During my limited time of running conferences I’ve come across some observations that I thought I would share. This is from experience of organising TestBash.
People Advised Me Against It
Before starting TestBash I spoke to several people about the idea. Many of them told me to be very careful. That conferences are very hard to make happen. It’s hard to get the numbers right. Get the attendees and the sponsors. Etc.
This is them:
But then there was me.
Sure I listened to the people warning me, but I also listened to my heart and what I felt was right for the community I was serving. I believed there was a need, there were signs from within the community that people wanted a UK based software testing conference from STC and friends. So I followed my heart.
Organising Conferences Is Like Child Birth
Ok, it’s not really. But the topic came up whilst I was having a chat with a Test Ninja. I thought about it and made a diagram/mindmap thingy.
Remarkably similar, no?
TestBash Buying Cycle
I started promoting TestBash in September 2012. It is happening next month (March 2013). I’m actually starting to freak out a bit at what I’ve let myself into. The event is bigger (and will be better IMHO) this time around. With bigger comes more costs, more risk and of course more stress for me.
I’ve put some thought into how the ‘buying’ cycle happens and drew a picture. (Can you tell I am liking drawing pictures at the moment?), what I noticed was:
- many of the people who bought the super early bird tickets went to last years TestBash or are known to me via Software Testing Club
- people actually pay attention to these (super) early bird rates – most of the sales happen a week before them.
- I laugh at this now, but no tickets sold between the 10th of December and the 20th of January. I actually started to worry a bit. I knew it would be quiet around that time, but the complete lack of sales between that period stressed me out. I felt much better and on track after January 31st.
- Point above is that people really do listen to the messages I’m sending out (it’s hard to know sometimes) and a cheaper ticket price gives people real motivation to get those tickets booked!
One of my main goals was to achieve a certain number of attendees. For a bit of perspective TestBash 1.0 had just under 70 people attend. I set myself a goal of 150 this time around and am pleased that we have achieved that.
To keep me through the stressful and worrying times I had the following as a background image on my iPad – constantly reminding me what I wanted to achieve.
Thank you for your time! </end>