I’ve been attending the Metro Detroit WordPress Meetup for nearly three years now, and for the past year I’ve been on the organizing team. From the moment I stepped into that meetup, I’ve wanted WordCamp Detroit to become a reality. A little over a week ago, it finally did!
The last WordCamp that happened in Detroit was back in 2012. Being so long since the last WordCamp, we had no idea what type of audience to expect nor what kind of a response to expect. The seven of us on the organizing team set out to put together a manageable first time back. We picked a venue, the home of our monthly WorPress meetup – Grand Circus, and we capped our attendance at 150 attendees, which would be about the maximum capacity we could safely hold at Grand Circus.
First of all, the response was absolutely amazing. We sold out a full 45 days before the event and the waitlist we offered ended up exceeding the number of attendees and our expectations.
— Laura Eagin (@choolaura) April 30, 2018
As a member of the organizing team, I couldn’t be more pleased with the way the event turned out. We had a FANTASTIC lineup of talented speakers, a ready and willing volunteer crew, and a venue that lended itself well to the WordCamp format.
What went well
The venue was perfect and right-sized for the number of attendees
We had a majority Detroit-based lineup of speakers, with roughly a 50/50 mix of men and women
The organizing team did an excellent job of using local, independently-owned vendors and restaurants
A response and interest level far above our expectation
Swag that wasn’t sized
Packets with introduction and time cards for our room captains
What could have gone better
A member of the organizing team at the registration table during the morning hours to help with questions about the event
More user-centric talks
Better management and promotion of the happiness bar
The larger rooms could have benefited from amplification for the speakers
The WordCamp provided video cameras aren’t the best quality and can be troublesome
We could have used a couple more volunteers
All-in-all, for our first time as a group organizing a WordCamp, I couldn’t be more pleased – and we’re already looking forward to making WordCamp Detroit 2019 even better!