February 2010 Archives

AnalyticsCamp, 10 Days Later

It's been 10 days since the first AnalyticsCamp. 11 days since the last-minute preparations and wondering if the weather would force us to cancel, about eight weeks since we committed to the date. All in all, we had a good day, including the predictably painful decisions about which sessions to attend—and which to miss. For me, it was the BarCamp where almost every session was appealing, and I needed many more hours to spend with the people there.

"We" means "we"
I'm not using the royal we when I talk about AnalyticsCamp; a small group of volunteers put in significant work to make the event happen, and a few organizations provided crucial support. Without their contributions, AnalyticsCamp would still be stuck in the idea phase.

  • Tong Vudhikosit (@tong_Orn) took the lead at UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School, bringing together multiple student clubs and coordinating with the administration throughout the project. For those of you in hiring positions, she's about to finish her MBA and is interested in marketing, social media and analytics as a career. She's already demonstrated her ability to take on a project and follow through to make it happen.

  • I-kong Fu (@ikongsgf), Brian McDonald (@bmcd67), and Varsha Chawla (@VarshaChawla) took on various pieces of the project. They already have jobs. :-)

  • The Kenan-Flagler facility is outstanding, and we got nothing but support from everyone at the school. If you can arrange to host your event at a top business school with a beautiful, new facility, I recommend it. Really, when was the last time you went to a conference that had installed power outlets at every seat and solid wi-fi in every room?

  • We had great food and drinks, provided by our sponsors. With no t-shirts or banners, the sponsors didn't get a lot of visible recognition, so I want to thank SAS and Capstrat again for their support.
Blogging AnalyticsCamp
I could tell from the tweets that I was missing some good sessions, and all I could do was hope that people would blog them. Fortunately, some did. I like the positive reviews, of course, but I'm particularly happy with the reactions from folks who weren't sure about the unconference format going in (even some of the organizers). Get the right people together to talk about an interesting topic, and it's really all you need.

Lessons
For a first effort, I think AnalyticsCamp went well, but we did learn some lessons. The agenda ended up too front-loaded, probably because we advertised the availability of too many spaces. Next time, we'll have someone to help keep the schedule balanced. We assumed a 20% no-show rate in our planning, but we ended up with more like 40% no-shows. The weather was a factor, but we turned away people who could have been there, and we had a lot of extra food at lunch. We'll allow more registrations next year.

What's next?
Before the day was over, people started asking about next year. We do want to do it again next year, but planning won't start until late this year. There was some discussion of starting a regular analytics meetup, but nothing to announce yet.

I'm working with a few folks in the Washington area to put together AnalyticsCamp DC. I've also heard from some folks who are interested in having similar events in Dallas, Milwaukee (or Chicago), and Boston. The thing about BarCamps is, nobody owns them, so if you want to have one in your city, go for it. Just let me know, and I'll do what I can to help you promote it.

About Nathan Gilliatt

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  • Voracious learner and explorer. Analyst tracking technologies and markets in intelligence, analytics and social media. Studying complexity and futures.
  • Principal, Social Target

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