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Conference Organizing Panel

July 05, 2023 Jeroen Leenarts Season 2 Episode 2
Conference Organizing Panel
AppForce1: news and info for iOS app developers
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AppForce1: news and info for iOS app developers
Conference Organizing Panel
Jul 05, 2023 Season 2 Episode 2
Jeroen Leenarts

Send us a Text Message.

Adam, Filip, Monika and me dive into some of the aspects of organizing a conference. You will probably be left with plenty of questions afterwards. Send them in.Also, this is based on our own experience, always consider your specific circumstances.

https://swiftleeds.co.uk/
https://do-ios.com/

Monika on Twitter
Filip on Twitter
Adam on Twitter

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Show Notes Transcript

Send us a Text Message.

Adam, Filip, Monika and me dive into some of the aspects of organizing a conference. You will probably be left with plenty of questions afterwards. Send them in.Also, this is based on our own experience, always consider your specific circumstances.

https://swiftleeds.co.uk/
https://do-ios.com/

Monika on Twitter
Filip on Twitter
Adam on Twitter

Runway
Put your mobile releases on autopilot and keep the whole team in sync throughout. More info on runway.team

Lead Software Developer 
Learn best practices for being a great lead software developer.

Support the Show.

Rate me on Apple Podcasts.

Send feedback on SpeakPipe
Or contact me on Mastodon: https://hachyderm.io/@appforce1

Support my podcast with a monthly subscription, it really helps.

My book: Being a Lead Software Developer

Jeroen 0:00
Hi, and welcome to a special edition of my podcast. I'm sitting here with Adam Rush, Monika Mateska and Filip Sardzoski. I hope I said last name correctly, Filip. And, um, basically we have some questions to answer here. Um, Adam has been working on a conference this year and it's second edition, if I'm correct. Uh, it's the third one already. Oh, boy. Time flies when you're having fun, right? So that's the Swift Leeds conference in its third iteration, because, yes, I was at the second iteration last year, and he's making it bigger, better, more awesome compared to the last two editions. And Filip and Monika, they've been to do IPOs last year and 2022 in Amsterdam. they're coming to Amsterdam again this year and Monika has already been announced as a speaker for the conference. It's going to be like a big challenge for her. But this is going to be interesting, I guess. But since the last time that I visited Amsterdam, we spoke about CocoaHeadsNL and they did something similar in Macedonia because they're both from Macedonia. You both live in Skopje 

Monika 1:13
Yes, that's correct. 

Filip 1:14
Yes. 

Jeroen 1:15
and the both of you are working on the conference as well in May 2024. So which we are going to talk about a little bit as well. But first let's introduce ourselves a little bit. So Filip you kick things off. 

Filip 1:28
I'm Phillip. You're. Thanks for introducing me. I have been a software engineer for six years now, working on primarily swift banking software. Swiss banking software and some German publishing software. 

Jeroen 1:45
Okay. So as you've mentioned, six years and what did you do before? That's it. You do a university degree or is it some some form education that you have for self-development? 

Filip 1:53
Yes, University. University Degree for computer science 

Jeroen 1:57
Okay, 

Filip 1:57
here in Skopje. 

Jeroen 1:58
cool. And we have Monika here as well, and the two of you both live in in Macedonia, 

Monika 2:06
Right. 

Jeroen 2:06
Skopje. But what's your story? Monika? 

Monika 2:10
Yes. Hi, Ron. So I'm I have a little bit less experience than Phillip. I have been working as a software engineer for three years so far, and my main focus is augmented reality. So I've been in development at reality area for two and a half years, less and more. Previously, I had one year of experience with web development, but I did not find that much joy in it. So I say decided just to switch areas and try something different. And it's pretty interesting so far. I really like the cutting edge technology, especially that Apple provides really interesting ways to deal with it. So it's 

Jeroen 2:56
So I 

Monika 2:56
fun so far, 

Jeroen 2:57
so you're dying to get your hands onto one of these vision devices by Apple, right? 

Monika 3:01
that's for 

Jeroen 3:01
Yeah. 

Monika 3:02
sure. 

Jeroen 3:03
So and then we have Adam, who you might know because he's been on the podcast before, I think. Yes, yes. And oh, what can you say, Adam? What do we need to add? 

Adam 3:16
Um, over then I feel really old because I'm on my 13th year, 

and I was, uh. That makes me feel really old. So. Yeah, uh, my name is Adam. I've been doing I was until my 13th year, so crazy amounts of time. 

I've done all kinds of stuff for a period of time, worked on various different apps, have been a consultant for a period of time, and traveled all over and worked for various different companies, airlines, and and everything else in between. I'm currently at Circuit as a engineer. They're working on an app to help delivery drivers. So I do that remotely from home, which is nice. And then in my spare time I blog often and also organize, Swift Leeds which we're here to talk about today. So, uh, yeah, as you said, we're on our third year technically for given we had to delay for a year for COVID, so it should be our fourth year, but officially our third year. And yeah, really excited to talk about a new conference possibly on the horizon. Right? So really excited to hear about that. 

Jeroen 4:35
Yeah, we can always use more conferences, I think, especially after those pandemic years. Yeah. What do I need to add More people? They listen to my podcast, they know who I am, but I'm also organising a conference. Do iOS. It's been mentioned on my podcast before. Uh, interesting to note it's the fifth time that it's being done, but it's started the first time in like 

2016, I think it was 15. I don't know. I have to look at the website myself because it's a bit fake, because I'm like interior tech developer here. I think of the four of us and um, yeah, because I've been doing social development for over 21 years now and got started with I was in, I was three or four, I can't remember anymore. It's like over a decade ago. So it's a bit hazy and Adam can attest to that. That's, it's been a long while because 13 years of was development. I'm probably in the same ballpark doing iris development as well. But so let's get started because the the most important thing I wanted to ask Monika and Filip is 

why the heck are you crazy enough to even consider organising a conference? And Filip, you go first. 

Filip 5:53
Oh. So we have been attending. We have attended a couple of conferences and we actually really, really enjoyed them. And after our meeting, meeting you in Amsterdam last year and, uh, getting a few of cocoa heads and nil, we really wanted to do that locally here in Skopje. So we started off with just the community and monthly meetups. Then we kind of wanted to do something more in the something More is organizing a conference. 

Monika 6:28
Yeah, I'll continue from here. I would say I'm really inspired from the Apple community to be honest, because it's a very strong on a global level. There are people supporting each other always, and so far on the conference, at conferences that I've attended to, it's been really nice experience because you get to see people working on different things. There are a lot of discussions going on, so I knew at some point that I want to spread it also in our country because we are not that community or community based country, let's say base minded people. So that's why we wanted to start at least to try to do that for the first year of conference and then see how it's going to go. And hopefully it's going to go good. We're going to continue with that. 

Jeroen 7:23
Yeah, that's, that's the that's the most I wouldn't call it exciting. What's the correct word for this? Adam? You're a native English speaker. 

Adam 7:31
um, I guess it, it creates kind of, I guess you kind of watch people be inspired, right? Like, I guess you're watching People Network. Actually, this is the is the biggest friend, the 

motivates me first Swift Leeds and even more so now than than it ever did like when when I sell switchblades in my bedroom like you know four or five years ago I was like, you know, it's going to be really nice because we get people together and, um, and there are some values that I kind of want to use or fleece to, to represent. But then as the years have gone on more and more, it's kind of changed slightly. And that is what we've just described where you kind of build up this community and people truly value 

networking and that connection that happens during those one days or two days. And for me, that's what really motivates me as we played is just watching that happen. You know, you can almost sit back on the day of the conference and just see it happen. You can see it in front of your eyes, just people, you know, smiling and connecting and and chatting and learning and and building all of those relationships up during that day. And that's the thing for me that really kind of drives the conference forward. And I think I mean, correct me if I'm wrong, I think that's kind of what you're describing there of building that that community, 

Jeroen 9:05
Mhm. 

