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Comments (39)

David Fisher said

at 8:34 pm on Oct 20, 2008

In Boston we've found that having a very minor registration fee of $20-$50 (less the better) has helped offset a few costs (along with large sponsorship from local tech companies) as well as helped make the registration/attendence a little more predictable.

JustinKownacki said

at 5:39 am on Oct 21, 2008

Congratulations on getting started! The most important part of PodCamp is making sure that you support your LOCAL social media community -- or find a way to cultivate one by inviting people to start creating (and teaching them how). Out-of-towners add a great perspective and can really help boost awareness of your event, but make sure you're tending your own backyard first, or else you won't generate enough local support to sustain the event long-term.

Rob Blatt said

at 2:27 pm on Oct 21, 2008

I'd suggest keeping it free and open, but putting together a VIP package. Those who believe in the cause of creating a supporting PodCamps will pay for the VIP package without thinking about it. For an area that has no history of podcamps, please keep it free for everyone to attend. Us out of towners are willing to pay because we are traveling anyway, but the locals are less willing to give over money to something that's in their backyard.

KathleenLD said

at 2:38 pm on Oct 21, 2008

Personally I'm hoping to keep it free if at all possible. We'll have to see how the finances work out, but a $0 price tag is absolutely my goal. Thanks for your support, everyone! Keep the suggestions (and encouragement!) coming! It's insanely helpful!

Rob Blatt said

at 3:36 pm on Oct 21, 2008

Please keep the weather a consideration when planning the date. For locals, the likelyhood is low to leave the house if the weather is terrible out and out of towners are less likely to travel in bad weather.

Andrew Lorenz said

at 9:00 pm on Oct 21, 2008

I'm going to echo the weather issue. Are we really sure we want to do something this big with the possibility of a snowstorm? As far as a date, what about March... Gives us slightly warmer temps and a bit longer to get this all planned out.

bpolensky said

at 9:32 pm on Oct 21, 2008

I think we need more time than January to get this rolling. I am very proud Kathleen took the initiative to start this as I have been thinking about it a lot since PCPhilly. I have also been putting together an idea about teaching social media to parents/family members that may want to know what is out there for children's safety and also to learn more about what is going on. Maybe that can be one speech that could focus on a community aspect of it.

Can I say I am SUPER-THRILLED about this? Maybe a little more than I should be. I do have a lot of contacts (at least I think I do) and I am sure to proote this every chance I get.

Bill Bostic said

at 10:40 pm on Oct 21, 2008

I'm looking forward to attending, and helping out if there's a need that I can fill. I'm OK with a January date.

bpolensky said

at 10:42 pm on Oct 21, 2008

Anybody interested in meeting up Friday night or one night next week (Panera has wifi) to discuss?

Ken Mueller said

at 9:06 am on Oct 22, 2008

I echo those who are concerned about the weather. Not so much for those of us who are here (we'll alll probably go thru any storm to get there), but i think we could really attract more people if it were later. One weekend to avoid is the weekend of 2/12-15 which is the Millennium Music Conference in Harrisburg. They will have a lot of venues booked up. UNLESS we feel we have something to offer to bands, etc in terms of a seminar. We could always piggyback on their crowd. Thoughts? I have contacts there if anyone wants to do it.

Aaron said

at 9:26 am on Oct 22, 2008

I also think that a January date is a too soon. Plus the weather would be a huge concern, as others have mentioned. March/April would be better.

@ken what are the schedules normally like for the MMC? Does that conference send out promo mail/email to registered attendants prior to the weekend that we could get in on??

Josh Karns said

at 9:52 am on Oct 22, 2008

I would say lets shoot for March or April. That will give us more time to plan, and much less possibility of nasty weather. It also keeps us out of the summer vacation season. Also, January is probably not the best time if we want to engage local college students.

Josh Karns said

at 9:53 am on Oct 22, 2008

Also, I like the logo, but why are Pennsylvania's straight borders wavy?

anne kirby said

at 10:30 am on Oct 22, 2008

Hey Everyone - My name is Anne and I'd like to thank Daniel K for sending me this wiki link. I think this is a wonderful idea and would love to help any way I can. I started a social network group called The Creative House of Lancaster www.thechl.org and I know our group would be very interested in this idea.
My comments so far would be:
Keep it free if you can
January is too soon (weather also being an issue) Spring is the way to go and will give you more time to pull of an amazing event.
@bpolensky Your idea to teach family and kids about online social networking is great and I know a few of us at the CHL have been discussing putting a group together to do just that. We should chat sometime.

Sara said

at 10:58 am on Oct 22, 2008

Time-wise, are you all forgetting we get most of our snow in Feb/March? March is not a good month if we are considering the weather. I like May. College students are home; we have ample time to plan.

