Today I cancelled (well technical postponed) the next Digital Barn conference in Barnsley which was due to happen next weekend.
You can read the official announcement on the website but I’ve added a more personal touch here:
Back in May I had to move the date for our BIG web development conference ‘Front End North‘ from June to November.
This led to a couple of new issues I had not foreseen when making this change:
- We’d have to run 2 conferences in 2 months because the Digital Barn happens mid-October
- I would be out of the country for over a week co-organising WordCamp Europe in the run-up to The Digital Barn
- I would need to spend more time than anticipated helping out on WordCamp Europe as I volunteered as a co-organiser as well as being a speaker
- I had a date for a minor surgery on October 7th the result of which meant I should be out of action for around a week when I should have been event planning
These points came together last week when:
- We realised we had a load of Front End North speaker applications that had not yet been sorted through and added to the site
- We had 12 confirmed Digital Barn speakers but they were not organised or listed on the site yet
- This week thee Digital Barn speakers pulled out, leaving us with a less varied line-up
- Both The Digital Barn and Front End North were not selling because of lacklustre marketing on my part
- All of our plans to make The Digital Barn different and fresher (hardware hacking, business talks, new speakers) had fallen through because we didn’t spend enough time maturing them
- My surgery was eventually cancelled on the day because I had a mild chest infection and couldn’t be anaesthetised, this was great as it freed up my time but the infection knocked me out for almost a week and I’m only just recovering
These factors along with our WordPress agency being pushed to capacity by client work meant that cancelling EITHER The Digital Barn OR Front End North was the smart thing to do.
So, on Thursday this week Matt and I took a drive to the local Apple store to return my broken Thunderbolt display and by the time we’d arrived we had decided to drop The Digital Barn and concentrate on building up Front End North.
After the decision was made I spent the evening sending out refunds and emailing speakers to apologise for messing them around.
So what now?
The Digital Barn 4 will happen early in 2015. We are still aiming to change the event to be more varied and ‘digital’ and not the standard ‘web conference’ it has been in previous years.
Front End North has some really exiting speakers on the line-up. We just need to get them confirmed and get our arse in gear as it happens in 5 weeks. The applications came from all around the world and from big names in the industry, we’d be fools not to run with this as our top priority event.
We’ll keep working at running our events as cheaply as possible. Remember we don’t make any profit from these events, they are community focused events to bring people together from our industry.
With that in mind, I’ll see you at the next one!