Not Invented Here syndrome (NIH) is the guilty pleasure that tempts engineering teams into creating bespoke approaches to problems that have already been solved. Even having your eyes opened to the temptation doesn’t immunize you from it. So, how do you know whether a bespoke solution warrants the effort or if it’s just plain hubris?
Well, we’ve been busy. Over the past 2.5 months, we’ve attended, sponsored, or exhibited at seven different events! We’re still recovering from all that travel but we wanted to share with you a bit about each!
August 17-19 – WordCamp for Publishers – Denver, CO
In August, almost 200 attendees gathered at the Digital First Media offices in Denver for the first ever WordCamp for Publishers. Alley Interactive helped organize and sponsored this community-organized event that brought together people who use WordPress to manage publications, big or small. We had three days of presentations, workshops, unconference sessions, and a contributor day.
Alley team members Owen Stowe and Pattie Reaves ran a workshop on Huron, our open source tool for generating both in-browser style guides and in-browser prototypes. They helped attendees learn how Huron provides a seamless frontend development experience for rapid prototyping. Partner Tom Harrigan gave a lightning talk on our Voice WP plugin, which allows publishers to create their own voice apps. We also had three leads on the organizing team, Davis Shaver for the day of event volunteers, Matt Johnson on budgets, and Brad Campeau-Laurion on the marketing team and day of event video production.
It was a very successful event and we hope to make it happen again in 2018!
September 6-8 – FUSE Media Conference – Philadelphia, PA
Tom and myself attended this conference, and made a number of great connections. The standout aspect of this event were our ten 20-minute one-on-one (that’s a lot of numbers in a description) meetings with prospects we identified before. We had some great conversations, and overall it was a pretty fun conference. The attendees, all invited to attend without charge, were actually very excited about the sessions and conversations, and it was a much friendlier atmosphere than some other events. There was even a casino night, where I learned to play craps — a personal, though not business-related, achievement for me.
September 20-23 – Western Museums Association Annual Meeting – Edmonton, AB
Digital Strategist Tim Schwartz, Valentin Cucu, and myself headed up to Canada for our only international conference this season, the joint WMA-AMA (Alberta Museums Association) conference in Alberta. This was a bit of a new vertical for us, and we treated it less as an opportunity for business and more as a chance to learn about the museums area. Our booth was popular, and flanked by wax figure creators and fine art shipping companies, we held a pretty good place as one of the few digital companies there.
The ~300 attendees were mostly from smaller, regional museums, and were looking to connect and find new ways to expand their marketing and promotional efforts. You can read a little more about what we took away from the conference in our guest post on the WMA blog.
September 25-27 – Digiday Publishing Summit – Key Biscayne, FL
Brad stopped by DPS this fall to meet with some current and potential clients. We didn’t find this all that useful this year, as connections were limited by invite-only events and other logistical challenges. However, it did allow him to easily hop north to…
September 27-29 – ComNet – Miami Beach, FL
Three partners (Austin Smith, Brad, Jeff Stanger) and I attended this non-profit and foundation conference at the tail end of September. Jeff knew pretty much everyone there, despite the large size, and we made some good connections with potential clients, mostly around the many networking events they had available. Also, we sponsored the beach towels, which are pretty cool and have our logo on them. Jeff spoke at a panel with a couple of our current clients about data visualization, which was completely packed and well-received. The speakers promoted an atmosphere of moving forward together and trying new things, which we hope will help us to help them build digital presences.
October 5-7 – ONA Conference – Washington, DC
This was our largest Alley crowd this fall, with seven team members attending – Austin, Matt Johnson, Brad, Val, Susan Finkelpearl, Margaret Schneider, and myself. A conference of over 3,000 professionals in the digital news space, ONA was packed with potential contacts. We had a booth here, well-trafficked, and had two SRO sessions about data visualization (Matt J.) and maximizing the effect of your content digitally (Austin).
October 8-11 – HighEdWeb – Hartford, CT
After ONA, Brad, Val, and I drove up to Hartford for this conference of about 600 staff members of colleges and universities. Mostly on their tech teams, being developers they weren’t always the exact contacts we were looking for, but we think we still got a lot out of it. Unlike our other events, people seemed to go to almost every session — there was a lot of dead time at our booth, but when we had conversations they were exciting and useful. Also, I placed second in another vendor’s Mario Kart tournament. So there’s that.
Our opinion of these events will of course change as we develop leads and build relationships. However, we’ve got a strong start, and we look forward to the next set.