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So it finally came!  The big St. Louis Day of .NET event.  Man was I tired afterwards.  We had it at CAIT and we reached our limit of the number of bodies that were supposed to fit into that facility.  We had to finally shut off registrations because we were afraid there would not be enough room for everyone to sit!  CAIT is a teaching facility so the rooms were laid out with workstations and plenty of desktop space.  We rented chairs to fill in the blanks.  Some rooms were VERY tight.  Next year, we'll limit the number of chairs.  As we topped 250 registrations, we were worried where we'd fit everyone.  Eventually, we had to turn off the registration site because the names just kept pouring in!  I'm sure we would have registered well over 300 if we let it go up until the last day.

Not only did we close registration because of the numbers, we had to stop it for financial reasons.  Ordering breakfast/lunch/snack for 250 of your closest friends takes money up front and lead time to order.  Not to mention ordering attendee shirts (which turned out awesome I thought!) and the cool flash drives that we included in the attendee bag.  I guess we could have had a last minute registration price that didn't include the food or cool stuff, but we chose not to.

Our registration was handled by BusyEvent.com and it went pretty smoothly.  Airline style check-in with badges on lanyards.  (No event is official without badges.)  Their staff was on site to help facilitate the process but it went pretty smoothly -- thanks to their software and work done ahead of time.  A big thanks to them for handling that part of the conference.

We had a super bunch of sponsors -- which allowed us to pay for things that would have made the conference impossible if we didn't have.  The attendee cost didn't quite cover all the expenses we had -- we tried to lower the attendee cost such that we'd just break even after everything was paid.  it worked out pretty close too!  (Who knew that renting a few chairs would be almost $500?)

Last but not least let me mention our speakers.  What a great group of people.  We threw them in tiny rooms packed full of people and told them they needed to do their presentations multiple times -- and they gave some outstanding talks.  We heard great feedback from the attendees.  We certainly could not have pulled this off without their generosity.  We had so many speakers (24) that there was no way someone could hear them all -- even with them presenting twice during the day.

So, next time -- what'll be different?

Apparently people can't go full blast from 8:00am to 5:00pm without a break.  (We didn't have a lunch break -- grab your food and move to the next session.)  I think next time we'll build in some more breaks or fun things.  Maybe have some Xbox play rooms?  How about a nap room with big comfy lazy boy chairs?  Something, anything for a break.

We'll probably close registration earlier next time just to facilitate ordering supplies.

Anyway, it was a fun day.  I had no idea how much work it would be to cover all the details of the day.  (Paper coffee cups vs styrofoam ... blue shirts vs beige shirts ... signs, portrait or landscape ... "Future of C#, big room or small room)

I'd be happy to listen to any suggestions you might have about this event or conference planning in general.  I hope to post a few photos soon.  (Mental note, next time, assign someone to take photos!)

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Posted on Friday, December 19, 2008 10:53 AM | Back to top


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