I Ran This Whole Conference and I Didn’t Even Get a T-shirt

As many of you know, Mary Thengvall and I produced and co-chaired REdeploy last year, a conference on the intersection of resilient technology, organizations, and people. Mary recently posted a three-part retrospective series on the conference.

Despite ignoring my own advice about running retrospectives within 72 hours after incidents, here are some of my musings about the 2018 event (based largely on notes I, at least, did take in the days after):

  • On “Making the Sausage” — First and foremost, I think producing a conference was particularly eye-opening: both Mary and I do quite a bit of public speaking internationally (and Mary has plenty of experience wrangling conference logistics), so we both thought we had a pretty good idea of what “making the sausage” of a conference would look like.
    Boy were we wrong. Instead of seasoning some pork and putting it into a nice casing, a more apt analogy for the level of involvement we found ourselves facing was someone handing us a bolt gun and a meat cleaver, and pointing us to a room with a squealing pig. We would learn this lesson a few times throughout the experience. It was a valuable one, but… it was certainly unexpected.

Knowing now what I wish I’d known then, I’ve been asked would I ever produce a conference again? Maybe?


But I’d better get a damn t-shirt this time.

Stay tuned for information on what’s next for REdeploy!

Build & release engineering / DevOps / human factors; Managing Partner at Release Engineering Approaches: Simply ship. Every time. @ShipShowPodcast alumn.