Confessions of a MeasureCamp first-timer

So, I was lucky enough to get a coveted ticket to this sold-out event. I had my lanyard, my cool t-shirt, a whole host of freebies, and I was desperately trying to plan my day. Where to go, who to see – the big headliners, or some of the exciting newcomers to the scene?

No, I wasn’t at Glastonbury.
I was at the brilliant MeasureCamp London XII. MeasureCamp is a free-to-attend digital unconference which has taken off around the world. Anyone attending can be a speaker, and you don’t know until the day what talks will take place.
The next London MeasureCamp is due to be in September – 22nd September. Watch this space and we’ll remind you!

I know I said “Confessions” in the title but this is more my thoughts and tips as a first-timer to MeasureCamp. I just love Sophie Kinsella novels and a bit of clickbait in a title, sorry!

MeasureCamp London X11 2018

Newbie friendly

I wasn’t the only first-timer there. There were so many of us we overflowed out of the room allocated for the newbie talk and had to be relocated to the main hall. Our very own Anna Lewis gave the introductory talk to us all.
Newbies are very much encouraged to run their own sessions. I wasn’t brave enough to, maybe you will be!

Join the welcoming community

The tag line of this event is “Knowledge Sharing Through Community”. There is absolutely that feel to the entire event. Everyone openly shares what they know, everyone is passionate about what they do.
From the experienced, such as Simo Avaha speaking about Agile Analytics to the newcomers, and everyone in between. And especially the organisers all working their socks off to make sure the days went smoothly and to make sure everyone felt welcome.
Speak to people as much as you can, meet new people, share with them what you know, learn new things, and have fun!

MeasureCamp London X11 2018

Other sessions I saw included:

  • Ilona Van De Bilt from Google, talking about an exciting new Attribution feature currently in Beta test for Google 360
  • “10 Things you wish you’d known when starting with Google Tag Manager (GTM)” – George Slokoski(so packed people were standing and sitting on the floor – and Simo Avaha had to stand in the doorway!)
  • “15 minute workshop in Mobile Device segmentation” – by Craig Sullivan
  • “GTM recipes with cider” – by Phil Pearce
  • GDPR and GTM by Danny Mawani
  • Web analyst skills for 2019 discussion with Grant Kemp and Alice Moore

There were so many others I would have loved to have gone to. A lot of the speaker slides will get published though, so do watch the MeasureCamp website for those if you’re interested.

The session display is a big part of the experience

It’s an unconference, so there is no schedule at the start of the day. When the session board opens up, everyone rushes to put up their speaker cards – displaying their session – doing their best to encourage you along through catchy titles, colourful stickers, and a tiny bit of borderline bribery.
It’s overwhelming, but exciting and part of the fun. There are 9 sessions running in parallel, so you have to jostle in the crowd to see what’s on for all the sessions to make your decisions about which session you’ll go to.
After the first session, the schedule will be put up online though, if you don’t like the actual organised chaos of the board.

Next generation friendly

I really love there was a “Swear Jar” concept in aid of charity, and I happen to love the charity that was being supported this year too. {code club} is set up to run free coding courses in school to encourage the next generation of coders. The swear jar essentially is a list of catchphrases commonly used by the analytics community. If you get caught using one of them, you have to donate to the swear jar, such as unicorn!

Watch out for the great British weather

End of March, daffodils all around? MeasureCamp sunglasses at the ready?
The surprise snow from the “Mini beast of the East” took everyone by surprise, but it didn’t dampen the atmosphere – or the attendance! In addition, London is absolutely magical in the snow, and the venue is about 10 minutes walk from the Thames and not much more to the London Eye, Westminster etc.

Big Ben scaffolding

Pace yourself!

The sessions are all only half an hour. That means that you will go to a lot of sessions over the course of the day, and you probably will get brain overload from all the context switching by the end of the day. Make notes, I found even just jotting down the names of the sessions and speakers that you’ve been to was invaluable. After so many sessions, you *WILL* forget.
With unlimited caffeine, as well as some sessions towards the end including cider and vodka tasting, as well as wine and beer later – if you are a lightweight but love to get the most out of free things like me, watch out! Pace yourself.
Wait till after the last session – otherwise someone *WILL* get a photo of you zoning out and stick it on Facebook or Twitter.

The After Party

Do try and get to the after party. You’ll get to hang out with the organisers, and other attendees, all with a post conference happiness glow about them.
One big tip: loiter near the food table otherwise you’ll be left with the cucumber and carrot sticks.

If you can, train first

As well as the Saturday conference, there are half-day training sessions the day before too. Because they’re half a day instead of a half hour session, you cover in depth a particular topic of interest. The added plus is that you know what that topic will be in advance unlike the conference sessions!
I learnt more from these two half-day sessions than I could have done on my own in two weeks, as well as additional hints and tricks I may not have picked up for years.

 

Everyone loves a good CTA: Become a MeasureCamp first-timer!

What a phenomenal experience. If you can, do try and go! The next one is on September 22nd – don’t forget to set yourself a reminder so you’re waiting ready on ticket booking day!
CTA = Call To Action for those who hate TLAs 😉

don't forget!