Community Next Wrap-Up

My favorite question asked on Tuesday was ‘so what did you do this weekend?’ because naturally my non-nonchalant response was ‘put on a 350-plus-person conference’. If you don’t know, Noah Kagan had planned a terrific conference and I had the pleasure of helping out along the way. If you want to know what everyone thought about it then go check out all the attention and pictures at the Community Next site. But, if you want the behind-the-scenes details, read on…

The Day Before

I arrived in San Jose bright and early on Friday morning. Noah picked me up and this is when the next four days started to blur together. We began by renting a big SUV and picking up all the conference materials (shirts, pens, banners) which we then promptly dropped off in our hotel room. Props to the bellhops at the Plaza Cabana. We then proceeded to Costco to pickup the drinks and snacks. We filled two shopping carts and one flat-bed. Yes, the lady had to check each item on our receipt. Yes, we clogged the Costco exit for 4 minutes. I really have no idea how we fit in the car.

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The Dinner and Pre-Party

We literally had 10 minutes down time at this point having gone around and done a few more errands. We got to the hotel, unloaded the car, changed, loaded the car, and headed to the VIP Dinner. Shivani was a big help here, that’s for sure. I think, overall, everyone enjoyed themselves and had a good time meeting some new people. By this point Noah realized we still needed a cable to connect my laptop to the projection system at Stanford. So, yes, he quickly visited the Apple Store.

At the same time, Yahoo and our volunteers were setting up at Blue Chalk for the pre-party. A lot of awesome people turned out. After I took care of the restaurant and parked the car I became self-aware of my own age. Being oh-so-slightly underage I wasn’t allowed into my own party. Sweet.

After Noah negotiated for what seemed like 15 minutes we struck a deal: I can go into the bar with the head of security as my ‘escort’ for the evening. He looked like a bodyguard and, well, that’s the story I prefer to tell. There was a fight at the bar after we had left. It’s probably a good thing I wasn’t hanging around with Palo Alto’s finest while they protected and served.

The Night Before

Noah and I didn’t sleep. Luke Murray was a big help and he didn’t sleep too much more than we did. Noah and I spent a lot of time pulling together a lot of the materials (presentations, attendee lists, etc.) and finalizing everything for the next day. We slid into bed around 4:45a and were back up at 5:30a. Well, I was. Some of us took more convincing. ;-)

The Morning Of

Luke, Noah and I headed out to Stanford with a trunk full of boxes. Fortunate for us, the night before the fire alarm went off and disabled all the elevators in the hotel. Great. We had to carry everything down three flights of stairs. Not what you want to be doing at 6am.

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We got to Stanford and realized it wasn’t clear how to get to where we needed to be. Since Noah paid for the ‘full’ insurance on the car we simply jumped a few curbs. That’s called problem-solving. After dropping off our first load, Luke and I returned to the hotel with another volunteer. We had to bring down all those snacks and drinks this time. Still no elevators. Great. Props to the guys for their help.

The Conference

It was awesome. Just great. Things went well. We had lots of great help. I think my audio/visual stuff went as smoothly as it possibly could have. The speakers were great. People were meeting, talking, enjoying themselves. It was good to see it all come together. Personally, I just wanted to sit down.

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Yes, Wifi didn’t work (thanks for trying, Hiten) but that was fine, really. In our opinion, it was good to have everyone offline and focused. I’m sure some would disagree. In any case, it’s Stanford’s fault.

The Vagina Monologues

The sound guy came down during the last panel (at 5:45p) to let me know that another group was going to start setting up at 6:45p. Haha, minor detail that was never disclosed to us before. At 6:00p some ladies started showing up and setting up in the hall. It was quite obvious there was going to be conflict. And there was. We had to push people out as quickly as possible (to the bar, big deal). We had that place cleaned up in 30 minutes I’d say. Amazingly impressive what people can do when they put their mind to it (and are intimidated by the Vagina Monologue ladies).

The After-Party

I don’t think any of us were in the mood for a big party. I’m sure that became obvious when people showed up at the bar and they had no drink tickets. Oops. Crisis averted. Noah and I showed up with drink tickets and the bouncer asked us what those were. As if we were some random guys who just printed up some tickets to rip off the bar. Noah showed his ID while we were talking about tickets and I simply walked in, signed the bill, and was offered a beer. Oops.

The End

I’m tired. I’m sore. I have stuff to catch up on. But, would I do it all again? Of course! I met some great people, had a great learning experience, and had an overall amazing time. Thanks to everyone who attended and especially those that helped out…

PS: This counts as Weekly Update #6.