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« Design Portfolio Sets on Flickr | Main | Unpacking SOBCon07 »

SOBCon08 Suggestions

sobcon08.pngNow that I've taken a little time to unpack my thoughts about SOBCon07, I felt it would be a good time to share my suggestions for SOBCon08:

• More Workshops — I would love to see more workshop sessions, like we did with the "Iowa Caucus" of Mike Sansone, Mike Wagner and Drew McLellan. The ideas and collaboration from this session was energizing, but we ran out of time.

• Longer Breaks — I wished for more/larger gaps between sessions, to congregate with others and get to know them better. I just popped out to meet with people to solve it, but I'd prefer not to choose between sessions and meeting others.

• Free WiFi — T-Mobile WiFi was available for individual purchase, but I'd prefer a free, SOBCOn WiFi service to encourage more blogging during the event. I think 3 or 4 WiFi base stations would have been about right to avoid a saturated network.

• SOBCon Speaker & Attendee Page — I'd love to see an official speaker and attendee page on the SOBCon site, with names, photos, bios, 5 favorite posts and blog links. This would help new attendees "meet" other attendees before the event.

• Unified SOBCon Page & RSS Feed — What about a single Page and RSS feed, where any post with "SOBCon" and "SOBCOn08" tags would be included? Attendees could follow a single feed, and see every related post before, during and after the event.

• All Day Coffee — In the afternoon on Saturday, a couple of attendees and I were searching for coffee but found only stacks of soda bottles. It'd be great to keep hot coffee available all day, for those of us who like the rich, black brew. :-)

I hope these suggestions will encourage the '07 attendees to suggest some ideas in the comments, and be useful for SOBCon08 next year.

Reader Comments (13)

Great to read your thoughts!

Even better Mike to have sat next to you the first night and gotten to know you.

Like your idea for longer breaks.

And the interactive exercise us Iowa Boys conducted was energizing for me too. Adult learners are problem solvers and for that reason you want to let adult learners own the problem and work on it together.

Looking forward to the NEXT time!

Keep freaks people out,Mike
May 16, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterMike Wagner
Hi Mike,It was great to meet you. I wish I had longer to sit and talk with you some too.

Thanks for these great ideas. Every one of them has been noted. :)

Glad you were there to be a part of what we became together.Smiles,Liz
May 16, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterLiz Strauss
Mike, good thoughts. I was so caught up in the fun of it all that I didn't really think about what might be missing - but you bring up some excellent points that hopefully can be improved upon for next year!

Great to meet you last weekend, by the way!
May 17, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterEaston Ellsworth
You are right on with your suggestions. We definitely need more social time and the WIFI thing was definitely frustrating. Great comments.

And this means that we will see you next year with all these improvements? :D

May 17, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterLorelle
Hey Mike. I really like your suggestions. I'd include lengthening the conference to Fri-Sun so there's more time.

Also, some sort of 'program' that shows the speakers and attendees. Could be something where we all provide our photo and a brief write-up and plug it into some templated print layout. I've been involved with this sort of thing before and I know it's a bit of work. Yet, it can really add to the experience of meeting new people and getting to know each other.
May 18, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterDawud Miracle
Excellent suggestions, Mike. I have only one addition; don't schedule the event on Mother's Day week-end.
May 18, 2007 | Unregistered Commentertroy worman
I second that.
May 18, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterDawud Miracle
Mike � Thanks for your thoughts! I loved the interactive time, since it let us think and share ideas with each other. I enjoyed hanging out with you Friday night as well. :-)

Liz � Thanks for the visit and I do hope the ideas are helpful. I do realize some may not be practical when you balance everything, and there are reasons behind why the conference was what it was. In fact, had a hard time coming up with these suggestions, because the experience was so good!

Easton � It was good to meet and talk with you too. For me, it took several days to get to the suggestion aspect, so I know where you're coming from.

Lorelle � I wish I had more time to meet you! I thought your omments were excellent. I'm ready to help on SOBCon08! In fact Liz and I spoke this week about it, and I'm excited about helping out with graphics or whatever next year. :-)

Dawud � I'd love a little longer conference too! The program idea is a good one. I would also love to see a printed program/info book for the event and speakers. For all of the attendees it might be harder with late sign-ups, hence the idea for the web-based profile thingee.

Troy � Yep, for those farther away than Phil and I were, travel certainly ate into Mother's day. Even Phil and I got home around 1am, so it made for an early rise for church on Sunday. :-)

Thanks for the comments everyone, feel free to add more!
May 18, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterMike Rohde
This suggestions should be written in ink! Especially the one about the coffee and the longer breaks (not enough "get-to-know-each-other" time, hmm?)

Great meeting you (all) and we should do it again soon.
May 19, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterMike Sansone
I've done a program like that before. What you do is create a standard page format and include all the people who register by a certain date. Then, for those who register after the date, you give them a template that they can create themselves, print and bring to the conference - loose-leaf style. That way, everyone can get everyone else's info. Of course the conference I did this at was under 350 people - 300 of whom registered in time. Somewhere around 20 people brought the loose-leaf page. But it still served.
May 19, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterDawud Miracle
SOBCon was a blast! but i agree with some of the suggestions you made, the wi-fi thing would be a really good thing, and also power supply to all the tables instead of only 3 or 4 tables (i was blogging during breaks..), and of course, the coffee! :)

I enjoyed every single minute of sobcon though! It was awesome meeting everyone, but i agree, longer breaks could have been a good thing (just have to make sure it wouldn't take the focus away from the actual presentations) i'm really really happy with all the connections and relationships and networking that week-end provided! it was amazing! :)
May 20, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterJonathan-C. Phillips
So far, nobody's made the obvious suggestion - make it a day longer! If we're going to add more social time, we don't want to lose the content either, so we'll need more time, don't you think?

For cost-consious folks, make each day's "theme" be "self-contained", so if you have to limit your attendance, you can choose the day(s) you want.

The hotel was REALLY nice! But expensive.
May 23, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterRobert Hruzek
Mike, never thought that if we have all-day coffee we may *need* those longer breaks! :-)

Dawud, really interesting idea for the book. So maybe the attendees could be given 3 ring binders with all materials in them -- thay way when a new page is added it's easy to slide in. Presenters could also provide handouts pre-punched for this too. Interesting!

Jonathan, Thanks for the comments! I like the idea of power strips to all tables, since some cam with older laptops with batteries that had a little less stamina! :-)

Robert, I think someone mentioned longer on my last post � I agree! I think having more time would be good, though as you note, the price also goes up accordingly.

Your self-contained day idea is very cool. That way you can come to what you can afford, yet the whole of the conference would stay within the greater theme.
May 23, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterMike Rohde

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