The Road to WordCamp Albuquerque

So when I asked Jenifer De La Garza to help me plan a WordCamp I know it would be a lot of work, but I don’t think I really really knew how much.  Or maybe I did and I just was pretending not to.  Well, I am having a blast planning and I am so excited for September.

Planning a WordCamp has been a long time in the making here in Albuquerque.  At least in my mind.  For a couple of years I have pondered it, wishing I had the guts to do it.  I finally found a cohort and she actually agreed. Whew!

For future reference I am going to detail our process here.  Obviously we are well on our way, 8 weeks out, but up until now we have been mostly concentrating on getting the venue squared away.

We really agonized over a few venues, weighing issues like cost, suitability for WordCamp, ease of access, and lodging.  In the end cost won out, but not necessarily just because of a cheaper price.  The Sheraton really came through and gave us a lot of stuff for the venue.

So here is a list of stuff to date:

Make contact with WC Central

WC Central was unfortunately going through some staffing changes when we initially contacted them about doing our event so it took months before we finally heard back from them. But once we did the communication back and forth was easy and super helpful. When we first saw out city in the planning list on the WC website I about cried.

Get budget, date, and venue approved

This process could fill a book.  Date was easy.  Jenifer said to me, “So, when do we want to have this thing?” We threw around some dates and done!

In contrast, the anxiety involved in settling on the RIGHT venue is pretty intense.  And we couldn’t get on the WC schedule until we booked the venue.  And the issues.  Size, breakouts space, whether outside food was allowed or not, wifi, bandwidth… anyway, it is done now thankfully.

Budget was not so bad.  Our first crack at the budget was laughable.  This was before we made contact with WordCamp.  After we saw some sample budgets that other WordCamps posted on their websites it got easier. Now our budget is pretty decent and WC Central has some templates to use as starting points.

Get organization team together

We have a beautiful group of meetup members.  From this group came a bunch of fabulous and very helpful people.

Weekly meetings to keep everyone on track

We started out meeting via phone weekly.  I really don’t enjoy phone conferences.  With one or two people it is ok, but with 5-10?  Impossible, in my opinion.  So we started meeting at Flying Star.  I will never forget our first meeting n their meeting rooms.  The air conditioning was broken, I ordered this delicious East Indian style soup and had a cup of yummy coffee.  I ate half the bowl and barely touched the coffee.  But they gave it to us for free so I can’t complain too much.  Our second meeting there was much better.

Some people may think weekly meetings a bit much, but the thing is, not everyone shows at every meeting, so in order to keep everyone on track we really need the weeklies.

Create lists of potential sponsors

ABQWC is committed to a high percentage of local sponsorship and it is pretty cool how people are coming together.  It would be so cool if a WordCamp could be funded exclusively by individual small dollar amount sponsors.  Our lowest level is $150.

Create lists of potential attendees

Really, this is turning out to be as simple as creating a buzz through Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, etc. So doing the social thing, groups, groups, and more groups.

Contact potential speakers

We are still in the midst of this process, but it is surprisingly simple to find people who are not afraid to speak for 50 minutes on their favorite topic.

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