Two weeks before the conference I wrote this post about what I thought it could go wrong. This time I was spot on. These were the 3 main issues:
We have a small hole in our budget (at least 1000€, could be around 2000€) and a troubling decision with the new catering: exactly what I mentioned in my previous post.
Food. This can fail spectacularly or turn out great. It’s a new catering and forced by the venue. Failed :(.
Quality. I’m less worried about the quality of the talks. But last year talks were amazing and I think it’s hard to top. Worse than last year.
We gathered feedback in several ways: through a webpage, post-its in a wall and live opinions from friends and speakers.
And the general consensus is that this edition was worse than last year. Sigh. It hurts a lot because it’s true. I know last year was hard to top because everything went so well but I made many mistakes this year. I tried but it was not enough. We have to get better.
Feedback in the web
I have one big gripe with the feedback in the website, it’s very inconsistent with the opinions I received from friends and colleagues: they loved some talks that have a 3.5 (over 5) and despised others with a 3.8. We received 280 reviews and the highest score is a 4,13 and the lowest an (IMHO undeserved) 2,81. Most scores are in the 3.3-3.8 range. Those are way lower than expected :(
I’m not concerned about the quality of the speakers (that were top-notch) or the quality of the content, the main problem with some talks was that they didn’t follow the theme of the conference: “1 success, 1 failure”. And that some speakers tended to ignore the failure part or use the talk to promote a product/company.
We insisted quite a lot on the topic but we were not so insistent on receiving the talks before the conference or reviewing the slides. We gave one (unsolicited?) feedback and the speaker got really angry with us :’(
Adhering to the topic was our responsibility and we didn’t do the right actions to assure it. We’ll try to convey our goal and feedback better next time.
And I’ve mentioned it before, we can’t thank the speakers enough for their time and hard work. Preparing a talk is really time-consuming and, when the target is not clear (tech? product? startup?) and the goal complicated (explaining a success is “promoting” for some attendees) is even worse, the LechazoConf is a very demanding conference. I’m sorry for that :’(
As a conference, we have a 4,32/5. Lots of friends voted there so it should be lower. The problems explained there:
- Worse catering (vegan especially).
- Talks not focused on the topic.
- Worse talks.
- Bad attention to sponsors.
The post-its in the wall were quite friendly… nothing new here (level of the talks & catering being the main issues).
We did a small retrospective where we kept beating the dead horse of the budget, catering, diversity, and talks. We also mentioned several small things like:
- Fewer talks (12 are too much, we did know but it was so tempting…).
- Announce the speaker’s name, twitter, and title of the talk.
- Better control of the timetable (again, another thing that was worse than last year).
- Fruit in the breakfasts.
- More shadowy places in the lunch.
- Water from the tap instead of so much plastic (we tried to contact the town hall…).
- More trash cans.
- A place to leave coats.
- Air conditioning spotty (we can’t control it, it’s automated).
- Very unbalanced division of tasks.
So that’s all for the LechazoConf 2018… :’(