Paul Campbell

A Roundup of Conference Wrapup Posts and Transparency Reports

Earlier today, Peter Cooper tweeted:

I’ve seen some great conference postmortems (including financials) over the years, but can find none now. Anyone got any links for me? :)

Occasionally I have to dig around to find examples of conference post-mortems and financials, so I thought it would be a good idea to bring a few together in one place. I’ve gathered these from a few different sources. I’m also very happy to see that a lot of them are Tito customers, along with a few Founding Customers.

In no particular order, I present to you a veritable treasure trove of links from people who organised conferences showing what they did and where the money went.

A first-time conference organiser Carter Rabasa explains his trepidation, process, and ultimately success at putting together a regional JavaScript conference.

These are super-cool. The JSConf gang and the LXJS gang have produced stylishly designed infographics of their conference-organising experience (with a good sense of humour thrown in for good measure). Both show the cost breakdown of tickets vs sponsors vs costs, and LXJS has a cool chart showing how expectations lived up to reality.

It looks like the Javascript conference community really lead the charge on numbers transparency, or maybe it’s just the circles I hang out in! This EmpireJS writeup has various levels of detail on what exactly they spent money on, justifications and tips.

Timely, since CodeMash is currently taking place in Sandusky, Ohio. Codemash’s planning sheet is an Excel spreadsheet that the organisers use for meal planning, AV costs, schwag and conference related todos. Definitely a good starting point for someone considering running their own conference.

LessConf was one of the best conferences I’ve ever been to. It’s no surprise to me then that the cost per attendee is over $800. I know this because they released all of their numbers in this handy chart.

“A lot of people seem to think those that organise and run conferences are swimming like Scrooge McDuck in a pool of money. I’m here to say it just isn’t the case”

A smart breakdown of a (relatively) smaller conference in Bristol.

&Yet make some justifications for spending a lot to reach a vision. This is a really good to show what it takes to put on something that is really extraordinary, innovative and important. Not your run-of-the-mill affair.

Finally, The NodeConf 2013 GitHub repo

Mikeal Rogers planned the whole of NodeConf 2013 using GitHub Issues in this repo. It’s very cool, and shows the whole organisation process, from initial concept through to discussions on where to take things. It was a good conference too!

It’s exciting to see so much transparency in the conference scene. Hopefully this vast array of information will encourage people to take informed decisions about the kind of conference that they want to run, without having to make too many guesses about how much things cost.

Update: Andy Davies recommended I look at the Plone Conference writeup, which provides another angle, where the organisers had to submit a bid to “host”. Interesting stuff.