This is the second of two blog posts that dive into the feedback we received on ProductCamp Seattle 2012. The first post focuses on the quantitative data - this one explores specific feedback. By sharing this with our community we hope to start conversations about what we can do better next year.
The following insights were derived from the answers to three open questions in our survey:
I took the answers to all of these questions and grouped them. I then used the groups to draw insight. There are probably better methodologies, and if there are any analysts reading this (or face-palming) and want to have a shot I would be happy to share the source data.
Campers loved the venue (and the parking)....
"Made me wish I had a tech start up I could move in."
....but not everyone loved the location
Lake Washington prevents us from ever completely solving the Eastside vs Westside problem (unless we host on a boat next year?). Our monthly events are in Mercer Island for this reason. We knew Georgetown might be a little far south but we traded this against the quality of the venue and the parking. This may be one of the reasons attrition was higher than expected. Would love to hear people's ideas in the comments below.
A few simple changes to the layout would enhance the experience
We spend a lot of time thinking about the 'flow' of the venue, in fact it is one of our criteria in selection. Unlike traditional conferences, ProductCamp encourages walking and movement! There were a few recurring themes related to flow:
A lady whose name I did not catch offered some suggestions on information design. If you are that lady please contact us! We would love to hear your ideas.
Networking and talking shop are the most valued activities
Campers are divided on discussions vs. presentations
As expected we had a lot of feedback on the sessions themselves. Most of it fell into one of these two sentiments:
Looks like we have a couple of different user personas within our audience. If I find some time I am going to dig a bit deeper into this. There may even be some un-served user needs we are not serving - or some better ways to structure the agenda. But either way you like to have both types of content and we should continue to support that. So....
Setting better expectations ahead of sessions would help people plan their time
You guys want to know the session formats ahead of time (e.g. discussion vs presentation) so you can follow what you like. You also want to know a bit about the speakers.
"I would like the presenters to give an elevator pitch for their session. It helps to preview the presenter."
"it would have improved my experience a good deal if those more structured and organized sessions were proposed ahead of time"
A few shout outs for some presenters that got specific mentions
These sessions and presenters were called out in our feedback - we thank you!
The volunteers, logistics and food (and happy hour) were very much appreciated
Thank you for your feedback! We work hard to make sure that we can provide appropriate free food and refreshments - it is good to know that you guys value this.
Thanks all for your feedback it is really appreciated. Maybe we can test out a few ideas at mini-PCS in March. And for those of you who were wondering what happened to the (late addition) question If ProductCamp was held on a weekday, how would it affect the liklihood of you being able to attend? - only one respondent indicated they would be more likely to attend PCS if it was held on a weekday.