Josh Karns said

at 11:09 am on Oct 22, 2008

According to NOAA, Harrisburg average snowfall is 9.7 inches in January, 9.2 in February, 6.1 in March, and 0.5 in April.

I'm going to stick to the belief that it is better to have it during the school year if it is our goal to get a local college involved in pulling it off.

JustinKownacki said

at 11:34 am on Oct 22, 2008

Do you have any tourism organizations (like VisitPittsburgh, in our region) who could help with planning / logistics? They'd probably know if there are any other conferences, events, etc., scheduled during a specific weekend and could help you avoid "hotel glut."

Also, keep in mind one thorny financial issue: taxes. We partnered with Pittsburgh Gateways this year as our financial partner, so they processed the sponsorship money and absorbed any tax downside. Without assistance, your other option is that one person or company acts as the financier of PCHBG (and may get whacked in taxes at the end of the year, because all sponsorships would be taxed as "income"), and then you purposely solicit enough sponsorship money to cover the taxes in the first place (i.e., if you expect that someone's going to pay $1000 in taxes due to absorbing all sponsorship donations, then you ensure that at least one $1000 sponsorship is set aside to cover those taxes in the end, rather than being spent on immediate event expenses).

Taxes: the unsexy side of PodCamp. (Ask Chris Penn how Boston handles it -- http://twitter.com/cspenn )

bpolensky said

at 11:49 am on Oct 22, 2008

Few things...
-I already reached out to @CSPENN and @CHELPIXIE to see what help/suggestions they can offer.
-I think sticking to early-mid April would be the best time-wise. It will take some to put together plus we will have to market it and spread the word so that people hear about it and actually come.
-LOGO- It's the first of a few ideas that I am making in rough draft. I suggest anyone else do the same and we'll decide on the best one (i'll polish the state border later if we do with it.

WE NEED TO MEET at some point. I am thinking sooner, rather than later to make sure we get al ideas organized and peopl can get on the same table.

@anne kirby - Drop me a line at bpolensky [at] gmail dot com and we can talk. Maybe to a presentation before the actual podcamp.

bpolensky said

at 11:53 am on Oct 22, 2008

@ Rob Blatt - I hope you are bringing TheAmberShow!

Ken Mueller said

at 12:48 pm on Oct 22, 2008

We need to get Justin from Spotobe on here and involved. They are growing nicely and would be a great resource. There is also the Hello Harrisburg from the HBG DID. There are similar things in York and Harrisburg as well.

Walt Ribeiro said

at 4:52 pm on Oct 22, 2008

This is going to be a great turn out if we can get it going. If you need help let me know!

Ken Mueller said

at 5:01 pm on Oct 22, 2008

and where the heck is jersey?????

Walt Ribeiro said

at 5:06 pm on Oct 22, 2008

Well there's Podcamp Philly.. does that count? Because Pocdcamp NYC is sort of like North Jersey, and Podcamp Philly is sort of like South Jersey :) Just my observation - although it'd be a good excuse to get another podcamp and hang out again ;) HAHA

KathleenLD said

at 5:20 pm on Oct 22, 2008

lol!!! Walt, one of our Harrisburg guys goes by JerseyMike and we usually just call him Jersey... I think that's what Ken was wondering about.

Ken, Jerz has a really busy week this week. He blogged about it a few days ago.

bpolensky said

at 5:22 pm on Oct 22, 2008

No he meant a guy in Harrisburg that goes by Jersey Mike. LOL!

Ken Mueller said

at 6:51 pm on Oct 22, 2008

sorry about the confusion with jersey. but then again, he is rather confusing!

KathleenLD said

at 1:24 pm on Oct 24, 2008

As far as the date goes: I'd still like to try to have it sooner rather than later. This is partially for selfish reasons because once the spring semester begins I'll have to cut back my involvement pretty significantly. Aside from that, however, I don't think that we need 6 months to plan this. I think we could get it done by mid-december/mid-january without going insane and I think we could let plenty of people know about it by then. It doesn't have to be huge. It's Harrisburg's first podcamp and we only know so much about the areas' strengths and interests. I think it would be foolish to create an elaborate event that caters to some other city's crowd. I think we'll need to get a feel for what the area is interested in and this first podcamp is going to be the best way to do that. I'm totally okay with learning through making mistakes because i'm sure they're inevitable, but I think maybe it would be smarter to make the mistakes on a smaller scale. To me, this seems like it could be a simple event (relative to some of the things we've been discussing) and still be considered a total success. I feel like we're making it harder than it needs to be.

