Whew – it’s over! The first live GroupBy webcast is in the books. A few things to know:
- The recordings are available – you can watch last Friday’s sessions now and check out the slides and scripts
- Friday’s lineup and calendar invites
- The next GroupBy will be April 21 & 28, back-to-back Fridays
- Session submission is open now
Now, let’s talk about last Friday’s event.
How Registration and Turnout Worked
1,758 folks registered. Here’s how attendance looked during the morning sessions (up to lunch):
Attendance climbed and then held steady through the first 3 sessions. We closed the webcast for a minute at lunch because it makes it a little easier to deal with the GoToWebinar recording files when they’re a little smaller, and then reopened it immediately:
Afternoon attendance popped right back up to 400 – the first hour was just lunch, so no meetings were happening – but then steadily trailed off through the day. We finished at around 7PM Eastern, so I’m not surprised that people left for their drive home. (International attendees talked about how early/late it was at their place.)
I didn’t schedule sessions based on popularity at all, but just speaker availability. I sent a poll to the speakers asking what times they couldn’t present, and then worked backwards from there, filling out the jigsaw puzzle.
I’d closed out registrations when we hit 1,500 because I was worried about banging up against GoToWebinar’s 1,000-attendee limit. We only had a 40% attendance rate, though, so we were fine. I won’t put a cap on registrations on the April GroupBy, but we’ll have to keep an eye on this.
How the Presentations Worked
The volunteer presenters did an incredible job. Great material, great demos, great delivery, and great job of making their materials available before the presentations were even over. I can’t thank them enough.
I got several comments about how the video & audio was great – that’s due to the speakers all picking up webcams and good-quality microphones as recommended in the Speaker FAQ. Again, fantastic job by the speakers there.
We did have one hiccup with one presenter’s internet speed – it simply wasn’t fast enough for a remote presentation with audio & video. I’m up for ideas on how we handle that – for example, should we require that presenters include a bandwidth test with their submission?
How the Attendee Interactivity Worked
Lively discussions happened in three places:
- Twitter with the #GroupBy hash tag
- Slack with ~100 folks in sqlcommunity.slack.com #groupby (go here to get an instant invite)
- GoToWebinar’s built-in Questions function
I do wish we could make it all happen in one place – it’d be more vibrant, and I’d really love to have it happen in a searchable, archived place – but that’s not realistic in early 2017. A lot of folks only want to use one communication method, and Twitter and Slack are blocked at some offices. For 2017 at least, being a co-host is going to mean having a lot of open windows and doing a lot of context switching.
How the Scheduling Worked
I went into this expecting to do a lot of co-hosting work. I thought I’d be filling a lot of gaps between sessions, talking to the audience, doing demos of concepts.
Nnnnnope. As Andy Mallon told me, sessions are made of gas – they expand or contract to fill all available space.
At the same time, I got a lot of feedback that the between-sessions casual banter between me, Aaron Nelson, Aaron Bertrand, and the other presenters was super-fun to watch. Attendees felt like they were going backstage.
So for the April GroupBy, we’ll run sessions every 2 hours. Speakers will still get a max of 80 minutes, then a 10-minute bio break, then 30 minutes for the next presenter to set up and talk shop. Other presenters can also have their webcams & audios on during that time. (Several presenters stayed online the whole day.)
This does mean we’ll have less sessions – only 4-5 instead of 6 – but I think the shop talk is valuable for a bunch of reasons:
- It makes the presenters more relatable to attendees
- It further builds the presenters’ brands and reputation in the community
- It encourages an open discussion between the presenters (because we don’t get enough chances to talk to each other face-to-face)
- It might encourage attendees to submit sessions and become part of this club
Anything else you think we should tweak about GroupBy so far?