mvcConf 2 - All session videos are up, time for a recap
Dear MVC community: You are awesome
Thanks for making mvcConf 2 a much bigger success than we'd ever anticipated! mvcConf grew out of the C4MVC meetings, with the first mvcConf event in July 2010. Following that event, we talked about what went well and what we'd like to do for the next event, and we all agreed that we wanted to go for it and see how big we could expand. Here's how the progression went:
|Event ||Live Attendance ||Overall Feel |
|C4MVC meetings ||30-50 ||User group |
|mvcConf 1 ||500 ||Code Camp |
|mvcConf 2 ||10,000 ||Conference |
Here's a look at the participation during the event:
- 4900 unique live viewers of the live video stream throughout the day
- 2450 peak video viewership (for Scott Guthrie and Phil Haack sessions), over 1000 viewers at all times throughout the day
- 4 concurrent Live Meeting tracks, in addition to the live video stream
- 1100 peak attendance for Live Meeting sessions (concurrent with and in addition to the live video stream)
- 5900 hours of attendance by Live Meeting participants
- Top on-demand video (of those available thus far) – Scott Guthrie Keynote – Over 29,000 views in the week since the event
- Top Live Meeting session – BDD in ASP.NET MVC using SpecFlow, WatiN and WatiN Test Helpers by Brandon Satrom – 424 attendees
- Over 1500 tweets, overwhelmingly positive
- Top rated session – MVC Q&A by Jeffrey Palermo – 4.81 / 5.00
- Total views (live + on-demand, as of Feb 15) - 58,300
Behind The Scenes: You
I wrote up a behind the scenes at mvcConf post after mvcConf 1, and am working on the same thing for this event. It's easy to focus on the technologies (breakout sessions using Live Meeting, live video using Silverlight Smooth Streaming, etc.) and how things were coordinated behind the scenes, but the real driving force behind this was the community:
The community showed up to the conference in a big way
You registered early, you showed up, and you participated (over 1500 tweets during the conference).
Community speakers stepped up to present
Of 27 sessions, only 7 had Microsoft participation. We had an open call for speakers, and accepted every submission. When people noticed that there were topic gaps in the session lineup, they volunteered additional sessions, and they were all added. We had a wide variety of content, including what's working for you in your shipping applications, the open source projects you're leading, etc.
Behind The Scenes: The Core Team
I described the history of mvcConf in my mvcConf 1 wrapup - it grew out of the C4MVC (Community For MVC) meetings, run by Eric Hexter and Javier Lozano. I've joined in as an mvcConf organizer because I think it's one of the most valuable ways I could be spending my time (a Microsoft Community PM focused on MVC), because I think it's a great effort I want to be a part of, and because - as a Microsoft employee - I can make some connections and facilitate getting things done (like lining up ASP.NET product team speakers and working with Channel 9) that are a little harder to do from the outside. We've been having regular, late night Skype meetings and epic weekend e-mail threads to get this planned out. It's been great working with such a dedicated, smart team to get this all put together.
During the conference, Javier and I were in the Channel 9 studios to keep things running and facilitate the live video stream. Eric Hexter ran the Live Meeting tracks from Austin, aided by a group of volunteers including (let me know if I miss anyone):
Behind The Scenes: Hanselminutes Interview
Scott Hanselman shrugged off pneumonia to recorded a podcast with Javier and me last week, discussing how the conference was run and where it could go in the future.
Download / Listen to the show:
Hanselminutes 253: Organizing your own Virtual Technical Conference - mvcConf Post-Mortem
All the sessions were recorded at 1280x720 (HD 720p) and are available in the following places:
The Channel 9 site offers a lot of formats - including WMV (high and low), MP4 (high and low), MP3, and Silverlight Smooth Streaming - as well as comments and an RSS feed. If you're watching using the Silverlight player and having trouble with the Smooth Streaming playing at low quality, you can try refreshing the page, or try the player on the mvcConf site - it overrides the Smooth Streaming to always play the high quality video, so the code should be readable.
