8 comments on “On Sponsorship- Initial reflections from ECTC11

  1. Brandt-
    I do appreciate the work that Sam and Ray & company put into this event. I also appreciate your role in this event. I have been in your shoes literally…. I don’t think anyone thinks badly of the sponsors or you or anyone. Helping out with an EventCamp you do risk a bad rap but more importantly you risk being thought of as a company that will try new things and will bust your ass to get them done. I think the actual live event looked really cool and worked well. The sound, lights, camera work were perfect (meaning I did not notice them at all) My beef is more of the execution, communication for the PODs, the game was confusing and took over the event for us. Once we were lost we were left behind. We received our Learning Journals, T-shirts Thursday afternoon in Oakland(which is an hour away) So we never had them.

    So as a regular event it seems it was perfect. Any sort of hybrid event component seems to be kind of a farce to me. maybe if I was watching in my office alone it might have worked. We as a pod felt like we were just part of the scenic design for the live room on a Plasma. I felt like I wasted my sponsors time and money for our pod. None of them stayed and I frankly looked really bad for talking up the event.

    My biggest question is why we couldn’t test this hybrid model before the event? If we are only using Skype?

    Anyway, On to the next one. I would not worry about what anyone says. Learn from it and move on to the next one… Excited you are going to Eventcamp Europe? That is awesome! I look forward to watching it virtually.

    Thanks for all your hard work.


  2. Beautifully said! Thank you for saying it. I have nothing but admiration for the sponsors who were courageous enough to support an event and event people who are willing to do whatever it takes–even risk some fails–to figure this out.

  3. Thanks, guys. And really, I’m not looking for a pat on the back, but I wanted to make sure that things didn’t get too far down the road in a bad way.

    I’m sorry the Pod experience didn’t work out so great- I’m sure Sam and Ray will take any and all feedback to heart, and it’s great info for anybody else trying to do something similar, and better.

    As to your biggest question, it’s a fair one. I started writing up my notes for “what went wrong in podland” to be published probably later tonight, and to be honest, a lot of it wouldn’t really shake out unless you were in a full scale test. And I mean FULL scale, which isn’t something so easily done. They tested the lines, they tested the calls, we tested the audio out, we tested the audio in, we even jury-rigged a way to route you the main camera feed which I think they’re going to expand on at ECEU, but I’m not sure yet what the final set will be. (How did that look, by the way?) Unfortunately, it really was several factors all working against each other to create such a mess, I think you’ll see what I mean when I lay it all out. I think the fullscale test was ECTC11.

  4. Brandt,
    Nice, well thought out post. At no time during the two days did I ever have the thought that the Sponsors were to blame for anything. I was amazed that Sam Smith and Ray Hansen were able to pull off the inaugural ECTC last year with all the things they were trying for the virtual audience.

    That is one reason why I opted not to attend this year’s ECTC in the flesh and chose to participate in the Philly pod as I was interested in seeing how the pod equipment needed to set-up and experience the event as a hybrid since it was a rave hit last year. I am glad that I was able to have this experience. Even though a few things had technical issues, it was still educational to me.

    If I were to say anything negative, it would be that this year they were trying to pour a 2 liter bottle of Coca-Cola into three 20 ounce bottles and they were overflowing. That said, having too much Coca-Cola is never a bad thing…. Looking forward to ECTC12!


  5. Glad to see Greg got in his Coke reference…I’m assuming they were a sponsor 😉

    I also did not think this event reflected poorly on sponsors. But I do think the sponsorships were poorly executed. You have a registration company sponsoring an event that does not use their registration system? Baffles the mind. As a viewer and pod attendee I did not really make any connection at all to the sponsors. To me they were simply logos on signage on on the website. That’s not a sponsorship. I also assume that many donated time and equipment and products and services etc. Yet it is very confusing as to what exactly was donated and who donated what.

    I think the lesson learned here for the sponsors is you really have to be involved in creating the sponsorship package. Not only does the event need to benefit from your sponsorhship but you do as well. You have to thoroughly decide what your goals and objectives are to come out of your sponsorship and be very proactive to ensure you get what you are promised. There has to be a good fit and there has to be more benefit to just getting your logo plastered on a website or signage. Good sponsorships take time to develop. Getting a good contract that both sides agree on is the first step. Leveraging that opportunity is the responsibility of the sponsor with assistance from the sponsee.