Monika 9:05
Yeah, that's right. 

Jeroen 9:07
Yeah. 

Filip 9:07
Yeah, 

Jeroen 9:07
Because 

Filip 9:07
that's exactly. 

Jeroen 9:08
for me doing 

Adam 9:09
uh, 

Jeroen 9:09
do I was uh, but it really started because of sort of like, hey, that sounds like a nice challenge. So I've been doing meetups for a while before that and 

Adam 9:20
and 

Jeroen 9:21
I was kind of naive back then, so 

Adam 9:22


Jeroen 9:23
I thought, 

Adam 9:23
can 

Jeroen 9:23
okay. Amita up to presentations on an evening. If you do that four times. Oh four back to back, you've got a conference day, right? So how hard can it be? 

Adam 9:31
hardly 

Jeroen 9:32
So 

Adam 9:32
know 

Jeroen 9:32
that's how I got 

Adam 9:33
how I got that 

Jeroen 9:34
myself involved with this, because that's a big question that, that you probably ask you quite quickly if you start organising a conference and that is okay, how hard can 

Adam 9:43
and 

Jeroen 9:43
it 

Adam 9:44
how 

Jeroen 9:44
be? 

Adam 9:44
hard 

Jeroen 9:44
Right? So thus far, because you two have just started organizing a conference, how hard has it been until this point? 

Monika 9:54
I like the knife 

Adam 9:55
I like the 

Monika 9:55
approach 

Adam 9:55
approach. 

Monika 9:56
because, yeah, I would say 

Adam 9:58


Monika 9:58
that 

Adam 9:58
would 

Monika 9:58


Adam 9:58
say 

Monika 9:58
want 

Adam 9:58
that I 

Monika 9:58
to 

Adam 9:58
want 

Monika 9:59
be a knife 

Adam 9:59
to be 

Monika 9:59
at the beginning 

Adam 10:00
at the beginning 

Monika 10:00
because if 

Adam 10:01
because 

Monika 10:01
we think that it's going 

Adam 10:02
that 

Monika 10:02
to 

Adam 10:02
is 

Monika 10:02
be 

Adam 10:02
things 

Monika 10:03
hard 

Adam 10:03
that 

Monika 10:03
and I'm not afraid 

Adam 10:04
I love 

Monika 10:04
to, if it's going to be hard, throw the time. 

Adam 10:06
all the time. 

Monika 10:07
But 

Adam 10:07
But 

Monika 10:08
I just 

Adam 10:08


Monika 10:08
want 

Adam 10:08
just 

Monika 10:09
us 

Adam 10:09
want 

Monika 10:09
to start 

Adam 10:09
to start 

Monika 10:10
from somewhere and give 

Adam 10:11
and 

Monika 10:11
everything 

Adam 10:11
give everything. 

Monika 10:12
what is in our hands and then 

Adam 10:14
And then 

Monika 10:15
see where it's gonna bring us. But I think 

Adam 10:18
but I 

Monika 10:19
that 

Adam 10:19
think that 

Monika 10:19
we're quite 

Adam 10:20
we 

Monika 10:20
organized. 

Adam 10:20
are quite an organized 

Monika 10:20
People, so 

Adam 10:21
people. So 

Monika 10:21
we wouldn't give up on that. 

Adam 10:22
you're welcome. That 

Jeroen 10:24
So keeping things organized, how much prep work do you think 

Adam 10:28
there 

Jeroen 10:28
there is in 

Adam 10:29
is. 

Jeroen 10:29
organising a conference? Adam So what is, what is the initial plan? Where do you start? If you say, okay, I'm going to start organizing swiftly, it's 

2023 

and then what's the first thing that you do? 

Adam 10:43
I think so. Like first where to a stage where what building something that is kind of growing year on year now because switchblades is has evolved into something that's probably not going to evolve into anything 

far different than it what it is this year. So we've got two days. I don't have a vision of of opening that up to models. It will probably start at the two days we've introduced to the drop in sessions, which is new this year, and we're probably not going to move far away from that either. So when we first started, 

of course, it was very much finding a venue, you know, kind of doing all the things that you would need to do to kick off the conference. So finding a venue, looking for speakers, you know, forecasting how much it's going to cost to create a plan of how much you need to charge for tickets. Right. And then how many sponsors can we use to to kind of cover the expenses and merchandise and all this stuff. So it's really about forecasting and then you can sort of really narrow it down to say, well, this is how much we can sell tickets for. And there's so many sponsors we need to to help. But of course when I started Switchblades, I knew that first year was never going to be a repeat. You know, it was going to evolve and it was going to evolve again into something that was going to remain. So. The planet has already always slightly changed because the conference is changing, 

but typically what we do now is so for this year, for example, we have a a team of people, so there's around ten of us on the team and we get together via Zoom or whatever we do like a jump ball. So we just literally start throwing ideas onto the jump board about what we want this year to look like, what we want to do. And then we also combine all of the results of the survey. So I kind of threw all of the comments and the commentary that people have submitted, put on the jump board and say, Right, you know, how can we solve some of these issues? You know, how can we, you know, like one of the biggest complaints for last year was the venue is too hot. So, I mean, you know, that's an easy thing that we can solve. And then there's other things that people raise and we can sort of create that together and then think, how could we solve that for for this year? You know, is there things we can do differently or introduce? So we do all of that. It's about one and a half hours session and then that helps us kind of formulate what the conference is going to look like. You know, what friends do we need to put together to to make it happen. There's one thing we're doing brand new for this year that we've never done before, and we've not even announced it yet. And one of those was like, Yes, we want to do that this year. So we've got a couple of people that you're just working on on this single thing that we want to do for this year that we've not kind of brought to life yet. So that's how we tend to split it up. And then we've got people on the app, we've got people working on the API, like we've got our own API layer now for the tickets and the booking system. 

We do that and then, yo know, we roll over as the months go by, 

various different parts of planning is required, like we've closed speakers now. So that was closed off. We had to do the evaluation that took like four weeks of the team. So spending hours reviewing those and then we go through to announce them to the public. So there's all these kind of different stages that you get to throughout throughout the sort of 12 months leading up to the conference as a first year one. Of course, you've got to do a little bit more because you've got to look for your revenue, You've got a budget, you know, yo got to look for your first sponsors and and sort of market to the community as a as a new conference. So you've just got that little bit, I would say maybe 20% extra to do for your first year. I don't know if you would agree with that, 

Jeroen 15:07
I was kind 

Adam 15:08
but 

Jeroen 15:08
of lucky in how I was able to kick things off with Do I was because I was back then working at a consulting company and they basically accepted my idea to organise something of a conference so 

