Logistics questions to organize a LaidOffCamp

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Vijay Krishna

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Mar 19, 2009, 8:25:16 AM3/19/09
to LaidOffCamp
# What was the budget for the SF LaidOffCamp (LOC)? We're trying to
get a sense of how much we should budget for and how we'd go about
raising the money; any heads-up you can give us on that, from your
experience would be very useful.
# How did you pitch the event to sponsors and hiring companies?Any
tips there for us?
# What about promotion - was it mostly online? Again, your input on
what worked for SF LOC, would help us with the Chicago LOC.
# We would like to leverage off of some of the tools and
infrastructure you have in place already, like the wiki and event-
brite - can we schedule a quick call to go over some of this with you?
# We were thinking of a slight diversion from the Bar Camp idea for
Chicago LOC where we would invite some speakers as well - let me know
if you have any objections to us changing the format a bit.

Chris Hutchins

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Mar 19, 2009, 10:05:48 AM3/19/09
to LaidOffCamp
Below is my attempt to answer these questions. Please feel free to ask
any follow up questions you may have.

Q: What was the budget for the SF LaidOffCamp (LOC)? We're trying to
get a sense of how much we should budget for and how we'd go about
raising the money; any heads-up you can give us on that, from your
experience would be very useful.

A: The budget for a LaidOffCamp can vary drastically based on the # of
attendees. However, the only two major costs are food and the venue.
For example, you can almost eliminate your food costs by planning the
event in-between meal times. Also, if you can find a venue to
contribute their space, that cost will also be non-existent.

The SF event had a total cost of ~$4,000, for ~400 attendees; ~$1,500
of that was for food and ~$2,000 of that was for the venue / chair
rental. However, in SF we were more than able to cover those costs
through sponsorships and attendee donations (keep in mind, we never
required any attendee to pay for the event. The complete SF Budget is
available at http://laidoffcamp.pbwiki.com/SanFranciscoBudget.

In Dallas, LaidOffCamp was only around 50-75 people and occurred from
1pm - 5pm. They had $0 in food costs and were able to find completely
free venue to host the event. Their total budget was only ~$70 for
marketing expenses.

Q: How did you pitch the event to sponsors and hiring companies? Any
tips there for us?

A: We shared http://laidoffcamp.pbwiki.com/SanFranciscoSponsorLetter
to our sponsors and http://laidoffcamp.pbwiki.com/SanFranciscoHiringCompanies
to our Hiring Companies

Q: What about promotion - was it mostly online? Again, your input on
what worked for SF LOC, would help us with the Chicago LOC.

A: Promotion for SF was done entirely online. The two most successful
tools we used were Facebook, to track # of attendees (before we opened
up the EventBrite ticket page) and Twitter, as a means for
disseminating information. However, I would take advantage of every
possible online marketing tool you have available to you: Posting to
event calendars, commenting on blogs, talking to the media / sending
press releases (example: http://pr.laidoffcamp.com), and anything else
you can think of.

Q: We would like to leverage off of some of the tools and
infrastructure you have in place already, like the wiki and eventbrite
- can we schedule a quick call to go over some of this with you?

A: I'm always happy to have a call with anyone to discuss planning a
LaidOffCamp. My number is 917-512-1782. HOWEVER, by having a phone
call, we're restricting the availability of the conversation we're
having to just us, and preventing everyone else from being privy to
that information. If you have a question that isn't easy to answer
through email, please don't hesitate to give me a call any time from
10am - 11pm PST.

Q: We were thinking of a slight diversion from the Bar Camp idea for
Chicago LOC where we would invite some speakers as well - let me know
if you have any objections to us changing the format a bit.

A: I'm not sure I completely understand your question, so I'll try to
give answer both ways that I could interpret it:

If you're thinking of inviting people to come to the event and
scheduling a time for them to present or even just confirming the fact
that they will be presenting, that would (at present time) go against
the idea behind LaidOffCamp (http://laidoffcamp.pbwiki.com/
TheRulesOfLaidOffCamp). The concept of starting the morning with an
open grid where no single person has any more right to speak than
another person is a fundamental current principles of LaidOffCamp.

If you're just thinking of inviting people interested in presenting to
the event so that they can sign up to present in the morning, then you
most certainly should do that.

I have no doubt that an event where speakers are scheduled in advance
could be a successful event, in fact I'm still thinking about whether
that direction is one that we could possibly consider going down with
LaidOffCamp. However, at the given time, if you want to go down a more
organized "conference"-style event, it might be better to not use the
LaidOffCamp name.
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