I have thanked the attendees privately via e-mail but wanted to post some thoughts here. Leading off with a plus/delta exercise, because this situation needs a quality tool …
- highly enthusiastic and convivial attendees
- excellent weather
- fun events
- Friday night in the Crossroads
- Saturday morning brunch, also in the Crossroads
- WWI museum
- legendary KC BBQ, dined al fresco due to good weather
- Sunday morning brunch at Union Station
- Truman Library
- good discussion during “symposium”
- my circadian rhythm, as affected by my work schedule
- at least three attendees had to cancel only a day or two before the meetup weekend
- communication gaps may have prevented at least two more from attending
- low number of formal presentations during “symposium”
- no video of “symposium”
- parking challenges
- one relatively expensive meal
Lessons-learned database entries:
- Reaching back a bit to the Denver meetup in late April, a twice-a-year, spring/fall rhythm seems like a good idea.
- The overall structure of a Friday night kickoff get-together, then ~4 activities on Saturday (including 2 meals), then a brunch and one more optional activity on Sunday, seems about right.
- There is pretty much no such thing as too much communication.
- Lead time should be at least a couple of months, and 3 – 4 months is better.
- The expectation of structured presentations/discussion should be clearly set, and prospective attendees should be encouraged to have something to deliver in the 20 – 40 minute range.
I am uncertain about future locations. I want to think that central US, generally longitudes 85° – 105° W, is preferable. We’ve done Denver and KC; the next two obvious possibilities are Chicago and D/FW.
Admittedly, if I could get away with it, I’d just keep having them in KC. It’s very centrally located and (mostly) cheap, and I’m confident I can get us free/extremely cheap conference-room space even if attendance grows well into double digits.
Anyway, feedback/suggestions welcome.