OK, I’m a bit of a geek as most people know. Yes, I organize tech events for fun in my “spare” time. 🙂
We are organizing the first Ignite Portland event next Thursday. Initially, we thought we would have 150 people – maybe 200 if we got lucky. We picked a nice, roomy space for the event (Wieden+Kennedy) holding 297 people. We did mostly word of mouth marketing: blogs, a couple of mailing lists, the pdxMindshare newsletter, Twitter, Facebook, etc. Nothing fancy, we just spread the word organically.
Well, we reached 300 people on the RSVP list on upcoming this afternoon. We faced similar issues with Barcamp Portland, but we only had about 250 people register for that event. In the week leading up to BarCamp, we went from about 150 people to 250 on the wiki. Yesterday morning around 9am, we hit 200 … today we crossed the 300 mark. Seriously?? 100 new RSVPs in a little more than 1 day!?!
While we are thrilled and amazed by the response to our simple event, we are faced with the unpleasant task of capping the RSVPs at 325 on upcoming. We also know that we will need to count people as they register, and if we end up hitting the 297 limit, we will have the even more unpleasant task of turning people away at the door.
On the one hand, Wow! look what we accomplished. On the other hand, we might have to turn people away (not exactly in the spirit of a community event).
Portland is a great place for technology enthusiasts, and we have an amazing tech community. Realistically, I think we will be fine. Assuming we get 325 RSVPs on Upcoming, a few people will have last minute conflicts, and we should be OK.