor MountainWest RubyConf 2016 Document Your Decision Making

  41. @_jnf & @kerrizor MountainWest RubyConf 2016 Bad • We decided

    to run a CFP.
  42. @_jnf & @kerrizor MountainWest RubyConf 2016 Good • We are

    going to use Blinder to run our CFP again. • We approved the list of questions for the CFP with minor additions (no subtractions). See the blinder repo for the finalized questions. • If we do workshops, we will run a separate CFW (call for workshops). • We will invite TAFT to participate in the CFP.
  43. @_jnf & @kerrizor MountainWest RubyConf 2016 Even Gooder • Jeremy

    to deploy new blinder instance for 2016 CFP (due 3/7). • list of questions are approved; minor additions (no subtractions) to last year's questions • finalized list of questions already in the blinder repo. • We want to run workshops • If we can, it will be separate CFW (call for workshops) process • Kerri to contact venue about availability/capacities of rooms for workshops (due 3/14) • We want to invite TAFT to participate in the CFP. • Exact details of participation TBD • More discussion needed, but we know we would like them to be involved
  44. • Don’t be a bottleneck. • Ask the right questions.

    • Leave room for people to explore. @_jnf & @kerrizor MountainWest RubyConf 2016 Empower Your First-Time Organizers
  45. @_jnf & @kerrizor MountainWest RubyConf 2016 DECISIONS WE COULD HAVE

    MADE (but didn’t)
  46. • The venue's wifi wasn't super awesome • It was

    going to be expensive to bring in our own network • It wasn't facilitating being present @_jnf & @kerrizor MountainWest RubyConf 2016 WIFI Free WiFi - Bob Cotter - CC BY NC ND 2.0 - https://www.flickr.com/photos/gibsonsgolfer/3796549315
  47. • Hard to secure space • Logistical nightmare • Expensive

    • Not all attendees would feel welcome • Safety @_jnf & @kerrizor MountainWest RubyConf 2016 After Party Karaoke - ♣El Lucho♣ - CC BY SA 2.0 - https://www.flickr.com/photos/ellucho/5378130520
  48. • Expensive ($10-15 per attendee!) • Long lead times means

    you need in the bank • Do you really need another shirt? @_jnf & @kerrizor MountainWest RubyConf 2016 T-Shirts & Swag Silverlight T-shirt - Pittaya Sroilong- CC BY 2.0 - https://www.flickr.com/photos/pittaya/2534310944
  49. @_jnf & @kerrizor MountainWest RubyConf 2016

  50. @_jnf & @kerrizor MountainWest RubyConf 2016

  51. • Hard to get exact numbers • OMG • Price

    increase could price some attendees out • Logistical headaches abound @_jnf & @kerrizor MountainWest RubyConf 2016 Catered Meals Food Lives Here - Ignite New Zealand - CC BY 2.0 - https://www.flickr.com/photos/techedlive/3918973002
  52. @_jnf & @kerrizor MountainWest RubyConf 2016 The Outro: Go Forth

    and Be Awesome
  53. @_jnf & @kerrizor MountainWest RubyConf 2016 Questions & Answers (maybe)

  54. @_jnf & @kerrizor MountainWest RubyConf 2016 LINKS • OSFeels 2016:

    http://OSFeels.com • CFP: http://cfp.OSFeels.com • Talk Wishlist: http://OSFeels.com/talk-ideas • Venue Checklist: http://OSFeels.com/checklist • Organizer CoC: http://OSFeels.com/organizer-code-of- conduct
  55. @_jnf & @kerrizor MountainWest RubyConf 2016 July 22nd & 23rd,

    2016