On December 8th we held the first ever CreatorCamp in Ottawa. CC Chapman and Mark Blevis review the Ottawa event nicely. I couldn’t be more pleased with how the event turned out. It boggles my mind how easily this came together, and I have learned a few things in the process.
I won’t rehash the whole process, Mark does a great job breaking it down in a 4-part series of posts here, but here’s the main flow from idea to reality.
1. Snarky Tweet -> 2. Expanded thought -> 3. Name a date and make it happen*
That project flow won’t make it onto the bestseller lists, but the event on December 8th proves it’s a valid process none the less. If I break this down, here’s what I see :
1 – Snarky Tweet – “What if we leave PodCamp to marketers, and start #creatorcamp ..”
I’m all for agreeing with people, but if you do see something you don’t like – say it! There are plenty of people who just wait for “thought leaders” to say something so that they can agree. I’ve been called a thought leader by some in this space, and I’ll let you in on a secret, a thought leader isn’t necessarily who thought it first, but who said it first. So express your thoughts, “Well said Chris” doesn’t do anything.
So the snarky tweet born out of a feeling that an event no longer spoke to me gets many replies, retweets, and generates MANY private messages to me that tell me I’ve hit upon something, and now would be a good time to expand on that.
2- Expanded thought – in other words, back it up!
It’s so easy to be that person that just bitches about stuff. We know them, sometimes we ARE them. Bitching on its own will do very little to address the issue or enhance your image. Think of some of the “social media experts” you know – I’m sure you already have a name in mind – all they do is bitch and never offer more. Whether it’s because they won’t or can’t is up for debate.
So propose a solution to what you’re bitching about. I used a blog post to make my thoughts known. Here’s the cool part, you don’t have to follow up on it or make it happen. It doesn’t have to be right or the “final answer” or anything. Your proposed solution at best will move the debate forward, and at worst at least show you’ve thought about it somewhat.
3- Make it happen
This was the surprising part to me. This step wasn’t my idea. The CreatorCamp idea was just sitting there, and I didn’t have the cycles/motivation/time/whatever to push it from idea to event. Then, something interesting happened. It looked like CC Chapman, Mark Blevis and I would be getting together for a few beers on Ottawa. Mark saw the opportunity and suggested we do CreatorCamp then. That was the magic moment. The event had a name and now a date. Those 2 things made all the other things happen.
The effect of a set date can not be underestimated. If you say let’s do this soon – there is no commitment, because soon is relative, and very flexible. December 8th 2010 though, is pretty hard to change, so all other decisions were made in function of that.
In fact, if you’re thinking of planning an event, pick a name and date would to me be the two most important things. Seems obvious, but it’s so powerful.
Let it happen – CreatorCamp Ottawa was a great event, and throughout the evening I couldn’t help but feel that the way the event was going was exactly how it should happen. It could have been completely different and still that would have been perfectly how it should be.
in the round – the layout of the tavern where we held CreatorCamp meant that there were seats all around the person speaking. This was just great – not only did it force the person speaking to move around and interact, it also fostered interaction between the audience, as they were facing each other, not just forward to a speaker.
keep it small – One of the things we noticed when organizing the PAB conference is that 80 people interact much more easily than 120. CreatorCamp Ottawa had around 45 people, and the interaction level was quite high. It’s not up to me, but I suggest capping the event at 50, otherwise people will naturally break into groups, and someone will be left out. A small number keeps everyone engaged.
Overall, I couldn’t be more thrilled at how CreatorCamp is evolving, and with the success the first event. 2011 brings CreatorCamp to Calgary, Montreal, Boston … and based on conversations maybe Chicago and Windsor.. I’d love to see your city on this list. All you really need to have a CreatorCamp is someone willing to talk their creative process, and someone willing to listen. Email me with any questions, I’d love to help you make it happen.
So all this happens because of a snarky tweet. I can’t say I never got anything of value from twitter anymore. crap.