Adam 15:22
but 

Jeroen 15:22
that basically 

Adam 15:22
that's 

Jeroen 15:22
took 

Adam 15:22
basically

Jeroen 15:23
care of the the budget for the event. So because just so you know, the first two editions of Do I was they, they cost twice as much as that they actually brought in and ticket revenue. So they, they cost a lot of money to my then employer but that was intentional because it was very clearly an event aimed at um, doing presentations and just creating brand awareness with the company I was working for that they were doing mobile development. So it was basically a marketing budget that I was burning down, but still it was my idea. I was able to execute it with a marketing person within the company. But the first thing that I started with, of course, was, okay, what is it going to cost? So that's more of a more or less the financial viability, because I did have to present a business plan in the sense of, okay, you have a venue that has an that has a euro amounts attached or pounds. In your case, you have speakers that you have to get into your event. So for speakers you need to probably fly them in and you probably need to put them in a hotel somewhere. So that's that's a fixed cost per speaker that you're looking at. And then it really depends on where in the world you're getting them, how much you need to spend on their airplane ticket, because they can they can go up quite quickly, especially if you take them from other continents. So then you have your speakers, you have your venue and you need catering. Uh, so what does it cost per person at your events to keep them hydrated and to keep them fed? Because one thing that I try to keep aware of is that there are certain aspects on your budget that are very fixed because a space, a venue that is a fixed cost, that's a staff of the venue attached, that that's a known amounts that you have to spend on that that is like defined right from the start when you sign the paperwork. But then each attendee that you bring in, uh, that that dilutes the cost of that fixed thing on your ticket. But they also at a variable cost which is related to the catering, because the more people you get in your events, the more catering your needs, but also the more you dilute the fixed cost that you have for the venue and all those kinds of things. So I'm really keeping track of I have a ticket price. And how is the ticket price in relation to the costs that I'm having to carry with each ticket. So I can very clearly see, okay, if I have sold this amount of tickets, then every ticket owner has basically paid for their own weight in the course of the event. And then once I am past that threshold, that means that I'm in the money. And that's a very nice place to be because that allows me to start spending things on the budget that are more, um, more frivolous. So like getting some swag, getting an extra banner, deciding to go for that speaker that carries a little bit more cost because they have to fly in from further away. And that's that's what I would what's a budgeting I really try to do because I don't want to spend more than that. I know that I will be getting because I know based on the amount of tickets that are sold, how much that is bringing. I know on spots that are assigned, how much they are bringing. And I know what my costs are. And so I'm I'm very, very much into spreadsheets and just calculating everything over and over again and just making sure that you keep a good balance on your budgets because, of course, you want to create the best events that you can think of considering the budgets that you have. And, um, but what I to get back to the initial question that I really started with is what I did was when I really in the beginning of the very first do, I was started thinking, okay, so I am organising a conference of what do I want it to be? I really thought, okay, so what is a conference that I enjoy going to and what are the parts of the conference that are really interesting to me? And you could say that's every edition of uh, the IOC has been like an advancing insights into the type of conference that I most enjoy as an individual because I just organised the event that I am 100% sure of that. I will just enjoy it from the start to the end and of course things will go wrong, Things happen. So you have to like fix things as you go quite often during the days of the conference because probably something went wrong with uh, with athletes here and there as well, which had to like cover up at the day itself. But that's, that's why you have a team of good people for and yeah, it's just a matter of would do I was, it's what I try to do with every new edition since the since it was taken over by coca heads is to make a big change to the conference on one axis so um, last year we really went from a one day event to a two day event, uh, with, with a workshop attached because the year before we had a single day event with a workshop before that I get to do workshops by the way, and I also explain why most conferences do something with a workshop. Um, and now this year my main goal is to change the venue that I've been using for the past few years and try and scale up to the events in number of attendees. Because last year I could have 120 people and this year I have capacity for 200 people. So that just forced me to switch up the venue to make sure that I could have all those people in one single room and also to take care of the one biggest feedback that we had last year, which was the seating. They were like very hard and that's been fixed now. So I'm expecting that I need to wake some people up at the end of a session because of jetlag and stuff. Um, so I think what I try to do with starting a conference, really, Okay, what do I want it to be? What do I enjoy? And then of course, you have to start looking at the numbers because that's, that's very important because I think a good conference, it's you need people to be attendees. You need people to do the speaking. You need you need to have food and drinks so that people don't go hungry because hungry people are not happy. And you need to have a space where you can do all this. And I think if you have those basic things covered, then you already have an event and anything extra that you do is is nice. It's great, but it's it's not part of the core activity that you try to facilitate with people and of course, to the networking. But I do notice that organising the conference has been one of the strongest builders of my personal network as well, because first of all, you get relations with all the speakers that you are inviting because they've all become part of your network in some way. And also these speakers, they place a high level of trust in you as an organiser because they believe that you will actually put them in a hotel somewhere. If that's the arrangement that you made with them, they just have to trust you to actually take good care of them. And the same holds true for, uh, for, for, for ticket holders because they have to trust you to actually, uh, have an event that is worth its money and actually make sure that everything is well taken care of and that's also where the combination of sponsors and ticket sales is very important, because what I noticed is that if you have a good sponsor, a good logo, uh, that also builds a lot of trust in the brand of your conference. So if you have like a well-known company sponsoring your event, then people are more likely to say, okay, so they're sponsoring this event. So it must be trustworthy then, because otherwise these, these guys, they wouldn't sponsor it if it's some, some shady deal that we're looking at here. So that's also why it is very important, especially if it's your first conference that you organise to in some way get some sort of sponsor on board. Uh, and I wanted to ask you to ask how are things going with the financial side of things because you haven't started selling tickets yet, right? 

Filip 23:47
I know we haven't started selling tickets. We, um, so, so far what we have done is started talking with the venue. We kind of have that pretty reserved, let's say, and started talking with both sponsors 

Jeroen 24:00
Mm 

Filip 24:00
and speakers 

Jeroen 24:01
hmm. 

Filip 24:02
and with every speaker that we get or with every sponsor that we get, we are hoping to influence the the other group so we can, as you said, land that good sponsor. And I think that also works with good speakers 

Jeroen 24:17
Yeah. 

Filip 24:18
who well known speakers especially in this community, make the conference trustworthy. And I hope that will that will help get the both speakers and sponsors. 

Jeroen 24:32
Well, I think in ticket sales you do see that if you have a good announcement on your event, if you have a couple of speakers that are like really interesting to the community, you really immediately see that's on your dashboard of your ticketing platform. That is like some tickets sold right around the moment that you do such an announcement and get ready for the ride because most tickets you're going to sell in the last two months before the event, most likely because that was the most nerve wracking thing for me. Each edition is like I'm like sitting here with all these tickets and when are they all 

Adam 25:04
whether 

Jeroen 25:04
going to go? 

Adam 25:05
they 

Jeroen 25:05
And then all of a sudden there's 

Adam 25:06
like, 

Jeroen 25:06
like this mad rush 

Adam 25:07
like 

Jeroen 25:07
happening and you're like, Oh, I wish I had. But then you're thinking, I wish I had booked a bigger venue, but fortunately you didn't, because 

Adam 25:14
we, 

Jeroen 25:14
Distress would be like 

Adam 25:15
uh, 

Jeroen 25:15
astronomically if you had to sell all those tickets, of course. So it's, it's 

Adam 25:20
uh, 

Jeroen 25:20
always a gradual thing, right? Adam 

Adam 25:22
like the fruit, we typically sell 50 upwards of 50 to 60% in the last two months 

Jeroen 25:32
Yeah, 

Adam 25:33
of the, of the run up to the coverage. So actually this year has been really strange because, um, in 

June is it true? 

Jeroen 25:44
yeah. 

Adam 25:44
Maybe 

Jeroen 25:45
It's all 

Adam 25:45
June 

Jeroen 25:45
it's already July, man. It's the 4th of July recording. It's Independence 

Adam 25:48
is or 

Jeroen 25:49
Day in the US right now. 

Adam 25:50
is already July, so not June May, 

Jeroen 25:55
Yeah. 

Adam 25:56
um, we sold 82% more tickets than May last year 

Jeroen 26:03
Hmm. 

Adam 26:06
and, and then June was about by average maybe like 1% more than the June before. Um, so yeah, we've seen a really, um, different trend than we would normally see. We, you know, our profits sort of started off as a real peak because we did really well in April. It was like 23% more than the previous April. And then it sort of went up again for me and then it sort of dropped in June. Whereas normally what we see is we see a spike in April, a dip in May, a slight bump in June, a slight bump in July, and then August, September is like really crazy high. So we've seen a slightly different curve. We're not sure why that is. We're maybe, 

yeah, we don't know. Maybe because we're two days. Could be that there's just a lot more demand this year than than there was last year like earlier demand. Um, so yeah, we're not entirely sure, but yeah, I mean, typically you would sell the majority of your tickets like two months before, and it definitely is nerve racking because, yeah, I mean, 

you know, 

Jeroen 27:23
Ticket 

Adam 27:24
Yeah, 

Jeroen 27:24
revenue is a 

Adam 27:24
yeah, 

Jeroen 27:24
large part of 

Adam 27:25
yeah, 

Jeroen 27:25
your budget. 

