The last couple of days have had a lot of discussion about The LaLiT and how their mis-management caused the organisers a lot of inconvenience. This post talks about the conference itself – what worked and what didn’t. The conference was a roaring success and attendees were not even aware about the woes the organisers had with the hotel management.
The Success Story – in numbers!
In this year’s edition we decided to include accommodation as part of the conference ticket. A very risky deal considering that we had to give a minimum room rental guarantee (120 to be precise) early on in November! This would mean we needed at least 350 participants to achieve our target. The “deal of the season” ticket price starting at Rs. 6,000 (that included stay for 2 nights with all meals, conference pass and beach party) ensured we got 404 participants! Our gold Sponsors Josh Software, Embibe and Fab along with 4 silver sponsors, 1 Media sponsor and a whopping 10 Associate sponsors ensured that we raised the minimum 44 Lakh INR that was required.
The location was amazing, the beach pristine and the rooms divine. We did not receive any complaints about the food either!
The best part of such an arrangement was that we had very very few cancellations and every other person at the hotel was a rubyist! This added to the charm of the conference as people had literally all the time in the world to meet other people and share their stories over a drink or a smoke!
The beach party was a blast and a big shout-out to the attendees to avoid the organisers nightmare – no one drowned 🙂 or went into the water, no one was drunk and created a scene and there was no one who misbehaved. Even after we closed the bar, there were no complaints and people carried on the party on their own expense very decently!
When the organisers arrived at the hotel, we realized that the two banquet halls were quite far away with a short walk in the afternoon sun! We improvised this and made into a Single Track event and re-scheduled the talks. Luckily, since we had the whole day (and advantage of attendees staying at the hotel) we did not have to move speakers to the other day.
When we had a sudden electrical failure (yeah – that happened too!) we had to improvise and we had Rohit from Fab do a 7 minute standup technical comic act!
The talks themselves were great and applauded by all. It was a full house all the way! Charlie started the proceeding with his talk on Concurrency in JRuby followed by various talks that included details about bundler, making faster websites, Natural language processing, SOLID principles and testing with pry. PJ Haggerty gave a talk about building the ruby community and Zachary Scott entertained the crowd with his hand-drawn slides! Akira explained in chapters the entire Rails Hacking Guide. There were a lot of first time speakers and I was pleased to note that everyone of them gave a very professional talk. Kudos to all!
As with every conference, problems did unravel and the organiser did their best to not let it affect the conference schedule or the attendees. Had the Hotel Management been a little accommodative and polite, things would have have taken a different turn after the conference and they would not have received so much flak as they have!
Water stations not refilled, lunch in the sun and threats around clearing balance amount before leaving were un-reasonbable and un-forgivable – but this had no impact on the conference.
I have been very pleased to see the support of the Ruby Community and back us up the hotels mis-behaviour. This only encourages us to do more for the conference. Thanks!