Gluecon ended some 12 days ago, and I’m finally gaining some perspective on things, so it is time for the wrap-up. Caveat: this is really a laundry list of thoughts culled from notes I took, things the staff observed, survey feedback, etc — it is by no means all-inclusive, nor is it in any order of importance.
Logistical/Operational thoughts — All in all, things went pretty smoothly (many thanks to my wife and our staff), but (as always) there is room for improvement:
1. I’d like to start putting twitter handles/IDs on badges (which means collecting them via the registration process). I heard the question, “what are you on twitter?” multiple times. Is twitter the new business card? Dunno, but it’d be useful on a conference badge.
2. For all of our conferences, I’m going to start a cab-sharing wiki. It just makes sense.
3. Ditto for speaker/session descriptions. For Glue more than Defrag, people wished they had more in-depth session descriptions – and “posting” those on a website just is tedious. Having speakers post it on a wiki (and create some interaction) makes good good sense.
4. No more water bottles (kinda). So – here’s the story – we started doing water bottles because we just couldn’t stand watching people grab a bottle of water, take 2 swigs and leave it on a table any longer (for both cost and waste reasons). We just assumed people would want a bottle to carry water around in. We were wrong. Most people were perfectly happy with having plenty of water stations and water on the tables. I think next time around we’ll do 75-100 water bottles and place them at the water station (for those that want them) versus putting them in every bag.
5. Power Strips: During the setup (I spend about 6-8hrs “managing” the set-up the day before the event), I made the call to have the power strips on the end of the tables in room 1 versus in the middle of the tables. It seemed inconsequential. I was wrong and I heard about it. Noted.
7. One of my favorite moments was giving Phil Windley a hard time about how at one point Glue was cheaper to attend than an unconference (Phil runs the Internet Identity Workshop unconference). 😉
Speakers, Tracks and Sessions:
1. Mitch Kapor was the top rated speaker of the event. Beyond Mitch, lots of people got mentions — Jeff Lindsay (webhooks), Peter Coffee, Aaron Fulkerson, Rick Nucci, Bob Frankston — lots of good stuff.
2. My biggest take-away was that next year we need 2 technical tracks (beginner and advanced) and 1 “strategic” track (high end discussion, business issues, etc).
3. The 3 topics that people most wanted to hear more about were Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS), Managing Real-time data, and Social Network Glue.
4. In general speakers need less time than they think to convey their point. Shorter “sessions”; more “discussion.”
5. I really liked this definition of “the glue space” – “information services between Network Architecture and Applications.”
6. Some folks took to starting a Gluecon wiki (fleshing out what a Glue SDK would look like) – please check it out.
Interesting Social Media Impact: I’m really overwhelmed by the role that social media played in Gluecon registrations and promotion.
1. 92.5% of survey respondents said they heard about the conference from some form of social media.
2. Gluecon saw over 1.1 million impressions on twitter in the 30 days leading up to and including the event.
3. Gluecon saw over 119k unique viewers of conference-related tweets.
I’d advise PR firms to learn very quickly that articles in tech pubs don’t carry nearly the weight they used to, and that they need to stop asking for a press list and start concentrating on social media (PR’s new job may be working the social networking tools like EventVue verus staying home and “pitching” articles to journos). Like I said, the above numbers are pretty stunning (to me) — after all, Glue’s just some tiny little first year tech conference held in Denver, Colorado, right?
Overall, I think we had a great first Gluecon. Great energy, a really good core foundation for a community, and a true sense that there’s a lot to go work on for next year. We’ll definitely be back in 2010 (may 26-27) — bigger, badder, and better than ever before.
Lastly, I’d be remiss if I didn’t thank Seth Levine and Phil Becker (my partners on this), the staff (Mollie, Matt, Robbie), our sponsors (more to come on that), the speakers (all of you added so much), my wife Kim (without whom NONE of this would happen), and most importantly, all of you (our participants) — as you really make Glue what it is. Thank you!