Adam 27:26
yeah, yeah. And also like we are banking on people turning up, right? I mean, you know, it's quite a, a nerve wracking thing to create an event. And the biggest event that was playing on my mind was, you know, I'm going to get nobody turn up for this. Like I might sell 30 or 40 tickets and it's like we've done well. So yeah, that's always kind of the nervous thing to, to start a conference. But, you know, I that there's something that I just trust the community. I trust I trust the process, right? Because we're we get good sponsors, we get good speakers. The people are going to come, right. You know, that's that's just the way we look at it, though. The alternative, if you do a good job, people enjoy it and then they'll keep on coming. They'll tell their friends and they'll come. So you've just got to trust the trust that it's going to work out. 

Jeroen 28:25
Yeah. But also what you're saying there is also important. That's also something we need to cover is, is how to get the word out on your events. Because for me, it's been mostly Twitter and revisits from people who've attended the event in previous editions. So, 

Adam 28:42
So 

Jeroen 28:43
uh,so  

Adam 28:43


Jeroen 28:43
a lot of socials 

Adam 28:44
a lot 

Jeroen 28:44
for 

Adam 28:44
of 

Jeroen 28:44
me, uh, unpaid socials in my case. So I'm not like 

Adam 28:47
I'm 

Jeroen 28:47
doing 

Adam 28:48
not 

Jeroen 28:48
advertisment 

Adam 28:48
like, 

Jeroen 28:48
campaigns or anything. Is there anything specific that you're doing? Adam

Adam 28:54
yeah, we've never had a paid sponsorship, although that's changing this year because we're 

we're supporting Jordan Jordan Mortgage. So his website, we're going to have some coverage there in I think it's September or August. It's one of those moments. And we also give some tickets away to Antoine and he does like a giveaway for us. Other than that, we've never paid or done anything. I think for us we were a little bit lucky in the sense that we launched at the height of a global pandemic. 

Jeroen 29:32
yeah, 

Adam 29:32
Um, 

Jeroen 29:32
yeah. Well, I like 

Adam 29:33
and 

Jeroen 29:33
to only one. 

Adam 29:34
we were like the only way. So I would say we had some, um, some kind of a push out like some, some wind kind of pushing it forward slightly. And I think that helped. Um, but otherwise I think, you know, we just put on a really good show of people, you know, the feedback we got off of. Yeah. One was it was amazing. You know, I've pretty much everyone, um, came away. We came away thinking, I want to, I want to come back to that conference. It was just a really good conference. I think, you know, if you do a good job, if you, if you take all of the right boxes for people, like, for me, it's like. Like what you said earlier. When you attend a conference, what do you what are you looking for from a conference? Because if you can if you if you can satisfy what you would want a conference, then chances are you're going to satisfy the majority of people. And I was going to conferences time and time again, and I was just so dissatisfied in certain areas. I forgive you can tick those boxes. Then you're going to cover the majority of people, you know, even things like food, you know, like what? What? When I go to a conference, I just want good food, you know, 

Jeroen 30:52
Oh 

Adam 30:52
It's 

Jeroen 30:53
yeah. 

Adam 30:53
like, 

Jeroen 30:53
Not, you know, you don't want one of these hotel sandwiches you get in the US. 

Adam 30:56
no, no. Especially because people are paying, you know, upwards of, you know, 150, £200, maybe even more in some some conferences. And, you know, for me, you don't want to be, you know, attract, you know, free miles to get some food or, you know, you get a brown bag with a cold sandwich in, you know, um, I think like for me, just getting the food right was important. And actually it turns out people really value that because what are the feedbacks we get all the time is the food was amazing. You know, the food was very nice. You know, we were satisfied with the food. So it just little things like that. If you if we can get right, then people would just, you know, tell their friends they'll come back year on year and and yet spread the word for you. You know they'll do the marketing for you. 

Jeroen 31:50
But what do you think about like getting specific speakers who have a large following online and inviting them to your conference because of course you're working with to call for papers so that people can actually submit their ideas and then you make a selection out of those. I'm doing that as well, but I don't know about you, but I have a specific number of speaking slots on my schedule that I'm not putting up for the call for paper. So that's that's like a pre-selected batch of speakers I'm putting on those slots. So is that something that you utilise as well to get the word out? Because for me it's been that having people like Antoine Fanelli and Donny Walls as speakers, uh, it really helped boost the ticket sales and that people like, oh well that, that's somebody I want to see and if there are an event 

Adam 32:40
There 

Jeroen 32:40
and probably 

Adam 32:41
will 

Jeroen 32:41
some other 

Adam 32:41
be 

Jeroen 32:42
interesting 

Adam 32:42
other 

Jeroen 32:42
speakers 

Adam 32:42
interesting 

Jeroen 32:43
will also be at the events. 

Adam 32:46
Yeah. So we we did this on year one. 

Jeroen 32:48
Mm hmm. 

Adam 32:48
Uh, so we, we preselected all of the speakers actually in year one 

Jeroen 32:53
Yeah, 

Adam 32:54
which is looking back kind of I'm a little embarrassed to say actually,because , you know, it just doesn't sound right, you know, it 

Jeroen 33:04
well, 

Adam 33:04
just doesn't sit 

Jeroen 33:05
it's 

Adam 33:06
like 

Jeroen 33:06
a way to bootstrap to your event, right? Because if you do it for the first time, you, you, you have nothing and you don't have any goodwill from the community. So you have to in some way rub off some of that brand awareness on your brand. Right? 

Adam 33:21
I get it. And I, like I said, we I did that 

Jeroen 33:24
Mm hmm. 

Adam 33:25
completely. So I think 

like like I think you can get away with it when when you're starting out. And I think it's totally fine providing, you know, you can be as diverse and inclusive as you possibly can. 

Jeroen 33:40
Mm hmm. 

Adam 33:42
But but actually now we're quite lucky now because the conference has grown to such a size that actually, you know, those people you're on about actually want to come and speak swiftly. So naturally our CFP process is is full of amazing talent. You know, it's full of amazing speakers. And and so they kind of come to us now for them. So we go to them, which is, you know, it's really nice because we can make it as far as we possibly can. 

So yeah, it's, it's, it's everything. It's fine for, for year one. But like year two and beyond. I just can't see how it can be truly fair. If you consistently pre-select the speakers. So. So yeah. So now we do it for you Anonymous and 

we are out to make one adjustment this year, manual adjustment. And that's because we had a duplication. 

Jeroen 34:41
Mm hmm. 

Adam 34:42
So we had would Speaker have both of their talks spotted and obviously you know that good as they are they can present both talks that just just wouldn't but would it be right 

Jeroen 34:54
Mm hmm. 

Adam 34:55
so we moved down to the next vote. Speaker Um and yeah like it, it seems to work really well and, and even when you look at the quality of speakers that are being voted, does people usually submit a really good CFP proposals? So 

Jeroen 35:14
Yeah. 

Adam 35:14
naturally they're the ones that are getting voted anyway. So it kind of works out really well. 

Jeroen 35:19
So do you have a tendency to put in a wild card? Just, uh, 

take it. Take a speaker 

Adam 35:25
What, 

Jeroen 35:26
that you like. Let's just give this person a chance. 

Adam 35:30
um, what we, I can't think of any example where we've, um, like declined to speak based on, on who it is that gets voted. 

Jeroen 35:42
Mm 

Adam 35:42


Jeroen 35:42
hmm. 

Adam 35:42
mean a prime example of this is last year we had Ibrahim speak from Senegal, so we flew him in from, from Senegal. 

Jeroen 35:50
Yeah. 

Adam 35:51
He never present ever. You know, he wasn't known, you know, in, in the community and but like we are 100% committed to sort of giving everyone a fair chance. We offered some free speaker training of a resume to sort of help them into it. Just speak on what what to expect. And, um, I mean, it speaks when does I mean, look at YouTube. Africa is like the second or third ranking talk all been replayed on YouTube. The audience were absolutely loved his his his talk. And then I think he got invited to more conferences. Yeah I think 

Jeroen 36:31
Yeah. 

