Growth Hacking a Conference for 13,000 People in 90 Days – Derek Weeks

derek-weeksEvents and trade shows are big business. Many events have multi-million dollar budgets and require huge teams of people to organize, provide logistics and recruit sponsors and attendees. The high costs to attend these conferences limits the number of people who can attend from any given organization.  But the obstacles of high-budgets, large event management teams, and select corporate attendees are being lowered…significantly.

In this episode I talk with Derek Weeks. Derek is the VP and DevOps Advocate at Sonatype in charge of demand generation, community engagement, market research and events. During our conversation we discuss how to build and measure a community and how his team engaged in a growth hacking exercise to produce the largest DevOps conference ever in under 90 days.

Derek and his community advocate, Mark Miller, recently created a brand new virtual event called All Day DevOps. All Day DevOps was held on November 15, 2016 for 15 consecutive hours, hosting 57 different sessions across three different tracks. The event attracted over 13,451 attendees.  More impressive was that Derek and Mark collaborated with a core organizing team of eight people (six of whom were not employed by Sonatype) to pull off the conference for a net cost of $6000.

Listen in on how Derek engaged a massive community in 90 days to attend their inaugural event. It’s a great story on how the collective few can distribute high value knowledge and content to so many.

Questions During Episode

  • What is your role at Sonatype?
  • What does Sonatype do?
  • What does community mean to you and Sonatype?
  • Do you have an evangelist on staff?
  • How many people attended the All Day DevOps event?
  • What were some of the easy and difficult tasks to get registrants?
  • Did Sonatype underwrite the event and then look for sponsors?
  • How many people registered on the day of the event?
  • Who owns the registration data and email list?
  • What type of feedback did you receive?
  • What would you do in your spare time?

Contact Derek

Links and Mentions