‘Don’t call it a comeback’, LL Cool J screamed down a mic. He was right, comeback isn’t the right word for his exceptional career. In a similar way, ‘post-mortem’ doesn’t really seem right. We’re not investigating the death of VideoBrains or focusing on what’s gone wrong.
Maybe I’ll refer to it as an epilogue from now on. That fits better, I think.
Anyway, March. Another fun blog with me. I’ll be pulling out some ideas I’ve been thinking of over the week and sharing them as I did last month.
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First though, an apology regarding a slightly spiky subject. I had a few noise complaints from both speakers and listeners and while I try to be pretty hands-off in moderating the event once I’ve got people to the venue, people were talking during the questions and even during some of the talks. This isn’t cool, so if we could all be aware of this for future talks I won’t have to get frowny-faced.
Anyway, let’s brush that under the rug and talk about scheduling.
We’re breaking attendance records month on month and getting closer and closer to the capacity of the venue. This time we had to move all of the tables out of the way. Eek.
There’s a lot of quiet suggestions that we search for a bigger venue but I’d like a couple of months of normality before I consider that. I’m having conversations regarding running VideoBrains in four cities at the moment, so my metaphorical plate is pretty full. Ticket sales for March are a little slower than they were for February, but I’m not concerned.
Scheduling. Social Time and You.
This is the main part I want to touch on – At VideoBrains the formula for a successful event is a little different to other events: it’s essential to balance making sure your guests have fun with making them come away feeling like they’ve learnt something.
A concern of mine is that I’m failing somewhat here. There’s lots of lectures and talks, but not as much of the fun, and I know for a lot of people that’s absolutely fine. I’m lucky to have a whole bunch of supporters who come just for the talks and I really value them. There’s also a lot of people that’ve told me they felt a little cold that there wasn’t enough of a break time. Our shocking reputation for overrunning supports this claim.
I don’t much want to overrun, and I definitely don’t want people to come away feeling like they’re not getting enough learning bang for their buck, but I also don’t want people to feel like they’re trapped in secondary school.
The solution for this has fallen into my lap somewhat. Since December, we’ve had someone pull out of the event every month, bringing the slightly optimistic seven speakers down to a more manageable six. I’m intending to make this the norm from now on, so all VideoBrains events from July onwards (not including Nottingham which is FULL of talks) will just have six speakers. There will be a greater focus on making sure that talks run to time and, as a result of this, we should be able to give people better breaks. I haven’t come up with a perfect idea for the scheduling yet, but, as it’s a few months away, I think we’ve got time.