I think we could improve these events with some little tweaks that would make the experience of every attendee better.
- Manage the noise level. This is the most important thing. Noise must be low during the "networking phase", which means that the venue should not produce too much sound acoustically (and if it's not possible, simply reduce the number of people attending your event). People should be able to talk to each other at more than 20cm away after a talk. I can't count the number of times I approached a group, finding that I couldn't hear one single word because the room was too loud.
- Get 3 mics at least. One for the moderator, one for the speaker (or group of speakers), and one for the audience. The audience also wants to listen to the questions. The speaker or moderator should repeat the question after hearing it anyways, but this common practice is often forgotten, unfortunately.
- Fresh air access. This is more for conferences, since meetups are usually shorter. There's nothing worse than not being able to go outside for a few minutes every hour. Headaches and odors await otherwise.
- Find ways to nudge people to talk to each other. There will be groups of people that know each other, so the task is, by default, harder for strangers. Give them help, find ways to make interaction more natural. It's not that hard, I think (but it depends on the venue and what your event is about). For conferences, what I like is when other activities are offered (games for examples) — it's good to have breaks. And many times you can meet new people more easily in a different setup.
- Reduce. The. Number. Of. Attendees. I get it that organizers don't want a small number of people at their meetups or conferences. It's not as profitable and it's not as good for the press/reputation, but participants will thank you. 1) It helps people talking to each other after a talk. 2) It reduces noise. 3) It creates intimacy and makes people ask more questions to the speakers. 4) And, in fact, it reduces your cost and makes everything more manageable.
There're many other things to do, but these are my main frustrations. For the rest, the talk linked above is excellent! :)
The biggest differentiator between a studio that creates a really high-quality [product] and a studio that doesn't isn't the quality of the team.
It's their dev tools.
If you can take fifty shots on goal, and you're a pretty shitty hockey player, and I can only take three shots on goal and I'm Wayne Gretzky, you're probably going to do better.
That's what tool are. It's how fast can you iterate, how stable are they, how robust are they, how easy it is as a nontechnical artist to move a thing.
[This] one is pretty goddamn important: Don’t try to beat a network by making a clone with improvements. It ain’t gonna work. There is too much gravitational inertia in the original network; nobody is incentivized to leave it.
There are some approaches that will work […]. Both approaches require you to get into an entirely different market and build a network there. You can’t beat a strong network head-on, but you can flank it.
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I have redesigned Solar Sailer, making the home page the most important one and refocusing this site as a way to find me on Internet. The blog is relegated to a secondary part of the website. I still plan to publish articles, but the focus of Solar Sailer is to quickly know who I am, what I've done and where you can find me. The rest is a bonus. → Read More
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