Adam 36:31
he was a over conferences. 

Jeroen 36:33
Hm 

Adam 36:33
I'm pretty sure he was 

Jeroen 36:34
hm. 

Adam 36:34
I think this year is that I was of UK as well 

Jeroen 36:38
Uh. 

Adam 36:38
so he's getting booked for more coverage so it just shows right You know if you give people the the opportunity that that that the chance to do it then Daniela We did we did. Daniela was first time Swift Leeds again nobody would have known her, right? You know that Which is just crazy to say that, um, I think she was booked in Spain. She was there. Now she's. She's speaking all over, so. A for me, that's what it's about, is it's opening those opportunities for people 

Jeroen 37:14
Mm. 

Adam 37:14
and not sort of pre-selected um, the speakers and yeah, 

Jeroen 37:22
So, um, we're 

Adam 37:24
um, 

Jeroen 37:24
already, like, uh, coming close to 45 minutes, and we still have a number of topics that we want to touch upon. So we talks about colorful paper, some of the parts of the process that we can probably do an entire podcast on that, but that's, uh, that's more or less like, what do you want to do? Do you want to do it anonymous? Do you want to do it like, select it? And then that's like, uh, some, some range in between as well. We also shortly mentioned diversity, so I wanted to touch upon that as well because that's very, um, it's an important thing to do, right? But it's also very difficult to, to, to get that right. Um, and then there is what was the other one? We talked about budgets, brand awareness. Uh, yeah, oh yeah. The, the actual selling of tickets. That's also something that is probably interesting to, uh, to, to have some uh, uh, where, at home. But first I wanted to check in with, uh, and Monika because Adam and I have been talking a lot. Are there any questions that you have burning at the back of your mind that you say. Okay, I want to have this answered right now, and I want to have it, uh, explained to me on these and these topics. 

Filip 38:37
Yeah, I have one. I think it's very important question for me or for us, since we are first and this is the first year that we're going to be organizing this event, what are the let's see mean things that would tip you over to see, Okay, uh, we have enough prepared and locked in that we are ready to start selling tickets. So we would be confident that we wouldn't have to do refunds and apologies to everyone for not organizing the conference at all. 

Jeroen 39:12
Um, for me, it's simple. You have to have like an option with a venue so that you know what the cost there will be. And if you have if you have your first sponsor on board, if you have those two things covered, t it's a no brainer because then then it's just no questions. Ask you can execute, um, if you know where you want to do it and you have a ticketing platform that allows you to do, uh, refunds at a low or no cost, then that also gives you some slack space. But of course that's the scenario you never want to end up in. Um, so to me it's really the, the, the financial viability is something to really keep an eye on. And that's also where you can start selling tickets early. Uh, because you can of course sell tickets that you mark as being super early birds and clearly indicate, hey, we're bootstrapping this thing. If you buy into this ticket, there is a small but reasonable chance that we will cancel the entire thing outright if things do not proceed as planned, and that that's okay to do with like these early tier tickets. I think as long as you clearly communicate that at one point you have to also indicate then okay, we are committed. I think. Um, 

Adam 40:27
Yeah. 

Jeroen 40:28
yeah, but when is that we have any thoughts on that? Adam It's, it's a gut feeling really, with me and 

Adam 40:34
Yeah, 

Jeroen 40:34
of course, a spreadsheet. 

Adam 40:35
I, yeah, I think afraid what I did in the early days was kind of forecast for a specific number. And I remember vividly because it was 50 I, I for sort of Leeds would have 50 

Jeroen 40:53
Mm 

Adam 40:53
people 

Jeroen 40:54
hmm. 

Adam 40:54
basically. 

So I for Right. I'm going to just forecast for 50 attendees, I'm going to see how much the venue would cost for that. I'm going to see how much money we need to raise to cover that, i.e. the ticket price, and then look at other conferences and see where we where we fit 

and then sponsors. But even thinking back when we, um, we sold tickets, I had a landing page to try and build hype around the event. 

Jeroen 41:24
Yeah. 

Adam 41:24
So I was sort of pushing that out there before selling tickets to try and get a bit of both, I think. Yeah, I mean, I think maybe the I can't remember what the number was, but let's just say it was 

£8,000 for 50 people. Let's just say 

Jeroen 41:40
Yep. Sounds about 

Adam 41:41
that's. 

Jeroen 41:41
right. 

Adam 41:42
Yeah, I, it's just a random number. I can't remember what it was, but let's just say it was that and then you just like, right, go like crazy, you know, get the tickets out there, get the word out, really push it. Because once you've got tickets on sale, it's really down to you to put it up. You know, people are just going to a tap on your brand new domain name and and buy a ticket is really down to sort of pushing it and really driving it and and using various ways to sort of get the get the word out. And I don't feel you can get the full potential of that without starting to sell tickets, if 

Jeroen 42:22
Yeah. 

Adam 42:22
that makes sense. So it's kind of a chicken and I agree, it's like, you know, just just start selling tickets. Yeah. Oh, I won't sell tickets just yet because I'm not sure if the word is out there, but I think you really just got to go for it. 

Jeroen 42:33
Yeah, 

Adam 42:34
And yeah, I mean, the worst case scenario is you either get for yourself 

for it for the first year, if you don't quite make it or you refund the tickets, which people are going to be fine with anyway. Or you go to companies and say, look, you know, here's the opportunity I've got. I've sold 40 tickets, we're short by this amount, we're going to give you full coverage for sponsorship. We just need free kick to get it going. Yeah, I'm sure there's companies that would jump on a brand new conference and and help support it 

Jeroen 43:10
yeah. 

Adam 43:11
and even over conferences. You know, you could reach out to 

Jeroen 43:15
Oh, yeah, 

Adam 43:15
do IPOs and say, well, look, you know, we need to do you want to support this? You know, as a fellow a conference like, you know, it's possibility. 

Jeroen 43:26
yeah, 

Adam 43:26
Bu I mean, long story short of it, you've just got to go for it. You can forecast all you want. I would pick a number 50. That what we're aiming for. And if more is a bonus, that's what we go for. This is how much we need to raise. Let's get ticket sales kind of really just sort of drive it home and and get the word out. The

Jeroen 43:48
yeah. And one of the ways that I, uh, try and keep some control on this is this for, for instance, for the conference edition this year of O's, I know that if I sell 117 tickets, just the ticket sales alone will cover for the venue, the catering and, the staff. So then I can execute an event without speakers. And I know I can just if if push comes to fail, I can just go to my coach. That's network and get the speakers that I need from there, because there are some also speakers in there. But of course you want to have some more speakers from around the world. But I can execute on events based on that number alone. 117 uh, tickets sold. Um, last year that number was not 117, it was like 59, I think it was so that's like a lot smaller. If that's the minimum number of tickets I need to have sold at the execution date the year before that it was like somewhere in the range of close to 40. So it's really a matter of it's a very nice number figure to be aware of that If you if I sell this amount of tickets, I'm financially viable and of course there are still worries. But you won't you won't go down with the ship at the end of the event in that case. And what I tend to do is with sponsorship income, I tend to like, okay, this gives me budgets to, uh, to, to act earlier on specific plans that I have so that space and planning time becomes available for additional plans. But also it allows me to extend the range that I bring in people from around the world. So at some point, if I have to sponsorship money, then yes, I can pay for that ticket for somebody coming in from Japan, for example, because imagine flying somebody in from Japan that's like €2,000 tickets and flying somebody in from Spain. That's, uh, I don't know, €80 tickets. And that that's a big difference to add something which has a big impact. And also what I tend to do is that if I see that a speaker is from a reasonably big company, I just outright ask, can you ask your employer if they are willing you've been selected? The Speaker No worries. Can you ask them to cover the the flight or the hotel or maybe both? And if they agree to that, then they will get something in return as a company. So that that's probably I mentioned a logo placement, something that's a small tier sponsorship that they just gets for free for helping me cover the cost of the speaker. But the speaker has already been selected organically and it's just an opportunity that you give to this individual to present to their employer to help them help you, uh, decrease the execution cost of your events. And I think that's a very reasonable thing to, to offer and also to ask and especially if you are clear in that the process up to that point has been, has been an honest process because I think Adam and I both are on the page that like, okay, if you do a CFP, you want to make sure that it's an honest process as possible because you, you want people to be a part of your events knowing that they've been selected on merit and not for some other reason, because they bring the biggest bag of money. For example. 

