On November 30th, 2017 we, alongside many many Wellington and NZ-wide tech associations, notably NZTech and Summer of Tech, held a Christmas Party to pop the bubbles between industries, organisations, job titles and all the other things that stop us talking toi each other. A 1,000 people (or just under) came along to the Westpac Stadium Members Lounge, heard (if they could) stirring speeches from honoured guests, partook in 'mingling' activities and watched a live stream of our podcast being broadcast.
Mostly though people caught up with old friends, made new friends, swapped contact details and chatted along
The following is a wee bit of analysis on our post-event review we posted to everyone on the ticket lists (whether they came or not) and for those that want the [tl;dr] it is:
- Most of those that said they would come, did
- The venue generally worked
- There was not enough food
- The sound system didn't work well enough
- The stage was in a weird place
- The activities were ok but not a focus
- Meeting people was awesome
- Thanks for doing it
- Nearly everyone wants to come again
Apart from the first and last question ("Did you go?" and "Would you come again?") all our questions we on a scale of 1 to 5, with '1' being "terrible, awful, didn't work at all" and '5' being "awesome, loved it, spot on, couldn't be better".
So let's crack into the details ...
Firstly we were curious about how people found getting in and registered and once in what was the venue like. Thanks to the Summer of Tech team and volunteers the registration process was one of delight and ease - we can't thank them enough for making this happen and we hope they'll do this for many years to come (or we will do it ourselves exactly the same way)
A massive 79% rated this with a '5', "So smooth it was like butter" - testament to the team!
Once in, we wanted to know how the venue worked for people and we got a mixed bag of results with a few not loving it but the majority falling into the, "yeah, sure, it was fine, could've been better" to a quarter saying they found it grand.
Here are a few comments from rated it as '1', followed by a few that rated it as '5'
- The venue was way way way too hot, I found it incredibly uncomfortable,
- Venue long and thin, not cosy.
- The events and mingling space were too condensed.
And now those that loved the venue:
- The snake-like shape of the venue was perfect, as I could wander from end to end and be sure I'd eyeballed everyone.
- I like the long thin room thing because it means you walk past everyone and can bump into people easier.
It was interesting how many people shared their photos of the empty sports field from our vantage point in the Members Lounge, not a view many people get to see on such a glorious evening.
Ok, moving on to the first of our big learnings of the event - the food and drink. In essence, NOT! ENOUGH! FOD!!! We totally hear you and next year it will be different set-up completely that will ensure catering meets all our needs. We apologise to those that missed out (the majority)
Here's what a sample of what many people expressed:
- Was hardly any food - was starving coming straight from work! False advertising!!
- I don’t think there was enough food for who was there. As responsible hosts I don’t think there was enough for his boozy lunches.
- Not enough food
- Food was completely gone by 5PM. This is actually a safety risk for people: if you're serving alcohol, food _must_ be available on premises at the same time.
- Didn't see any food down by the exhibition tables,and quite a few people were complaining that there wasnt enough.
And so onto the most difficult part of the event for us as organisers, the "Activities". These ranged from a fairly ad-hoc (but bloody popular) show-and-tell area (also designated as the "quiet area", that didn't really pan out either) to the on-going activities from the network bingo, the most amazing Neonatal Trust auction, and the speeches.
As the numbers hold out this ranged from, "pointless/didn't like" to, "yeah, was quite fun":
A few learnings from those that weren't too chuffed, or merely confused by it all:
- The ice-breakers didnt work as well, but heck most people knew many; a lesson to learn from TEDx Wellington where eveyone had a lanyard saying "talk to me about ......" perfect to start a conversation.
- The activities were tucked right down the back, missed those because of talking to people as we walked in the door.
- The event on the overall lacked guidance. We did not know what to expect from it, it was a bit confusing. Great idea to reunite the Wlg tech community but it lacks guidance in the networking process, in the outcome of the night and the startup/ association presenting their projects.
- The activities weren't engaging - they were a dismissed distraction more than anything else.
Overall it was a good effort but we have to get more organised and clearer about what's happening - the screens didn't really let people know enough.
And now the second bone of contention for a LOT of people - the sound, for the speeches mainly but also the music. "Too quiet" - yip, again we hear you (b'doom t'sh) - our fault and not the soundsystem as we didn't have anyone fiddling with the volumes on the sound desk. We have learnt! Also, the location of the stage was wrong; we will definitely be amending that for venues we use.
So that's it - here's some comments that made our hearts smiley, thank you before we get to the all important question - should we bother doing it again?
- Lovely event, thanks for organising it!!
- First of all, what a cool idea running this event! Was great to see so many people together and be able to catch up with folks across the board.
- The speakers were awesome, it was such a shame people spoke over them.
- it was great to have everyone from the tech community in one space!
- I had a great time at the event
- Overall, amazing event, so many wonderful people I enjoyed spending time with. And I saw Keith!
- Hi Mike and team. I think you did a marvellous job organising and hosting the party. Well done!
- I loved the event. Amazingly managed to talk with many interesting people.
- I want to preface my feedback with the emphasis that I still had a brilliant time at WellyTech2017 despite its flaws.
Thank you all ... so, d'ya wanna do it again ...
It's pencilled in already - same venue (Members Lounge at the Stadium) for Friday 30th November, 2018 from 4pm-7pm. We're also thinking of an 'official' after party venue for those that want to continue into the night.
Underlying data is now available for all to see, maybe work out if those that hated the sound loved the food, or those that had a hard time with the venue wouldn't come again ... have at it data analysis people