Josh Karns said

at 1:45 pm on Oct 24, 2008

Having planned numerous events of various scales, three months is not enough lead time, especially if sponsors play an important role in putting it together. Having gathered sponsorships before, I know that many businesses will effectively be unresponsive between now and the new year; they are just caught up in the holiday stuff. Plus depending on how their fiscal year falls, we may be nearing the end of their cycle, meaning that less if any sponsorship funding will be left in the budget.

Also, I think the "mistakes are okay" mantra is dangerous. If we put on a sloppy event, attendees will be less likely to come back. Word will spread. It will make the next one more difficult to do. If the intent is to continue this event, I think it is imperative to nail the first one.

Aaron said

at 2:47 pm on Oct 24, 2008

Another option is to keep it in the area for now and not really brand it with Podcamp. Just use a local office (@kmueller62 has offered) for a saturday or two a month. a tech meetup. kind of like a tweetup but without the food, beer, and just people who currently blog and twitter. one session per saturday type thing. we have the speakers right here so we wouldn't need to bring anyone in or open it up to the Pittsburgh or Philly people. a motto of mine: Keep It Simple Stupid. Maybe the term "Podcamp" is making us think too big too fast...

JustinKownacki said

at 2:55 pm on Oct 24, 2008

Keep in mind that "PodCamp" was SUPPOSED to mean "small gathering" waaaaaaaay back when it started. Like anything that succeeds, it's now adopted a certain amount of gravity, especially among the social media veterans.

Meanwhile, we pulled off the first PCPGH in 6 weeks, and the 3rd one took 10 months (of, admittedly, intermittent amounts of work). Was the difference in quality THAT noticeable between #1 and #3? I don't think so; in fact, I bet a lot of people still think our first event was our best, because it felt the least encumbered by a pressure to succeed.

PodCamp is a concept, not a brand. Don't get yoked to an idea that you have to "live up to" previous PodCamps, or that if this one goes "poorly," you won't be able to attract future attendees. I suspect the idea will be novel enough that your locals will come out no matter the weather or the levels of sponsorship. I think the first PodCamp San Antonio had about 30-50 people, and SA is much larger than H'burg -- and yet SA is still going strong, and has grown, based upon positive word-of-mouth from the initial event.

Fear not, Harrisburg: no matter what you do, it's better than not doing anything. And, as most people in this field have learned, the greater value is in being adaptable, not in waiting for the perfect moment. (Hell, we've had a PCPGH in August, October and November, and we get people to come out rain, shine or chill -- it's the content, not the brand.)

Walt Ribeiro said

at 3:32 pm on Oct 24, 2008

Yea I say just do it. Let's just get this event going. You've got my support 100%

Stop worrying. Its gonna be awesome no matter what happens. Its not about the spectacle, its about the people.

bpolensky said

at 4:00 pm on Oct 24, 2008

I would like to say how I love the fact that we are all banding together. This is great. That said, I would have to agree not to rush it. I would like to keep it a podcamp thing because that is what we started out to do and has actually generated some excitement from what I have seen.

We can talk about having it sooner or later until we're blue in the face. I think our first step should be meeting and laying everything out on the table (soon I hope!). Then once we contact venues, vendors, and sponsors, we can figure out WHERE and WHEN we can have this. Let's not chose a date until we have a good place and some backers.

Who's up for meeting to discuss this next week. I know I am free any day but Wednesday.


Aaron said

at 4:32 pm on Oct 24, 2008

From what I can see I'm free Thursday the 30th.

Robert Rowe said

at 5:00 pm on Oct 24, 2008

Obviously, I can't trek up there alot, but *I want to help!*. One thing to think of (@bpolensky, you mentioned you had school contacts), by doing it in a school building, maybe we can also get some teachers interested. I think it we can pull it off regardless of when we have it. The location will have a pretty big impact on when we can have it, I think.

bpolensky said

at 8:53 am on Oct 27, 2008

Thursday is no good for me as it is trick or treat night for the kids. I'm thinking Tuesday, Friday, weekend, or Next Monday?

KathleenLD said

at 9:54 am on Oct 27, 2008

Let's continue this discussion on the meeting page I'm about to create

Rich Hauck said

at 11:57 am on Nov 17, 2008

Just wanted to send out an open invite to BarCampHarrisburg (http://www.barcamp.org/BarCampHarrisburg) to all of the PodCampers here. BarCampHarrisburg already has some sponsors lined up and we hope to be deciding on a venue this week.

PodCampers are welcome to come invade and present any sessions related to Harrisburg Area + Web, although I should warn you that BarCamps are a little less structured than PodCamps--whereas topics are predetermined in PodCamp, BarCamp generally has topics decided almost spontaneously at the start of the conference.

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at 10:17 pm on Nov 2, 2011


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