In 2010, I was asked to organize a WordCamp—a globally recognized technology conference focused on WordPress, the world’s #1 CMS platform—in Minneapolis to help launch Digital Tiki as a web design firm. I was told that it would be the 3rd “attempt” to bring WordCamp to Minneapolis, given a $0 budget and wished the best of luck. Looking back, planning this event was probably one of the biggest challenges I’ve faced in my career, but also one of my greatest successes.
What I Did
I started by building my first WordPress theme, designing the event’s branding, creating social profiles and hiring a small team to help achieve the goals I’d set. I then reached out to hundreds of companies that used WordPress in hopes of securing sponsorships. After months of networking and negotiations, I was able to get Best Buy to open up their HQ to us for a venue. I then negotiated with vendors to get food, drinks, t-shirts, pens, bags, etc at reduced cost in exchange for sponsorship mentions. I implemented non-traditional/guerrilla marketing tactics to get the word out (e.g. post-it notes with the logo/info were put all over the Twin Cities in coffee shops, elevators, parking garages, etc, and the logo was put on sidewalks downtown in chalk). I worked with local influencers to spread the word on social media and sent out press releases to local news outlets to cover the event.
And then… The first snowfall of 2010 hit.
Despite the weather, the FIRST WordCamp in Minneapolis occurred on November 13th, 2010. It included 35 nationwide speakers covering 5 tracks, over 400 attendees, $9k in tickets sales and $23k in sponsorships.
Yes, folks! Over 400 people drove through a blizzard to attend the event!
To put this into perspective, the first WordCamp ever was held in 2006 in San Francisco and was organized by Matt Mullenweg—one of the founders of WordPress. It had around 500 attendees.
- Event Planning
- Web Development
- Forecasting & Budgeting
I’m a strategist, designer, marketer, developer and process creator with a passion for helping companies overcome obstacles.