Running a good tech event is hard work, and lots of things need to come together in just the right way to make it a great experience for everyone. Of course, depending on the size and rank of the event you will encounter different problems. However, there are several universal rules, regardless of whether you’re planning a big technical conference or just a local meet-up. Trust our advice – we’ve been running many local events for years, including a large Sphere.it conference with around 600 participants!
First things first
So you have the idea of organizing a tech event. Before anything, you need to think about what problems you’re trying to solve, what your unique area of expertise is, or what your brand is already known for. People will sign up and attend if they know what is your thing and how they can benefit from it. Your event should have a unique theme, also try to include topics covering different levels of advancement so everyone would find something for themselves. It’s all about making your tech event feel unmissable!
Find your stars
If you want your event to stand out, make it truly relevant and useful to your attendees. One sure way to gain attraction here is to first secure at least one big-name speaker. Someone well-known and respected within the tech field. Choosing the right lecturers may be the most critical step of all. Your keynote speakers are the stars of the conference and a major draw for attendees. Remember that people who are highly professional and have something really interesting to share are the most valuable lecturers. Good advice here is to use the programme committee – experienced IT people who will help you find and reach the best speakers.
It’s worth spending more time choosing the venue that will not only fit the assumed number of participants but also will be a place suitable from many other angles. Starting from comfortable armchairs, through places with adequate sound system and visibility of the stage, venues close to the tram/bus stops, ending with attractive spaces which made talks nicer.
Practice makes perfect
When choosing specific forms of activities during your conference, try to diversify the program. Workshops, hackathons, all forms of cooperation and the translation of knowledge are particularly important. Also, think about promoting good dev practices (e.g. the contribution to open source solutions) as well as code of conduct. It provides an opportunity to demonstrate the same values (like general respect, kindness, helpfulness).
Getting the word out
If you already have a date of tech event, a venue, key speakers, a clear conference program, and a website (or event page) from now on, your main focus is promoting the conference. In a nutshell – be savvy with your marketing, invest in the right channels and have a proactive approach to commercial partnerships. For a truly remarkable event, you need to keep your attendees interested engaged before during and after the event!
Try to have a ‘somehow’ regular meetups or a conference that repeats every year. There’s a lot of pros of scheduled regular tech events. First of all, your local community is getting used to that you’re regularly providing them with the opportunity to be up-to-date with new tech trends, etc. As a result, your brand becomes more recognizable and is positively associated with knowledge, professionalism, and experience. One-off events are quickly forgotten.
At VirtusLab we believe in tech communities. As leading experts, we realize how important it is to share knowledge and exchange experience. For years now, we’re organizing a lot of regular tech events – once a year a large Sphere.it conference, and every month many smaller local events (we run a total of 9 meetup groups in Kraków, Kielce, and Rzeszów). You can read more about them here.