Eric Sowell (@mallioch) stepped up to coordinate the session videos for all the Live Meeting sessions. That's no small feat - he followed up with all the presenters to get their Camtasia recordings for over 20 sessions, figured out backup plans when recordings weren't available, coordinated a group of volunteer editors, and made sure they all got turned over to Nic at Channel 9 for upload. We had most of them up within a week of the conference, and the final one just went up this morning.
Here are links to the individual session videos on Channel 9:
You can subscribe to the RSS feed here: http://channel9.msdn.com/Series/mvcConf/RSS
You can use my PowerShell downloader script to grab a local copy of all the session videos.
Scott Guthrie kicked off the event with a great keynote. When we talked about the keynote before the event - and the informed, engaged people that attended mvcConf 1 - we agreed that an informal Ask The Gu talk would work great here. He split the one hour talk in half, starting with a look at how MVC fits in with the Microsoft web stack, a recap on the release cycles to date, and a look at where it's going. After that, we opened it up to a 30 minute Q&A period over Twitter. I was frantically scanning the Twitter stream, typing the questions in to our "teleprompter" (actually a laptop with WordPad hooked up to a big LCD screen).
Note: The Channel 9 video player is embeddable, so you can embed these talks in other web pages.
I've mentioned Chanel 9 over and over, so it should be clear that this event really wouldn't have been anywhere near what it was without their support. I've been working with Nic Fillingham (@nicfill) since right after mvcConf 1 wrapped up to figure out how we could pull this off. He, and the whole Channel 9 studios team have been extremely accommodating every step of the way (including support from Dan Fernandez and Jeff Sandquist). Some of the complications we worked through:
- The studio was undergoing a major renovation that wrapped up the week before the conference. It was touch and go up until the end to see if it would be ready.
- Channel 9 normally works on events run by people who know what they're doing, with things like "schedules" and "budgets." This event was way out of the standard way they handle things, and they were incredibly flexible and helpful every step of the way.
Live Meeting works well for individual breakout sessions, but has a hard limit of 1250 attendees per session. Working out a hybrid model with Channel 9 was essential here, giving us the best of both scaling opportunities:
- Live video for the (anticipated) most popular tracks gave us virtually unlimited viewer scale - we could support tons of viewers without requiring any software other than Silverlight
- Live Meeting gave us breadth scale, enabling us to support a lot of concurrent sessions with a huge variety of topics, adding new tracks as necessary
Here are some pictures from the studio:
Twitter was a big part of this conference - more so than most conferences since it was completely virtual. We had a dedicated @mvcConf twitter account which made announcements (leading up to the conference, announcing the sessions during the conference, and giving status updates on videos after the conference). We used Twitter to take questions for the live video sessions (including half of the keynote, as mentioned above), and we also used Twitter to watch for any problems - potential video issues, Live Meeting difficulties, etc.
I ran The Archivist during the event to capture the complete tweet stream, running searches on both #mvcconf and @mvcconf. You can see that it was pretty busy throughout the day.
Some favorite Tweets from the day:
@Fr3gU: Man, my brains are exploding from all the awesome information about ASP.NET MVC on #mvcConf. Luckily the sessions are being recorded.
@frank_meola: Got some great ideas from #mvcconf. I could taste the excitement all the way on the other coast. Mmmm.... bacon-y.
@vanderleidotnet: I'm impressed how #mvcconf is produced and coordinated. Thanks guys, some technical communities should learn something about this kindness.
@bmartin_us: mvcConf was INCREDIBLE! Thanks guys! #mvcconf
A free, community run event like this truly wouldn't have been possible without some sponsor support - just paying for the live video cost several thousand dollars, we had travel costs, etc., that had to be covered.
Our Partner Sponsors for the event were Microsoft and Umbraco. We'd like to give a big thanks to Umbraco for covering the cost of live video. You guys rock!
We had great support from several other sponsors, contributing financially as well as via design help (NimblePros), Camtasia licenses for all sponsors (TechSmith), etc.
Please take some time to thank our sponsors! It's not just nice, it's a good way to help make sure mvcConf 3 happens. :-)