GDG Fresno DevFest 2015 Review

We spent an hour and a half Thursday evening at Pelco with many of the active participants and attendees talking about their experience and perspective on our event at Fresno City College. We shared a little pasta and chocolate cookies and talked. The consensus was that this year we had the best event in our three year history.

First we wish to thank the many sponsors who helped finance our non profit to put this on. We are very grateful to the tremendous volunteers who made this event memorable.

At our November 5th meeting we looked deeper into that DevFest day to find out where we excelled and where we came up short. First the venue was right on a lovely Saturday. We had around 350 register yet the number coming was about 100 short of that total. We planned for a group up to 400 so the food was more than enough with some minor delay at lunch. Many made the most of extra time in the line chatting about the day and other topics. We don't have any survey to convey the individual experience so we had to share what each of us saw and heard. Even though the food was great we will look at better methods to make sure people will be feed efficiently. We hope to find a better tool also to monitor attendees experience and we will work on that during the year.

One conclusion is that we need to do this again in 2016. We have tentative date of Saturday 22nd October 2016. We expect that it will be at the same location at Fresno City College. We believe the speakers were first rate and hope to get feed back from them about their experience with the attendees and DevFest itself. 

The tee shirts were a big hit and attendees regularly asked to get their hands on them although we held tight until the prizes were distributed at the end in the mid afternoon. The audience seemed excited with many getting useful technology and hardware they could use. Thank you sponsors.

Traffic was better managed with attendees directed to their meeting with well placed signage. As with many events some left each talk early but it wasn't the mass shifts we saw the year before. Some will recognize that the talk wasn't right for them and leave yet most talks were well attended. There is still analysis about which topics were most useful yet the majority were well received. 

Check in went smoothly and some attendees continued to arrive even at noon although the meeting started around 9 am with breakfast snacks and drinks available. 

There was some struggle with the Wi-Fi link with many having difficulty getting access. This is a target for improvement and there are some ideas how to solve that problem. The location is well lined with bricks and metal so even some telephone signals are blocked. The challenges of a historic location and structure. 

The Googlers were a big hit and they seemed to enjoy their experience and interaction with the audience. Many young students attended too and even though they were beginners some topics were familiar to them so better communication about expectation and their options will be high on next year's list of things to do. Also the rooms seemed to fit the needs of the speakers with better prep for speakers so less downtime for the actual talk and labs. 

One point many professionals mentioned was regarding those topics especially designed for their benefit. Topic designers always should consider the end results in their labs and topics. What is the proposed finished goal and how can we point out those important steps to get there. This should be an issue with every speaker and lab.

All in all last night we were pretty happy with the DevFest 2015 and we hope those that attended will consider coming back for 2016. We need to think about our new event logo and start planning for a more successful event with focused professional topics and encourage local youth to participate. See you next year and stay tuned for our next event Hour of Code.