    I personally have two sponsors for our pod that I need to focus on. They were promised exposure on the event website which they do not have yet. I will keep working on that to get it fixed. But we did ensure they got a mention via Emilie Barta with an explanation of what exactly they do and what they sponsored. So we’re almost there.

    I do hope that each sponsor has an opportunity to meet with the organizers and discuss what went wrong. I also hope that the sponsors take the time to really analyze what worked and what didn’t internally and grow from the experience. Don’t quickly write off sponsorships…just be very careful about the partnership from the beginning.

  6. Hello Event Campers,

    SPONSORSHIP – Sometimes sponsors join a cause or event because they want press and increased business. Sometimes sponsors make a donation to a cause or event because they believe in what the event producers are trying to do.

    TECH – The tech on Event Camp Twin Cities 2011 was simply amazing. Check out a few of the tech innovations that worked:

    —-RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) FACEBOOK TAGGED NAME BADGES – These were used to “LIKE” Sponsored areas on site.
    —-GAME DYNAMICS: Encouraged “Sponsor Named Teams” to create or locate social media profiles and also create different multi-media presentations. Very hands on and participant driven. There were pieces that any event could use to its advantage.
    —-VIDEO: From high end webcast to pre-recorded challenge videos – videos were really executed very well for a low cost event. We are continually reminded that video is the future. Sam and Ray pushed us closer to that future.
    —-ELECTRICITY: There was always a plug when I needed it. For a tech driven event this was key!
    —-WI-FI: High speed WI-FI was available throughout the meeting. This is absolutely essential for a tech driven event that incorporates GAMES, VIDEO, TWITTER, etc. into the event. So many events get this wrong that Ray and Sam deserve getting credit for getting this right!

    (There was a problem with WI-FI on first day due to a University Hacking issue – I am looking forward to Sam’s report on this because this will be something to learn from “How do you prevent spammers from piggybacking on your bandwidth?”.)

    —-FACEBOOK APP for VIEWING: Ray broadcast both rooms through a Facebook App – I am not sure how many people were viewing feeds through Facebook but that was really cool because you could view and comment in real time to fellow viewers.
    —-MULTIPLE PODS and ROOM VIDEO FEED: We were able to see PODS video feed on screens in main room and their was a video camera (remote controlled movement!!!) pointed at us in the room. VERY COOL!!!

    Forget the rest of the education. That was just the tech!!!!!

    Everything and the kitchen sink was thrown at us. At times you felt dizzy from the blow but most of the time I was just blown away by all of the different elements that we can bring back to our events and our clients.

    This is the point of Event Camp. See ideas in motion. Pick the ones you like and improve upon them. Some things did not work and Ray and Sam let us know that would happen at the beginning of the event. I know that Sam in particular felt really badly that the pods were not able to interact as much as he had originally envisioned. I am sure it is something he will fix for next years event.

    I hope that sponsors feel that they contributed to pushing the events industry forward.

    Thank you to ~~> Active Network Events, OmniPress, Sonic Foundry Media Site, BeEvents, BizBash, eTouches, EventMobi, MetroConnections, Lantern, The Conference Publishers, McNamara Alumni Center, Martin Bastian and all the other sponsors that I missed from both the onsite event and the pods!

    Cameron Toth

    • Thanks for the comments, Cameron. Sometimes it’s easy to be blinded by the what went wrong and we need to be reminded what went right. I had completely forgotten that they’d run power to every table in the room- a really nice touch, and one that gets overlooked at almost every conference. I was told at one point the WiFi was running 16Mbps down- basically 16x faster than my DSL at home! That was all Ray and the MacNamara facility and they deserve all the credit in the world for that. I know the guys have been actively doing post-con calls and emails at a furious rate, and they’re digesting and collecting the data, positive and negative. Please be sure to send comments their way as well, and encourage all of you to fill out the post event surveys. The only way we learn is by getting feedback from the audience!

  7. Pingback: Event Camp Twin Cities 2011 – Recap & Replay | Event Camp Twin Cities

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