PodCamp Montréal: Anatomy of a success

PodCamp Montréal was a blast. Anybody who attended last weekend will tell you. And I’m not saying that to pump up my own stuff; people didn’t stop telling us during the weekend and it’s also the info that’s been spread out all over the web. I’ve heard some comments like “the best podcamp ever”. Wow! I didn’t expected that.

But success does not happen by magic. There was a lot of hard work involved believe me. And we didn’t know at first but some of the things that made this event what it was were decided instinctively, almost by accident.

The dream team
The members of the organizing commitee had all sorts of strengths, often complementary to other member’s strengths. May it be the good tips of Bob Goyetche in organizing a similar event, the colossal work that Laurent Lasalle did on the website, the fundraising talent of Mitch Joel, the support for the WiFi and the streaming of the sessions by Laurent Maissonnave and his colleagues, the brilliant advices of Hugh McGuire, the budget-structuring of Jean-François Blais, the good press that Michelle Sullivan worked hard to get, the volunteers brought by Harold Boeck or the experience of Julien Smith in organizing a PodCamp (and I must say, the cool factor he brought both to our meetings and in that video). When I look at it, there couldn’t be a better team for a PodCamp!

One of the best things we did was to ask great speakers to submit a session. A lot of them are friends and we felt that the participants could benefit from learning from them. I think it had an impact on the average quality of the sessions and it probably motivated all the other great speakers to do the same. We also worked on the schedule a bit. We didn’t want to end up with 3 sessions in french at the same time and leave the anglophones with nothing to do.

Providing a shell
Really, we did some work to secure the place and the hotel rates, have some goodies and facilities, but other people were all responsible for the success of the event. Great speakers asked to present and awesome people showed up from all over the place. New York, Toronto, Boston, Milwaukee, Buffalo, Québec City, San Francisco… even from St-John’s Newfoundland and Singapore! It was more in numbers, distance and quality than what we first thought, and it was much appreciated. We provided a nice shell, participants filled it with great content and energy.

What’s next?
A lot of people talked to us like it was obvious that there was going to be another one. They were saying things like: “Next year, you should do this and that” or “Keep that venue for next year”. People loved it. People expect it to happen again. Will we do it again? We won’t answer yes right now or begin to plan for dates, but chances are good. Very good.


Photography by Marko Kulik

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