By: Megan Hendricks
Editor, the BUZZ
Executive Director, MBA Career Services Council
In its third year, Bar Camp Tampa Bay’s new media day was once again a success. In 2009 and 2010 I hosted the event at USF, which made me an automatic volunteer/planner. This year, I helped out for different reasons: I like the people who organize it, I think it’s the kind of event Tampa Bay needs in order to achieve its potential as a region, and I attended because of the learning opportunities.
The event is completely free for attendees; paid for by the generosity of its sponsors. The organizers put hours and hours into planning the event, starting months beforehand. They all do it just for the sake of doing it. Attendees receive free coffee, drinks, lunch and not to mention the drinks and food at the half party on Saturday night. This means you can attend, eat and learn for absolutely nothing.
What exactly is Bar Camp? It’s an ad-hoc conference with networking, learning, sharing and knowledge. People show up in the morning and sign up on large post-it notes if they want to speak. If you want to hear them talk, you show up in their room at the designated time. If you don’t like what they’re saying, you are free to leave.
I was only able to attend for part of new media day, but what I did attend was tremendously beneficial. I learned things I’m going to directly and immediately apply to my job. Here are a few nuggets:
- On the topic of customer loyalty and word of mouth marketing, Freshbooks shared that one of their customers tweeted that they were stood up for a date. The company sent the customer flowers with a note stating “we would never stand you up.” Their advice: do something extraordinary to make it almost impossible for customers not to love you. In the same session, Grasshopper shared that they sent 25,000 chocolate covered grasshoppers to 5,000 of the most influential people in America. Read about it here: http://grasshopper.com/5000
- In his talk about working for yourself, Peter Radizeski of Rad Info, inc. suggested using an egg timer set at 15 minute intervals to keep yourself from wasting too much time playing on the Internet. One guy in the audience said that was the best advice he had heard all day.
- Kevin Hale from Wufoo presented on how to run a startup like Genghis Khan. His advice: work like a nomad – be mobile, efficient, and always look for a new market. Focus on resourcefulness, not resources.
35 presentations and 175 people made for a lot of networking and learning at new media day. Did I mention this event is FREE? A big thank you to the organizers and sponsors for making it happen. I hope it continues to grow.