BarCampLondon2 could not have gone much better. It was a great experience and dare It, better that the first one. Thanks to everyone who turned up and made it an unforgettable event. I've had a total of 3 hours sleep over the weekend, so my brain is crying out for bed. But who could know Werewolf could be so intense….
So my account of BarCampLondon2 should be pretty consistent with most others. It was a bloody good event. The venue supplied by BT was nothing short of amazing. We had the showcase arena which includes autoriumum fit for CEOs including 180+ investers. Thseat wewcomfortablele enough for me to actually sleep hours unlikeke the Yahoo offices last year, we only had a couple of so called rooms. Instead we spaces with either a 60 inch plasma screen or projectors with over 100 inch screens. Most of them seateabout 4040people, so with 3 spaces upstairs, one in the middle and 3 downstairs. There was more that enough room. But at the same time, it never felt like there was no one around. Talking of which 70+ people stayed over night, how do I know? Because I went around about 5am and counted. This is over double what we had last time and according to Chris Messina better that the last San Francisco BarCamp. Quite a few people didn't go to sleep over night, they opted to stay uthrough thehenight. In total we had about 170 people, but i did notice some new people during the day, so I would say we weren't that far off 200. I also think the people who really wanted to present did get a chance, also this time around no one had more that one session.
This time around we also had wireless connectivity, this time via BT Openzone passes. We (the organizers) were honestly worried about 24 hour passes. BT offered a lot of Openzone passes but each one cost its full price of 10 pounds. So obviously BT wanted to keep the costs down. Hence we didn't throw them out the crowd. We worried there wouldn't be enough for everyone during the whole of BarCamp. So come Sunday morning we would have a 100 people asking for new passes at the same time. We tried to setup ut itwasn't to be. In the end it all worked out and out worst fears didn't happen.
Talking about Organizers, Nat and Jason were a pleasure to work with. Some people might remember me asking for a co-organizer to work with a while ago. A lot of people were interested but in the end I choose Jason because he was super excited to be involved and lived pretty close. Nat although living in Oxford was also very excited and offered to do what she could remotely like print out signs, etc. Both of them were enthuastic and were willing to spend a lot of time on BarCampLondon2. I had maother offersersbut some were less excited and some had already done a BarCamp in another country. I really wanted to give new people a chance to get a feel for BarCamp and who knows might happen in the future. So big thanks to Nat and Jason once again, couldn't have done it without you guys.
So in more details behind the decisions of BarCampLondon2.
Eventwax, was recommended to me by Nat. I setup an account (wishes it had OpenID support) and liked what I saw. So I used it and gave the account details to Nat and Jason too. Our first problem came with the firsign upnup period of 1.5hrs. I allocated 100 tickets and they all went in 1.5 hours. Now that was fucking amazing but the message which you got when you then tried to sign up wasn't very useful. So much so, that our friends who don't speEnglishish as there first language didn't quite get the odd messageabout tickets and went ahead and booked their airplane/train tickets. So in that case I would send out a invite or clue them into went the next wave of tickets would be. Some could say thats unfair but its tricky if that person has already bought there tickets. I had a lot of complaints about the words tickets aattendeesees. I would love for the Eventwax guys to build in the ability to change the wording through out the site on a event by event bases. Tabilityity to also say this event is free and costs nothingwould be useful. I didn't try out the promo code stuff but that certainly looks useful for guest tickets in the future, would certainly beat sending out invites. The different levels of tickets was damm useful, because I could do the wave thing with tickets. So after the first 100, I started putting out tickets on the wiki and a few email lists. The same is true of the 3rd wave. Eventwax allows you decide in advance when tickets go live and stop. Date is great but time would also be very useful, as midnight isn'tvery useful for most people. Cancellation are a pain to deal with eventwax (although thank you to everyone who did email us), it would be great to have an aggregator ticket which looks how many spaces are actually left and offers them up as a ticket. On the last wave of tickets I had to keep cacluating the difference and changing the tickets for the last wave. That was a pain. Looking back I shouldn't have left the last wave of tickets till 2 days before the event but I really wanted to reuse all tcanceledledtickets. In the end we ended up with about 20% not used.
One last thing about the ticket thing, I wish I'd never mentioned IDs and checking. That caused a shit storm which I thought might actually shadow the event. My reasoning behind it was because yes I did hear about people selling tickets and getting multiple tickets under different names. There might have been some truth to it all but in the end we still had the 20% drop off.