Zach’s ugly mug (his face) Zach Leatherman

An Organizer’s Retrospective on the 11ty Conference

May 13, 2024 #5 Popular

This conference was an incredible privilege to help organize and selfishly I will say that one of my favorite parts was getting a big say in the talk selection.

They were all so good: Sia on Web Performance, Henry on the IndieWeb (I even saw Tantek and Aaron Parecki in the chat!), both Miriam Suzanne and Mayank on CSS, Chris Ferdinandi on Web Components, Dan Sinker with a very unique talk on storytelling using 11ty, Sara Joy on the accessibility of light and dark mode, Adrianna Tan on more welcoming tools, and ivan zhao on Chinese Type (of course we had to sneak a web fonts talk in there).

Each one of these talks brought something unique to the line-up.

We saw a project launch (flatlake.app, a static API generator) and the speakers showed their domain registrar receipts with a few new vanity domains: realbig.company and showbiz.baby.

A huge thank you to our sponsors:

Stream

Watch on YouTube: An Organizer’s Retrospective on the 11ty Conference

Analytics and Stats

At time of writing (approximately 4 days after the conference), the stats are as follows:

Name Value
Conference Registrations 2005
YouTube Views 3401
YouTube Impressions 14301
YouTube Concurrent * 264–400 peak
188–290 average
YouTube Chat Messages 3273

* YouTube reported different numbers at different times so I just included both above.

Budget

Prices in USD.

Name Expense Revenue Total
Totals: -$7574.20 $4653.79 -$2920.41
Merch Bundles: Shopify (×91 purchased, ×20 giveaway) -$2851.67 $3553.79 $702.12
Hosting: Cloudflare Workers (3mo) -$15.00 -$15.00
Speaker Honorariums -$1760.00 -$1760.00
Miscellaneous Speaker Expenses -$44.07 -$44.07
Live Captioning: Whitecoat -$1870.00 -$1870.00
Event platform: Streamyard -$339.48 -$339.48
Email Newsletter: Buttondown -$90.00 -$90.00
Sponsorship Packages $1100.00 $1100.00
11ty, LLC: Stripe Atlas -$500.00 -$500.00
11ty, LLC: Quickbooks -$30.00 -$30.00
11ty, LLC: PO Box -$46.00 -$46.00
11ty, LLC: Business Address -$27.98 -$27.98

The above was not paid out of my pocket. We used the 11ty Open Collective funds to pay for the remainder.

The above does not include all of the paid time spent organizing the conference, graciously donated by CloudCannon. This includes developing the web site, ticketing, tech checks, meetings, tests (etc etc etc). I didn’t keep a running log of how much time was spent but it was a lot.

Next Time

Things I’d Change

Going into this experience, there were a lot of unknowns. Next time it will be nice to have some of those questions answered going in, lowering the stress level.

  1. I’d definitely like to hire someone to design the t-shirt! (I designed it this year)
  2. We could try to make the Merch bundles a little cheaper, as we came out about $700 ahead from 91 sales (which could have supported about $7 cheaper).
  3. Push harder on Sponsorship packages. I did very little outreach here. It would have been nice to break even (or even use this as a fundraising opportunity for the open source project).
  4. More interactivity/feedback for the speakers: I maintain that talking to a silent room is the worst part of virtual event speaking and I’d love to figure out some sort of mechanism to give speakers a little more live support from the audience during talks.
  5. I worked real hard with a goal of releasing Eleventy v3.0.0-beta.1 at the conference but we didn’t quite make it. Organizing, creating a new Merch store, forming an LLC, creating a new web site for the conference, wrangling speakers, all alongside Eleventy development proved a little bit too much to fit in — coming soon!

Things I’d Keep

  • Buttondown: I ended up using an email newsletter service for user registrations on the site. This choice saved me a lot of development and made things a lot easier. It included email verification and gave me a mechanism to keep in touch with attendees easily. We ended up sending about 5 or 6 emails total for the event, which I think was pretty low volume. I did hear a small amount of negative feedback from this choice as some folks thought it should have been clearer that registering for the conference meant you were being subscribed to a mailing list. We can make that more obvious next time.
  • Social ticketing. I went over the technical architecture of the social ticketing piece on the CloudCannon stream. You can check out my 11ty Conference Ticket. This ended up trending on Mastodon.
  • Streamyard. We used the most expensive tier of Streamyard to get access to a Green Room feature to keep everyone organized off-stream. Worked great. Though we didn’t technically need the green room on the day of the event, I’ll still probably opt for that next time just in case.
  • White Coat Captioning. Diane was amazing. Captions live streamed right into YouTube without any mess right from the tool they used (StreamText) via the POST to URL option in YouTube studio.
  • Our organizer team: Mike, David, and Liv. It went smooth because we put hours and hours into planning!

Thank you!

Thanks to everyone that attended and kept the chat lively! Appreciate you all and keep building for the web!! 🙌🏻


Posts on the 11ty Blog:


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The Future of 11ty (2024)
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11ty Conference is this week!

Zach Leatherman IndieWeb Avatar for https://zachleat.com/is a builder for the web at IndieWeb Avatar for https://cloudcannon.com/CloudCannon. He is the creator and maintainer of IndieWeb Avatar for https://www.11ty.devEleventy (11ty), an award-winning open source site generator. At one point he became entirely too fixated on web fonts. He has given 81 talks in nine different countries at events like Beyond Tellerrand, Smashing Conference, Jamstack Conf, CSSConf, and The White House. Formerly part of Netlify, Filament Group, NEJS CONF, and NebraskaJS. Learn more about Zach »

14 Reposts

IndieWeb Avatar for https://hamatti.orgSimon Cox :SEO:Sara Joy :happy_pepper:Jakub Iwanowski :bash:Apple Annie :prami:Eleventy ???? v3.0.0-alpha.10Bob MonsourBryce WrayLene SaileMura ???????????? GlitchMartyn HoyerMatt Wilcoxmason

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SaptakSEric WallaceNeblibSimon Cox :SEO:Jason :prami:katherineelle mundySara Joy :happy_pepper:Jakub Iwanowski :bash:Eric PortisChristopher Kirk-NielsenApple Annie :prami:JBJoncultured nyc ????????Bryce WrayEleventy ???? v3.0.0-alpha.10SwiftBenoît LaunayJuhisLynn FisherFernando MateusChrisColinautMura ????????
6 Comments
  1. @zachleat well done Zach

  2. Zach Leatherman :11ty:

    Zach Leatherman :11ty:

    @scrwd ???? thanks Jon!

  3. Christopher Kirk-Nielsen

    Christopher Kirk-Nielsen

    @zachleat I appreciate the breakdown and transparency for this! Also the event seemed to have gone without a hitch (besides a couple folks forgetting to unmute ????), so on the technical side, this ran super smoothly, very nice to see! PS: "I’d definitely like to hire someon… Truncated

  4. Zach Leatherman :11ty:

    Zach Leatherman :11ty:

    @chriskirknielsen thank you!! **makes a secret note for next year**

  5. Zach Leatherman :11ty:

    Zach Leatherman :11ty:

    ran across some old brainstorming notes for the name of the conference and laughed at one of the ideas: This conference could have been an email #11tyConf 11tyconf

  6. Christopher Kirk-Nielsen

    Christopher Kirk-Nielsen

    @zachleat

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