Um, and then there's diversity because it's a very important one, but also one of the most hairy wants at conferences because over the past two years I've seen a number of conferences being pretty much burnt over a lack of diversity, uh, on their, on their announcements. Um, and it really depends on who's looking at your events, how much of an focus this is getting from the community. But I do think that IOC community is very well aware of the importance of, uh, supporting a diverse ecosystem. But what are some things that we as conference organizers, uh, could do or should do or even maybe must do to make sure that the diversity is, uh, is preserved and representation is also being done at a conference because the problem I'm having with diversity is that you have to like, get this balance right, because if you're overdo it, then it's like so obvious that you're like because, you seen these conferences that it's like a lineup and it's like the first five speakers that they announced, four of them are, for example, a female. And then it's like, okay, they're like, they're overdoing it a little bit. And then because you notice that down the line they're only adding, um, non female individuals to the lineup at that point afterwards. So then all of a sudden the representation is still not probably where you want it to be. And I always find this a very difficult subject to, to, to get right because on the one hand you don't want to like really have to think about it because you just want to believe that the world is a fair place and, and things are just going to happen by themselves. But unfortunately, that's not the case with this. So what do you think? Uh

Monika 48:56
yes, it's an interesting point to discuss, I think, because it's not just me and Phillip in organizing this conference. It's six of us. There are four other people that are part of the organization, and we have been all aware that we are focused on the quality, on the quality of the talks. So when it comes to diversity, I really like the point that I don't mention that they are doing the anonymous call for papers because I think as long as we are not aiming for selecting specifically specified point of personal or person persona, we are basically fair. We're basically picking up fair. So we are just aiming for equality. I have been to a couple of conferences that this has been exaggerated, though they present a point and I don't like it, to be honest, because you can see that I am aware that there are many people with good quality talks and they haven't got to a point to present it just because the organizers are aiming to get to a bigger diversity. And they would select, for example, as you mentioned, when we were talking about sex diversity, but they have picked a couple of more female speakers just to aim to this point that there will be a 5050 

Jeroen 50:25
Yeah. 

Monika 50:27
point of speakers. You. 

Jeroen 50:28
Yeah. Because. And that that's immediately the difficult thing that you that you mentioned there. It's like, um, if you, if you, 

if you positively discriminate because that's basically what you're doing. If you're if you're giving people an advantage because they are not like the typical white male dude, uh, then, then it's a to me and I always have like this idea like, okay, but I'm like now giving somebody an advantage just because, uh, just because the way they were born, basically. Uh, but on the other hand, if I don't do it, then I end up with a roster that if I look at it like, like casually and it's like, okay, I see this roster and it's like, it's like a wall of, of white males. Then I'm like, This is also not what I want my conference to be. So and that's the, that's the challenge that I as a conference organizer really feel that it's like, yeah it's, I don't know, it's, it's, it's difficult And you get called out and you get called out on it. If you overdo it, but you also get called out on it. If people feel that the representation is not right. 

Filip 51:36
The iOS community is naturally diverse in in my view. So just looking at or thinking about everyone I follow on Twitter, um, there's, you know, quite a diverse selection 

Jeroen 51:49
Mm 

Filip 51:49
there. 

Jeroen 51:50
hmm. 

Filip 51:50
So I really hope for the that we go and it works out the the naive where um we go with some sorts of selection and it kind of turns out right

Jeroen 52:01
Yeah. Yeah, that's true. That's because and last year I sort of lucked out with my paper selection for Do I? Was that it was like I basically I did my selection and, and I looked at the roster and it just so happened to be like, oh, this is actually looks quite all right. I think this is this is how I wanted to look right. And um, I think is that also what's happening for you, Adam? Or, or did you ever take any specific measures? Because the year before the time that we did that, before 2022, I did actually handpick a couple of speakers to make sure that I gave a boost to, uh, specific parts of a lack of diversity on my roster. I did pick good speakers, but still it was like, Oh, I have to do this. Yes. Does it feel right in one way? No. In another 

Adam 52:48
no, 

Jeroen 52:48
way, 

Adam 52:48
and 

Jeroen 52:48
Very much yes. 

Adam 52:49
very 

Jeroen 52:49
So 

Adam 52:49
much yeah. 

Jeroen 52:50
it's this tension that I'm really feeling around the subjects

Adam 52:55
So in yeah, would I preselected all of the speakers as I mentioned, 

and it kind of bit me a little bit because I had two women speakers on the line up front side three and two of them had to pull out.One  actually worked for Apple and she couldn't get the approval by a in time. 

So I ended up with a lineup that wasn't very diverse and it kind of bit me a little bit because two of the women of the free that I had, bearing in mind, only had six or seven speakers in total. So almost half my lineup. Um, had a hard to pull out and I didn't have enough time to really kind of pull pull the speakers out. So, um, of course, you know, we got, um, we got a lot of feedback, shall we say, about that. Um, so from that point it was like, you know, how can we prove this? How could we? And of course we were like, yeah, we, we shouldn't be pre selecting speakers for start. Um, so that's why we anonymize it. Now. I'm also deeply conscious that um, when we an otherwise of course we might end up with a not very diverse lineup. However, um, and this is like, you know, hand on heart here for, for two years. Clearly this year, um, the lineup has been diverse and, and for the fair system for free voting, um, we've not got as many women speaking this year as we did last year. 

And I guess the conversation goes back to how can we get more women to submit more proposals because that's the actual issue we face is that we're not getting enough women submit. So how can we help and support that community mean if we had conversations with women who code the, um, the charity organization that really kind of helps our community. So we'd like to push more there and actually try and get more women to submit to us because we know 

they've got an equal opportunity because we do it anonymously. But then, yeah, like you said, you know, it's not just about gender, right? It's across the whole spectrum. Um, and actually I mentioned we. IBRAHIMI you know, we, we, we were able to get them sponsored from Senegal from a community that is really, really, really under-represented like massively get so big, like the community of iOS developers in, in that part of the world is huge. But you should see the, the support Ibrahim had got was just off the scale like is Twitter was was crazy. Um but really like deeply underrepresented in particular in this in this side of the world. So so look we're just really keen to to keep on learning and be as fair as we can and really give everyone the opportunity. And you know what? We're not always going to get it right. Hopefully we can keep learning and and improving and it proves it. I mean, last year we had, um, I would say the most diverse speaker lineup I've ever seen on a conference roster. I mean, we have four women. We had Ibrahim from Senegal. The list keeps on going and still, you know, had feedback saying look at the look at the picture. You know, it's full of, um, it's full of white men. So like,you  know, we're always we could always be better. Right? And I think, you know, if we stay true to the value, the values, then I think we're doing the right thing. 

And like you said, you know, we don't want to 

overcompensate, right? We want it to just be fair system across the board. 

And, yeah, you know, so I learn and improve, you know, as we go, really. I mean, that's that's all we can do, right? You know. 

Jeroen 57:17
So you're basically saying define a process. Make sure that the process honest and then trust the process. 

