Conference Start Times - Never before 10!
Technical conferences shouldn’t start before 10am. Although I’m no expert I’ve attended a lot and helped organise a few events and this has become one of my rules. Now let’s see if I can convince you with some of my ‘whys’.
Firstly (and this is close to my heart) the stereotype of geeks working late at night isn’t without a touch of truth, a lot of us are night owls and cherish the opportunity to grab an extra hour or so in the morning. Most of us have jobs that start at nine or slightly before. An extra hour will put your audience in a good mood (and make them more receptive to your speakers) and subtly point out that this isn’t work, conferences are supposed to be FUN.
Some of your attendees will be coming in from Not London, by having a friendly start time some of them will be able to come up that morning, saving them hotel fees and occasionally catching you some last minute audience (at least one GLLUG had a dozen members of a Northern LUG arrive when they saw a last minute announcement and decided the talks were worth the trip). There is also a flip side to this, if your event is based around an existing community some people will come up the night before and socialise with the local members. Which seems to involve a lot of beer. You want them to be able to sleep in a bit. Especially if they’re speaking.
And from an organisers perspective it gives you a couple of hours to warm up, chill out and deal with any last minute emergencies. An hours difference might not seem like much but after the magic line of nine am is touched help’s much easier to find.