PodCamp DC Review

Yesterday, I mentioned that PodCamp DC was happening and it was a successful event, in my books. The organizers worked their tails off to pull off the event, the sessions were great – I’m hearing wonderful feedback from the session hosted by Andy Carvin of NPR and Jim Long (NewMediaJim) from NBC.

PodCamp DC Signage - Technosailor Sponsors!

This is now my third Podcamp (and first one to sponsor). Let me frame my feedback around the pros and cons of the other two, before I explain my feedback surrounding the DC event.

PodCamp Philly

PodCamp Philly was an amazing success. It was the first event I went to and I think a large degree of success came from the venue. It was held at Drexel University and centered around hundreds of square feet of common area. The common area had a Starbucks (where a tab was graciously kept open for most of the day by Comcast), the wifi was working, and we were in walking distance of food and drink. In fact, on Saturday during that event, I spent a significant portion of the day spending time with Viddler and have maintained a great working relationship with them since that day in late September, 2007.

Vibrant Bar Colors

PodCamp Boston 2

As much as I love Chris Penn and Chris Brogan, PodCamp Boston represented epic FAIL in my books. I think both of them would largely agree with me, and little of it was their fault.

Epic FAIL might be a bit harsh. The people were great. But the venue sucked (Boston Convention Center). There was a restaurant in the hotel that was attached to the convention center and a Starbucks across the street. Outside of that, there was very few places to escape to throughout the day. The convention center was so big it was the anti-common meeting area. Too many people came from out of town, myself included. half of the 1300 registrants actually showed up. However, Rule 4 of the Podcamp Tome was revoked – now PodCamps do not have to be free. This was a lesson learned that is valuable and largely an excellent move.

PodCamp DC

PodCamp DC was a one day event. That was a bit bizarre for me, as the other two were two day events. That said, I think one day works. The venue was a horrible spot for a podcamp as there were no open common areas for people to meet, sponsors to setup booths, etc. Everything was spread across classrooms on three different floors which made for a very tiring day.

Geoff Shooting Film

Rosslyn, Virginia is nice, but is truly suburbia hell. PodCamp DC attendees were encouraged not to drive, and in fact, I would have done the same thing. Rosslyn metro access on the orange/blue lines made commuting a breeze. Later in the evening, the after party was held in a place that, while metro accessible, was really only so if you wanted to walk around a traditional suburban mall. Not the kind of place to have an after party when attendees were encouraged to not drive.

That said, it was a wonderful evening topped off by a visit from lifecaster/musician Jody Gnant (ustream), who I shared a special moment with over a shot of tequila. (Not that kind of special moment, mind out of the gutter!)

Added After: I loved the fact that PodCamp DC was largely supported by local people. It’s nice to have folks from out of town, but it’s super nice when our own people got involved, attended, spread the word and boosted the event. Go us.

Joel Mark Witt

I give Podcamp DC the following ratings:

1) Marketing/Message: 6/10
2) Venue: 3/10
3) Pre-party: 6/10
4) After-party: 7/10
5) Speakers: 8/10
6) Support from Rich Media Community: 6/10
7) Organizers: 8/10

Well done, Tammy, Joel and Ernie. Can’t wait for PodCamp DC 2.

Aaron Brazell

Aaron Brazell is a Baltimore, MD-based WordPress developer, a co-founder at WP Engine, WordPress core contributor and author. He wrote the book WordPress Bible and has been publishing on the web since 2000. You can follow him on Twitter, on his personal blog and view his photography at The Aperture Filter.

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