Adam 57:23
Exactly. Yeah. For two years it's, it's worked. I mean, like I said, we to others, I'm using gender here because it's often easier to, um, to explain, but like, we don't have as many women speakers this year as we did last year. And I guess what we should be really looking to solve is how do we encourage more women to get on stage and speak so proposal because that's the actual and delayed issue. Like when we look at the CFP, we've received about the same proposals from four women speakers on both years, and that's the problem, right? So if we can increase the volume of women speakers, then we'll increase the amount of women on our panel because the system is fair. So so that's why we'll be looking to improve. Of course, like I said, it goes further than that in terms of, you know, being diverse across the whole spectrum. But I think using the genders is a really good example of how we can 

Jeroen 58:28
yeah. That that's that's 

Adam 58:29
improve 

Jeroen 58:29
for 

Adam 58:29
the 

Jeroen 58:29
most people if you talk about these topics that's the, that's the example like most relatable to them because uh, yeah, it's, it's day to day that you, that you get to deal with these, um, 

Adam 58:41
way 

Jeroen 58:42
situations that are, is like based on gender already a difference in, in workforce in how people approach, 

Adam 58:48
people 

Jeroen 58:48
uh, 

Adam 58:49
are 

Jeroen 58:50
about these kinds of challenges. Um, but to switch up a little bit again, two more things I want to cover. And the first one is a bit of a fun one because you mentioned you lost three speakers quite late in the process, but what are some ways that you can cover the fact that you are down one speaker and even if it happens on the day itself, because I had it happen once that a speaker basically called me from his hotel room and said, No, it's not going to happen today. And I asked why. 

Adam 59:21
applied. 

Jeroen 59:21
The response was, You probably don't 

Adam 59:23
You 

Jeroen 59:24
want to 

Adam 59:24
probably 

Jeroen 59:24
know, 

Adam 59:24
don't. 

Jeroen 59:24
but 

Adam 59:25
I, 

Jeroen 59:25
I can't be without 

Adam 59:26
I can it 

Jeroen 59:27


Adam 59:27
that 

Jeroen 59:27
toilet right now. So it was like, okay, I know enough. If there's anything you need today, want me to run to a pharmacy, I will do that for you, but I will take care of that. Your spot is covered. Um, and 

Adam 59:40
uh, 

Jeroen 59:40
we did a sort 

Adam 59:40
and 

Jeroen 59:40
of, 

Adam 59:40
you 

Jeroen 59:40
uh, 

Adam 59:40
didn't take 

Jeroen 59:41
an ad hoc thing that we preplanned a little bit just in case. But what are some things 

Adam 59:47
but 

Jeroen 59:47
that you can 

Adam 59:47
one 

Jeroen 59:47
do 

Adam 59:47
of the things 

Jeroen 59:47
there, 

Adam 59:48
that can 

Jeroen 59:48
Adam 

Adam 59:48
be there, we had this exact thing happened to us of your 

last year. He, he had an accident. He was in hospital. Actually. I shouldn't be chuckling. We should go now because 

Jeroen 1:00:05
It all turned out okay, 

Adam 1:00:06
it was absolutely fine. And he was just playing around with some children's outdoor toys and cracked his skull. Um, but yeah, we. We had this exact thing, you know, message stuff. Think it was two days before. Three days before. I said, Look, you know, I mean, I'm still I'm fine, but I'm not going to be able to make it.

And  essentially what I did was I didn't try and squeeze in a speaker in. So my in my head, if a speaker can't make it and we are even four weeks before I won't be putting a new speaker in, 

Jeroen 1:00:45
and 

Adam 1:00:46
we will do some sort of 

activity game game show. Like I'll think of something 

Jeroen 1:00:54
yeah, 

Adam 1:00:54
basically to cover the gap if it's more than four weeks, you know, if we're talking too much before, three months before, then yeah, we would look at the anonymous CFP and say, Who's next on that list and contact them and say, Look, you know, we've got availability. Would you you're the next voted speaker. Can you, um, would you want to speak 

Jeroen 1:01:17
yeah. 

Adam 1:01:18
and then you know, we can, we can slot that but yeah, otherwise I've got a bunch of ideas, you know game shows and friends. That's exactly what we did. We played who wants to be a swift, you know, 

Jeroen 1:01:32
Did it, Stephane help you by any chance? 

Adam 1:01:35
but.Stefan  Howe Yeah, yeah. So, 

Jeroen 1:01:36
Yeah. 

Adam 1:01:37
and you know people love 

Jeroen 1:01:38
Yeah, 

Adam 1:01:38
to give people 

Jeroen 1:01:39
we, 

Adam 1:01:39
like, 

Jeroen 1:01:39
we did the exact same thing I do. I was because we had to cover that slot as well and it 

Adam 1:01:44
yeah, 

Jeroen 1:01:44
was. But it really works. That's just you, just some sort of refresher activity that's not to too horrible or offensive. And a little bit on topic and if you explain that people are fine with it. But is it is good to think about that ahead of time. Like, okay, what happens if if I look if I'm down one speaker on the day? And then the final thing is this conference happening, I'm told in May in 2024, but I hardly anything about it. What's the deal there? You two? 

Filip 1:02:19
when it start. 

Monika 1:02:21
Yeah, sure. So our main idea is to have currently looking at the 13 and 14 May so to they conference happening in Skopje. We basically pick this time to have quite some time to prepare for and taking all the risks that you have mentioned so far getting in touch with speakers, choosing the right ones. Exactly. And then our plan is to have a single track and we are still not sure about the workshop, depending on the time it will be. If we have one, it might be on the 12th of May, but we'll keep up to date with that if we have any more information because we don't want to push ourself to the limit and not be able to prepare everything as we want to. Because as you mentioned, we are aiming for a quality conference for the things that we elect before in the previous conferences. So that is something that we are still in discussion about and we are aiming for technical talks, but as well there might be also motivational ones because there always will come. 

Filip 1:03:41
we're going through to very similar name. It's iOS Konf with a K for conference. So we get the abbreviation for Skopje, which is ASCII. Um, and just I wanted to add to, to Monica's description of the conference, we really liked the agenda and the plan planned networking breaks between all the talks at Do iOS. And also, Adam, you you mentioned games. So those are things that we also want to do, want to provide a full experience with even some activities in Skopje, maybe in some other areas in Macedonia during the time

Jeroen 1:04:21
Yeah. Example. So one thing I'm hoping that I have budget for and do I was 2023 is a kind of cruise dinner on the kennels of Amsterdam. So I'm really hoping that I can put that together. So things like that around the conference to just have people interact with each other because that's for us. Actually the biggest thing that I try to allocate time for is to actually have breaks and make sure that the breaks are mundane. They're not as long as the talk time, but it's pretty close to it, I think. And people don't mind having an a half an hour coffee break, I think even longer sometimes because yeah, it's to me conference is really about what happens around the talks talks are important, but it's the interaction and the network that you can build that is like the biggest thing for me. And with selecting talks, what I tend to do is I want to make sure that's somebody attending the conference that like either the next day or the next week, they can actually do some meaningful improvement to either their life. The work process or the product, the code base they're working on with something that they took away from the conference. And if I can achieve that with each attendee, then I think the conference is like a wild success already. So, um, so but how can people stay up to date about this EOS conf conference? 

Monika 1:05:50
Yes. So once we have our first sponsor, we will announce it officially. We will create media profiles for artists and also launch the website. And we will, of course, share it from our community point of view and hopefully it will reach out to many people because we are aiming for international speakers and international attend this. So that's our biggest idea. And also I have a question when we are up to this point, you have both mentioned for the beginning of your conferences, it's a starting point right? The first year. So I am you mentioned that the selling point was maybe the after to cover topic, that it was the first conference so people were expecting to go to some conference. So that's why they decided to go too swiftly. It's that year and yet you mentioned that you basically had the back up because you were the conference was sponsored from your current company at that time. Right. So my question would be on which media we should most focus on for sponsoring and to reach out to many people as possible. 

