I am extremely happy to share the success of “Flash Camp Chennai“. It was an exhaustive 50 days preparation work for making this happen. This was the first time I am part of an organizing team and it was a great learning experience. All I can say is “Event management is not easy” especially for a small team.
50 days back:
When we decided to do this event(after the support from John Koch), we just had 50 days time. I was not really confident of doing this event in a short time, especially because “Flash Camp” is an international event. I raised lots of concerns, but Ananth convinced me saying “We can do it”.
For the next 3 days we did all the planning. We all agreed to first launch the website ASAP. So I immediately started to design a layout. Within a day I came up with couple of layouts(see below)
We made few changes to it and freezed one layout and I started designing the page in XHTML / CSS3. I completed the design in one more day. So within two days I had the XHTML page ready to be launched. But we couldn’t release it immediately as we were short of content.
It took few more days(after working long nights) to freeze all the pages. Finally on Nov 1st 2010, we launched the website http://www.indiflashcamp.com. We created a Twitter account, Facebook account to advertise the event. We had 200+ visits for the first day.
Registration now open:
The registration was not opened immediately as we were in a dilemma in choosing between Eventbrite and Doattend. So we just opened a pre-registration to gauge the interest. We got 77 pre-registrations in 6 days. We were happy about that.
Once we decided to go ahead with Doattend, we opened the registration on 6th Nov 2010 with 35% discount.
Slow & steady registrations:
For the next couple of days we had 0 registrations. Our first registration came on 9th Nov 2010. After that we had steady registrations happening everyday. We were extremely confident that we will get good numbers.
In the mean time we got in Intel as one of our main sponsor. They were willing to sponsor the “App Showcase” part of the event. We planned to give away prizes worth Rs.15,000. We got good number of apps entering the contest. This section was completely handled by Umesh.
Food was a headache:
Sathish was the one who was handling all the logistics part of the event. One of the major headache he had was getting good food for the event. Food being an important part of the event, we had lots of confusion in deciding the menu. The most important thing is that it should be good and cost effective. So we arranged for a caterer who was booked for Doctypehtml5 event(scheduled on 27th Nov). I went to the event to check the quality of the food. To be frank I didn’t like the quality of the food. At that point I really feared about the food for Flash Camp.
Spark(not a flex framework):
We were still exploring the possibilities of having a good food. Ananth is a kind of guy who gets creative ideas instantly. He came up with a sparkling idea of serving packed food for Flash Camp. The idea came as a big relief to Sathish. They both decided Pizza + Biriyani is the best combination.
All the participants loved the food at the event. This was indeed a great success for trying out a new idea.
Last few days:
With just few more days to go, we had lots of things in the pending list. It was very difficult to manage because Sathish was the only guy who was working full-time. Rest of us were working part-time. Everyone had their tasks cutout. We received all the materials(Rope bag, Participant kit, Notepad, Pencil, Mug, T-Shirt) on time.
Dec 10, 2010:
Sathish went to the Venue early in the morning. He was making sure that banners, posters, etc were all set up properly. I went to the society office at 11:00 am. First thing i needed to do was to take print outs of Certificates, ID cards and Agenda. I finished all the work with the help of Umesh and Jack and reached the venue by 4:30 pm. By this time the pre-conference session had already been started by Immanuel. I met Harish and Suijt there and spent some time with them.
The immediate task for me was to setup WiFi connection with the help of Anjan. We had lots of limitations. We didn’t have enough routers and LAN cables to cover the entire hall. So Anjan instructed me to get LAN cable of 100 metres length. It was 6:00 pm already. I kick started my bike and went straight to MERCY ELectronics at Vadapalani and bought a CAT 5E LAN cable of length 150 metres(50 metres extra). 1m cable costs Rs.14. Next headache for me was that MERCY does not do crimping the cables. I got an appropriate contact from them and managed to get the work done.
Slept for 2 hours:
After having a special Mubarak biriyani and preparing the checklist, I left the office at 12:00 am. After reaching home I worked for few more hours and forced myself to go to bed at 3:00am. Apparently both Sathish and Umesh didn’t sleep the whole night. It was a sleepless night for them.
Dec 11, 2010:
This was the big day. We all reached the Venue at 6:50 am but we already had Anjan out there working on WiFi setup. Umesh headed the Volunteer team and gave them instructions to prepare the participant kit. In parallel me and Anjan were configuring the WiFi connection. Anjan used 3 Switches, 3 Routers and 100m LAN cable to set up the WiFi successfully. I didn’t do any technical stuff, but helped him in laying the cables and placing the Routers. The main Hall was now equipped with WiFi.
The registration started at 8:00 am. We had some early registrations. We had a very good crowd at 9:00 am. We were all set to kick start “Flash Camp Chennai” with the welcome note by Sathish.
The event was well attended with 350 participants. We had “App showcase” contest running parallel. We received special appreciation from Intel for getting in quality apps. We got positive feedback from all the participants and everybody enjoyed the event.
I thank all the people who supported us in bringing this epic event. I specially thank John Koch, Ananth & Ramesh for making this happen. We would like to conduct many such events in future with all your support.
Thanks for being patient and reading till this point.
For more information about the event check out http://www.indiflashcamp.com