Oct 30 2008

GBN 2008 Conference Evaluations

Categories: 2008 GBN - Dallas, GBN Dave Rathbun @ 3:19 pm

GBN Logo

I have been asked by a few different folks about evaluations for the conference, both from an attendee perspective and for speakers as well. For previous conferences conference attendees filled out evaluation forms before leaving the site (that’s how you got your conference t-shirt). For the GBN conference we didn’t do that. From what I hear, conference attendees will be soon receiving an email with a link to an online survey, at which point you will be able to provide any feedback about the overall conference.

I don’t know how much of the details for the conference feedback will be made public. Business Objects did not release the overall conference evaluation numbers to the public. I do know that every single comment will be read, categorized, and evaluated. This was the first year for a GBN-run conference and I think everyone recognized that there were some differences. The opportunity before us will be to sort out which differences were important, which should be repeated, and which should be fixed.

For example, one bit of feedback that I intend to provide is related to the room configuration. The room I was scheduled to speak in was quite large, and fairly deep. I don’t know how many rows of chairs there were, but it was more than a few. Yet there was no raised platform for the speaker in the front of the room. I am sure that impacted how visible I was in the back of the room. I imagine everyone could hear me, but hearing is not the same as hearing + seeing at the same time. I think for larger rooms we want to make sure we have elevated platforms next year.

Speakers, on the other hand, will be waiting a bit longer to get our feedback. I don’t have exact dates, but I am told that each speaker should be getting an email soon with more details on when we can expect to see our results. I know I look forward to seeing the numbers. I have had some great comments over the years, and I do strive for the best overall ratings that I can get.

Survey response percentages are typically very low. If you attended the conference and you’re reading this, I would encourage you to fill out the survey once you get the link. The function of the steering committee is to “steer” or guide in the desired direction. It is your voice that should determine that direction. Let’s hear it. :)

4 Responses to “GBN 2008 Conference Evaluations”

  1. Comment by Dave Rathbun

    Latest news is that the conference evaluation forms for attendees will be sent out next Monday, November 3rd. Things could still slip for technical reasons (we all know how that can go, right? :) ) but that is the goal.

  2. Comment by Keith Weber

    I’ve a couple comments and will fill out the survey when I get it:

    1) The biggest dissappointment was most sessions were not repeated. This put me in a sitution of having to make difficult choices about which session I felt was more important and skipping the rest with no chance to sit in on the session.

    2) I thought there were a LOT of beginner session and not nearly as many advanced sessions so I’d like to see more nerdy sessions.

    3) Some rooms were hot some cold and most were crowded to the point folks had to sit on the floor.

    Overall, I’d say the conference was ok but probably not worth the money paid to attend, including airfare, hotel and the actual fee for the conference. If we can address these problems, I’d probably go again but won’t if they are there for the next one.

    Kind regards,

    Keith

  3. Comment by Dave Rathbun

    Keith, I have already passed on #1 to the conference organizers. I heard that from more than one person, so I made sure to share it. Do please include it in your survey form as it will carry extra weight. The same goes for your other concerns. I would like to offer my personal observations for the other points you raised here, but do forward those on your evaluation as well.

    The technical level of sessions seems to vary from one conference to the next. Some of them do have more beginner sessions, depending on how long the various technologies have been available. One of the challenges as a presenter is to find a way to deliver something for everyone. There were (at least to me) an astonishing number of first-time attendees at the conference this year, so they might have appreciated the more basic sessions. Regulars or folks that have been using the products longer certainly benefit more from more advanced topics.

    The room sizing issue can be addressed by having repeated sessions (your first point). In the past few years (not including this one) the conference agenda was published on the web much sooner than this year. Folks were allowed to build their own personal agenda from the overall conference list. This accomplished two things. First, each person got a personalized agenda, which was good. Second, the conference organizers were able to see which topics were attracting the most attention and pre-schedule a repeat session. With repeat sessions for popular topics the number of folks is spread out, which helps the over-crowded room.

    Everything was time-compressed this year due to the cutover from Business Objects to GBN. Next year should be much better.

  4. Comment by Dave Rathbun

    I got the link to fill out my conference evaluation via email. A random sample of those that submit their surveys will get $100 gift certificates. 8)

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