Tech Fest 2014 – A Love Byte

Tech Fest – A Love Byte takes place on the 20th June. And like any event planner the lead up to the event is a stressful time as I find myself finalising what seems to be a growing list of things to do. It’s at times like this I really do wonder why we put ourselves through it. It is a hero who organisers events. And as one of my good friends said to be recently “it is a mad man who organises them for event organisers!”

Tech Fest is just around the corner but it’s time to chill, no REALLY

So will a few days to go I decided to sit outside my flat in Barcelona have a coffee and take a moment to think about the week ahead. At the bottom of my little avenue two very busy roads cross each other. Cars stack up waiting for the lights to change almost every minute. Enter the juggler. As some light traffic jam entertainment this exceptionally talented chap unicycles across the traffic balancing various items on his head WHILE JUGGLING. It’s hard not to tip a man who’s career is careering across busy traffic lanes, 9 foot high a top one wheel.

With my expanding to do list I am sure my actions are similar to the brave chap and certainly my thoughts and feelings will be no different from every planner as they lead into an event. How do we make sure we don’t drop anything? How can we stay on top of everything that we need to do with just so much going on!

Your average event is by no means an easy one

Like most conferences with an exhibition Tech Fest has:

– attendees, almost 200 of them

– some freelance staff

– 17 exhibitors

– 12 speakers

As a planner I am co-ordinating:

– the venue

– final communications to the attendees

– final instructions to speakers, including final reviews of their presentations

– final support for suppliers as they gear up for a quick 90min dash to set up their stands

– all the logistical things like furniture and catering and making sure they arrive on time

– overseeing, making and collecting the tailored things for the event like signs, badges etc

– making sure all the event tech is running and up to date (especially important for a tech event of course)

– paying all the people who need to be paid and

– chasing all the people who haven’t paid!

This is by no means an exhaustive list and will be mirrored by so many event profs. This is one hell of a difficult job we have! Maybe we are all crazy?

The Tech Fest extras

As well as the standard stuff Tech Fest has:

– a startup bazaar (with 10 startups attending)

– a free to attend meet up #supereventprofsLND stuck at the end of the day with 30 more people coming along and

– two different gamifiation tasks during the event

– a truly hybrid live stream

Your to do list

The single most important thing as a planner gears up to an event is to have a to do list and to stick every single thing on it. It is your best friend during event week. It is your guide, it is your light and it is your life line. With so much going on it is easy to fire fight: to respond to emails, to lose structure and to get stuck in something you don’t really need to do. The 2DOLIST is a saviour. It is cathartic to take 10mins and write a “final” to do list (unlikely to be honest) or one for the day (more likely). To see the event unfold on paper. To see items disappear with the cross of a pen. To see your job steadily getting easier.

Unlike the unicycling juggler we can never truly sit a top of our tasks and it feels like we are continually dashing across the traffic when it is still moving! Personally two things allow me to stay at least precariously on top of the event, the 2DOLIST and the catharsis of an occasional blog. Well that plus Coffee and the Barcelona sunshine. See you all on Friday.