Since announcing CreatorCamp Ottawa, there has been a bit of buzz about the idea and several people have approached Bob and me to ask about the event and the possibility of organizing one in their own city. So, I’ve decided I’d use my blog to go behind the scenes of organizing the first ever CreatorCamp.
Bob Goyetche first published the idea of CreatorCamp on his blog. The comments section of the post shows quick and wide interest in the idea. Lots of people seemed committed to the idea yet noone acted on it. I’d considered being the first person to run a CreatorCamp because I like to make things happen. However, I’m often credited for ideas that aren’t mine even after providing attribution –publicly– and didn’t want to invite that problem, again. As a result, I parked the idea, hoping someone else would run with it.
THE “GO” DECISION
I interviewed C.C. Chapman earlier this week to promote his December 8 presentation at Social Media Breakfast Ottawa. CC and I carried on talking after the interview. While considering pulling together a geek dinner the evening after his presentation, CC suggested trying to get some Montreal folk to join us. Our first (and only) call was to Bob. As we talked about ways to get Bob to make an evening trip to Ottawa. I ended up suggesting that perhaps we should christen Bob’s CreatorCamp that night. It was agreed. We would try to organize something.
Bob and I are known as the co-organizers of PAB, a conference about digital content creation and audience engagement. It’s a formal conference with a passionate and committed community. It takes months to organize a three-day event packed with speaking sessions, social events and catering. We’ve also organized PodCamp Ottawa in what we believe to be the simplest and most true-to-the-premise way to organize that event — we found a venue, set up a Wiki to coordinate the event and registration with everyone interested in attending, announced no sooner than three weeks before the event and kept it small and manageable.
It’s important to note that Bob and I are a great team. We’re both passionate people, committed as much to the process as to the product and not so ego-centric that we put our own interests ahead of the other or the event. While we agree on an unhealthy number of decisions and ideas, neither of us is a yes-man. We routinely question each other and challenge our ideas as an exercise to ensure nothing needs to be defended. There is the odd time we agree on a compromise or allow the more passionate of the two of us to run with an idea the other isn’t particularly married to nor concerned about. This dynamic has always made for great events, positive community reception and an incredible friendship. I believe the best events happen because of a coordinating partnership, not a single person or committee.
Immediately after Bob, CC and I hung up, I tweeted that CreatorCamp Ottawa was in the works. A few responses came in right away including offers of help from @idealien and @suzemuse. Sue’s offer was more direct, offering to help us find space. We kicked around a few ideas and set some parameters like keeping the event small (100 people) and having the flexibility to hold two concurrent sessions. Sue offered to make some calls to secure some space.
The next morning, Bob set up a Wiki to which I forwarded CreatorCamp.org. Sue and I used email and SMS to stay in touch as she worked on the venue.
Here’s a quick summary of key decisions and actions from that first twelve hours:
- decision: let’s have an event and plan it to take place when CC is in town
- important: have a good co-organizer (two heads are better than one)
- decision: keep the event small (100 people) and flexible (the option to have two concurrent streams)
- action: promote the event even with basic decisions in place
- action: set up a website (in our case a Wiki) for information and registration
- action: have an easy to remember domain name (CreatorCamp.org)
- action: involve the community to help plan a community event