In an effort to keep folks as fully informed as possible, I’ll periodically share information about the Summit for next year. In this update, I want to explain how we’re hoping to address some of the issues (all good ones, actually) that we’ve experienced with the 2013 event.
First, the 2013 event sold out fast. We have a fire code limit of about 100 people and we hit it quickly – and our wait list ballooned to almost as many people. The moral of that story is that (a) we need more space and (b) people gotta sign up quicker if they want a spot! This is like grabbing those U2 tickets – camp out overnight and snap ’em up. So we’re hoping to be in the Microsoft Conference Center (MSCC) on campus, which should allow us around 250 attendees in 2014. We can’t book that space until about a year out, we’re told, but once we can start booking we will announce it here. Our 2013 alumni will get first dibs, and we’ll have about 25 early bird tickets to sell. We expect pricing to be about $700 for those, and about $850 for full-price tickets, plus about $40-$50 in ticketing fees (which covers credit card merchant fees and the ticketing company fee).
Second, we will offer tickets as soon as we can do so. That may include an “I’m Feeling Lucky” ticket even before we know our dates (we’re still aiming for April 2014). However, due to changing regulations, we can only offer refunds for 30 days after you make your purchase, or (due to logistics) until February 1st, whichever comes first. That’s something you’ll have to take into account.
Third, we’re going to make the waitlist process a bit more automated, and give you the ability to use the waitlist to sell your ticket to someone else if you change your mind about attending. People will be able to waitlist on PowerShell.org, and prospective ticket-sellers will be able to offer tickets to that list. You’re on your own for completing the transaction (we suggest PayPal), and you simply notify us of the transfer once it’s complete.
Fourth, in case the question of recording the sessions comes up again, here’s the deal. It’s expensive. We’ve looked into it, and we’ll need about $8,000 in equipment, which is a one-time expense that will let us record sessions with a minimum of on-site labor. So we’re going to launch an IndieGoGo campaign in late 2013 to try and raise that money. Contributors will receive (depending on the amount they contribute) access to all future Summit recordings, a discount on Summit recordings for 2014, or full access to the 2014 recordings. If we don’t meet our goal, we won’t record, and everyone gets their money back. If we do meet our goal, only contributors will get access to the 2014 videos. However, in subsequent years we will sell (for a nominal fee) access to the videos to the public – that’ll happen after the Summit is over. In years where the Summit sells out, we’ll put the videos online for free (unless we need to recoup labor costs, in which case there might still be a nominal fee). This is the fair-est approach we could come up with that balances our need to have a successful on-site event (without the paying attendees, we can’t do this thing at all) and to accommodate the needs of folks who can’t possibly attend.
Fifth, we still have no word on any events outside the US, and probably will not. We are simply not pursuing it at this time. It gets very complicated when a US business starts doing events in other countries, and we don’t have the manpower or resources to tackle that right now. Several folks have expressed an interest in spearheading various non-US versions of the Summit, and most of those are going nowhere. One problem is that, in Europe, nobody appears interested in a “Euro Summit;” they all want one in their own country, which makes the whole endeavor financially risky and exponentially more complicated. There’s a huge concern that if we do one in (say) Barcelona, nobody from outside that area will even come. Another problem is that the Summit involves an insane amount of work – personally, I’ve spent hundreds of hours on this and I know Kirk has as well, along with Jason, Jeff, and Richard, the Scripting Wife, and a few more volunteers. It’s a lot of work, and thus far we haven’t seen anyone outside the US willing to take it on. Keep in mind that we all still need to have our full-time jobs to pay for silly things like groceries and electricity; we can’t afford to take out much more volunteer time.
Sixth, the 2014 Summit will look much like the 2013 Summit in terms of content: about three dozen sessions in one-hour blocks, with about 45 minutes per session (including Q&A time). We’ll feed you breakfast and lunch. We are going to book out a block of rooms at a nearby hotel, and will run a shuttle bus to and from that hotel (only!) and the Summit venue. That should help lower travel costs by reducing the need for a rental car. We are not going to be able to hold enough rooms for all 200-250 attendees (when you hold a room, you pay for it whether it gets used or not, so the financial risk there is huge). We are hoping to block about 60 rooms – so it’ll become important to book early. Once that block is sold, you’re on your own – although the same hotel may well have rooms at their normal rate, which is what we’re hoping will happen.
Seventh, communications with registered attendees has been a huge PITA, mainly because some providers – like ForeFront Online Protection (FOLP) have a global block against EventBrite, our ticket company. Yeah, awesome. So for 2014 we’re going to use THIS blog category and our Twitter feed to “push” communications. We’ll still attempt to use email, but it’s just not reliable in this age of ultra-spam-blocking. So if you register, it will be your responsibility to check for updated information. After all, you’re supposed to be the big, smart IT professional, so you should be able to figure out how to do that <grin>.
I’ll continue posting updates as information is available, and we hope you’ll start talking to the boss about the 2014 show. The 2013 show is sold out. As of right now, we are no longer to able process refunds for existing attendees, so we’re no longer processing the 2013 wait list. That means it’s time to start looking at the 2014 show.
Any questions, drop ’em in the comments!