Jeroen 1:07:12
that's a good one. I always tend to like to start building an email list, uh, because that's, that's the most direct way that you can get contact with people. It's also a harder way to get people to provide their email on a list. But of course, the benefit of starting with it right now is that all your attendees, all your sponsors, uh, you can put them on e mailing list for next year. So that's like, that's like something that you can start building and it is detached from, uh, anything related to, um, anything related to like a social platform because right now I'm kind of like keeping a close eye on what's happening with, with Twitter as a social platform, for example, because has always been the biggest and most important channel for do was it's like, it's like where most of the traffic always, uh, comes from for me. So I tend to like make sure that I put things on on socials. So that's Twitter, LinkedIn, of course, Mastodon, which are active on that, and you have a presence there. And the benefit of using these three is that basically all the assets that you create, they can just take. Did they just transfer over pretty easily? You don't have to do anything really specific. You can reuse some of the copy most likely. Sometimes you want to tailor it to a platform, of course. Um, and just like use those channels just anywhere that like allows you to boost things. But also, um, there are like these online communities that are available, um, that, that, that are, uh, like iOS developers is some Slack channel somewhere. It's like, uh, on LinkedIn just basically gathering places of lots of people and also looking in your network. If you know people that are, uh, that have a reach to just basically plain out, ask them, Hey, can you please mention this thing that we're starting and it's still new account sponsored you, but we, we need exposure to get it going because I just know that if you would ask Adam, Hey, we're bootstrapping this thing and we're getting it launched, can you please share something about it? He will just, he will just share it through the roof. And if you ask me, same will happen probably if you go to Antoine. He has met you in Amsterdam in person. Uh, he'll probably also help you out in some way. And it's just, you know, just see what people, you know, that have a reach and just, just outright asking them, just like, uh, ask them to, like, give you some exposure. And of course, if you're successful and you're really big, like two or three years down the line, yes, of course they're going to ask you, hey, but you will need to sponsor for that. But if you're like really bootstrapping, then the people know that the playing field is not yet level for you and they they will help you out. Just trust me on that one. That That will happen. 

Adam 1:10:03
I feel if I feel you basically covered everything. The biggest reach for us when we start it was definitely Twitter. Um, I don't think I used anything else. Maybe like in I have quite a big reach on LinkedIn, so that was useful. Um, but yeah, it was, I would say it's like it was maybe 90% of Twitter where we, we got most traction, not so much now, you know, like things have definitely changed and we need to get better email we we were sending regular emails mainly last year but this year we've been really terrible actually sending emails. Yeah, I think we sent one for the whole year, you know, we need to get better at that. So we tend to fire it out on Twitter and LinkedIn and hope the message gets out. And I, I think it does mostly. But yeah, we need to keep an eye on the whole social front because it's definitely changing. 

Not for the better. I don't think so. We need to keep it out of that and see what happens and probably get better on email. But yeah, also one thing that's not been mentioned is there's quite a few websites where you can add your conference on that's happening. If you if you go to like iOS conferences, it's

Jeroen 1:11:33
Yeah. If I was converts or something and there's some GitHub repositories and there's people actually have an app for Tetris backends. And what I noticed is that people tend to really just put your conference on there and it's like, Hey, where is this traffic coming from? It's like, Oh, it's actually linked somewhere. 

Adam 1:11:50
which we do, we do actually add them, they get added for us. So I'm looking at my, we use a website called Plausible, which is anonymous analytics, so we don't trust anyone. I can see where people have come from and there was one code conference tech, 

Jeroen 1:12:07
Yeah, that's a good one 

Adam 1:12:07
it's 

Jeroen 1:12:08
as 

Adam 1:12:08


Jeroen 1:12:08
well. 

Adam 1:12:08
popular one, a dev dev top events and event ticker dot com. So they've that doing I mean this in the last this is just going to give you some

Jeroen 1:12:20
Yeah. Because just a random conference attendee. What I tend to do is like, they just. I want to go to a conference, okay? They try and find a list of conferences in the area, the technology that they're interested in, and then it's like, okay, what conferences are happening on dates that are convenient for me and what is in a place that I wouldn't mind traveling to? And it's like, Oh, Amsterdam, that sounds like a fun place to go to what's happening there. And of course Skopje, it's probably not the city that most people have like at the front of their thoughts when I when considering conferences. But this is Skopje, Macedonia. Sounds interesting. Click Oh, it looks quite nice actually. Maybe I should go here and it's it's it's people they go to your conference and for like the silliest of reasons why because I've had people tell me like I just wanted to go to Amsterdam and your conference just so happened to be here. 

Adam 1:13:12
A lot of conferences and I could see this being one of them attracts people because, you know, eight times out of ten the companies is expensive, the ticket firm and also the travel and accommodation. So, I mean, ultimately they get like a free trip, you know, and also get to learn a little bit as well. So often people will select conferences that are in, you know, really nice locations and a spend is really well, I know a lots of people that go there because they're like, well, you know, it's great climate. I get to drink wine and the the vineyards and and also stuff. I mean yeah this is a prime example I'd love go to Macedonia you know that it looks incredible. So if the CFP has opened

Jeroen 1:13:57
Sign me up. 

Adam 1:13:58
hello, I'm ready, you know, and that's what I think drives people or would drive people to your conference is is a lot of the reason

Jeroen 1:14:10
That's one thing that I keep hearing. And when talking to attendees at other conferences in Europe is that if you speak to somebody traveling in from from the United States, from North America and they're like they, they like, yeah, but these European conferences, they're so nice. They're so like, the venues are so great, the food is so nice. The, the, the, the surroundings are like so amazing because us conferences, they have a tendency to be like in these really dreary places and ballrooms with like this horrible carpet usually. And it's, and the food is always like, yeah, it's WWC level lunch uh, food if you've been to WW DC back in the day when it was still an in-person event, people know what I'm talking about. It's like a back sandwich that is like soggy, not very tasteful and stuff. Um, so, so, 

yeah, but, but this, this, this was not in WWC as it used to be because I've been in, in the mad dash days and I've been in a lot three days. I haven't been to the Apple campus yet unfortunately. But who knows, maybe someday I'm so just to start wrapping things up because we're already going one and a half hour or near to that. Um, yeah. So people need to keep an eye on the both of you on, on, on socials, Twitter, whatever. Just send me some links. I will put them in the show notes and people can, uh, can give you guys a follow there. And then hopefully once things go live and there's some more information you can share, uh, we can like, uh whatever social platform it is on, we can, like, share it like crazy and, uh, g you guys boosted to such a level that it's, like, viable as soon as possible. Because I think there's always room for, uh, another nice conference in Europe, if you ask me. And I think Adam would agree to that. Uh, very much. And I think all European based conferences would agree to that because we have an a Spain, we have swift heroes, ISAF, UK, swift leads do. I was, uh, probably forgetting a ton. It's just too much in a way to remember it. But it's not too much in the number of events because. If you look at it, at the numbers, that's like, I don't know how many million iOS developers in the world and regular conference in Europe. It's somewhere in the range of like 100 to maybe 500 or six people attending that. So that's always going to be in the foreseeable future be room for another event. So I wish you two the best of luck with your four organizers because you mentioned it's six of you putting this together and I hope it's a wild success. And, uh, who knows, maybe we get to high five for each in Macedonia next year, uh, the eight of us. So that's going to be the six of you and Adam and me and whoever else will be there. And this. Yeah, it's 

all right. Um, 

Adam 1:17:08
I mean, if there's anything I can, you know, and or help, 

Jeroen 1:17:14
yeah, 

Adam 1:17:15
or if it's for fleets can help in any way, you know, to do fire over. We have a, a select group. The link is on our website so feel free to join that will on the. Yeah. Like your own said, I also wish you the best of luck and I can't wait for CFP. Yeah I'm I'm down. 

Filip 1:17:37
We really have taken quite a lot of notes this. 

Monika 1:17:40
you've mentioned a couple of things that we didn't have in mind, but that's why this podcast was for. 

Filip 1:17:45
Thank you very much. It's it was a wonderful, wonderful experience and a great opportunity for us.