It was ten years ago today that Jeffrey, Jason and I stood up in front of a little over a hundred people in an oversized classroom space in the upper back corner of The Franklin Institute in Philadelphia, PA, and kicked off the very first An Event Apart.
Just the three of us, talking throughout the single day of the event, trading off talks until lunch and then throughout the afternoon. The slides, most of them running on S5, were projected onto a pull-down Da-Lite screen, and we tapped the screen with our hands to draw attention to bits of design (or code). In the audience, there was an attendee who’d flown in from Tokyo, just to be there. Another from London. We were staggered to think anyone had come more than half an hour’s drive.
It was as lo-fi as it gets without paper megaphones, and we made a whole slew of rookie organizer mistakes — but we got the essentials right, the same essentials we’ve kept alive all these ten years: present in-depth, practical, higher-level content to an audience of savvy web folks, and treat them right. As we’ve grown over the years from one day to two to three, and from three speakers to twelve (and sometimes eighteen), we’ve kept one central goal in mind: to create a conference we’d gladly pay to attend, every time. And while I’m admittedly biased, I believe we’ve pretty much succeeded at that goal.
Ten years, which is a lifetime ago and then some, and still rolling strong. We’re calling it A Decade Apart, because why wouldn’t we? To celebrate, we’ll be doing some fun stuff at all our events in 2016, special giveaways on top of the usual giveaways, the return of some audience favorites…but I don’t want to give away too much just yet. Suffice to say, we’re planning on making this our best year ever, and everything’s shaping up to deliver on those plans.
If you’ve been to a past Event Apart, thank you — and if you have a memory to share, I’d really love to hear about it in the comments. And whether you’ve been or not, I hope to see you in 2016!