The dust is finally starting to settle on Stoos Connect. What a day it was. 20+ lightning talks, 75 local participants, 24 remote viewing locations between San Francisco and Melbourne and another 100 or so remote viewers. Everything about it blew my mind.
I am looking to do a retrospective about the day in a week. So here are my observations and hope you will add yours.
The Good, The Bad and the Ugly
Interest was and is extremely high. We probably had between 400-600 participants and a line-up of big names. There is a lot of work to be done before we get to the tipping point, but I see Stoos making the first decent inroads into the early adopters.
We had quite a few technical difficulties. Most notably the videos in the presentation by Jaap Peters. The video by Daniel Pink later ran fine, so one of the lessons would be to not play videos from within Powerpoint.
Slides from the remote locations were also problematic. So I would probably just ban them next time.
It was hard to connect to the central location. Skype refused to let me make a Stoos Connect account for some reason and I had to use my personal one.
There were some quality issues with remote presenters. Overall it was good enough.
The video problem was the most annoying by far. We need to test this better next time.
Some speakers spoke too long. Need to be more strict on it, but also make it more visible for them. Because of all the other issues I forgot to install my iPad with a countdown clock.
Wanting to keep costs down I did not include dinner with the price of the ticket. This costs us quite a bit of time as everyone had to pay individually.
The ambition of the Stoos Network is slowly moving towards a movement of movements. How do we connect all of the different movements, ideas, organisations etc to facilitate that tipping point. During the preparation I kept getting suggestions for other people and movements. And even after the fact. As I type this I get a Twitter message pointing me towards what looks like another awesome group.
Not connecting outside enough
Because of these issues we did not connect to other satellites as much as I would have liked. We did get to see a few satellites, but I wanted to involve them more. Need to schedule more time for that.
We also did not use the backchannels like Twitter enough. Really should figure out how to include that more.
I am extremely happy with the way the organisation was run. I was the one with the original idea, but especially Sander took upon himself a lot of work. Sander took care of the website, the eventbrite page and the video part. Especially the last part was done way better than anything I could have dreamt up. I would have had a camera record it. They came up with a 3 camera setup, video mixer, audio, presentation laptops, skype laptops, live streaming laptop. The livestream was way better because of them. And once we get the videos edited I am sure the results will be stunning.
But also being open to people suggesting speakers. Some of the highest rated speakers were speakers that were invited not by me, but others.
Slack saved my live
We build in a LOT of slack. We planned to be at the venue way too early. So my train breaking down, the forgotten cable or the audio problems weren’t the end of the world. In the schedule I had planned a maximum of 45-50 minutes for every hour. And 30 minute breaks instead of 15. It was still not enough, but we did managed.
Speaker quality varied greatly
Almost every agreed that some speakers were much better than others. What most people disagree on is which speakers were good and which ones bad. Take Vlatka for example: A few people thought it was not all that inspiring, many more found it great to have a scientific background to what they felt was right. Some people thought Niels was just bashing management, others found him thought-provoking. In a remote satellite 3 managers got into a heated debate what it meant for their company. So that is mission accomplished.
It was an awesome event. Certainly for the first time. When I started on this journey 6 months ago I was not sure how it was going to pan out. I remember finding a venue that was nice, but not too expensive, so I would not lose a lot of money if it failed.
I remember having booked Jurgen Appelo and Niels Pflaeging and thinking I at least had some names on the list people recognised.
Turned out even more people know Steve Denning, Daniel Pink and Roger Martin.
All in all I think it was an amazing event. Feedback has been great so far. The technical problems sucked and we need to learn for next events, but we do need to remember we did something not many people have done before: Having a truly global conference where both audience and speakers were not in the room. I still feel humbled, proud and excited when I think about the day.
I would love to hear your feedback and suggestions in the comments.
PS: My awesome co-organiser Sander Huijsen now has some free time and is looking for a new challenge. If you or anyone else you know needs a Java/C/Android developer and/or Scrum Master/Agile Coach, take a look at: http://imagile.nl. He gets things done.