Saturday, November 13, 2010

Is Confidential Content the Best Approach for an EventCamp Conference?

Approximately 50 Event Professionals descended upon the “City of Brotherly Love” on Friday (11/12) for the two-dayEventCamp East Coast (ECEC) Conference.  For more information about the EventCamp community please visit the EventCamp Headquarters website.

This was the third EventCamp to take place in 2010.  ECEC event organizers Lindsay Rosenthal, Traci Browne, and Adrian Segar really stepped out of the box with this latest installment of the EventCamp series.  They created an “un-conference.”  All the education content was planned “on the fly”  as it was designed by the participants themselves, in real-time.

Photo courtesy of Karen Brown

A Conference With No Live Stream?

Kiki L'Italien & Eric Lukajewski

The really unusual (and edgy) thing about this event was that it was closed off to the online community, for confidentiality reasons.  No live streaming was offered for any sessions.  ECEC did not provide “non-attending” community enthusiasts any direct access to EventCamp East Coast live content.  Thankfully there was a twitter hashtag marked for the event (#ecec10) and some quality discussion occurred there.

As a member of the “founding five” and passionate supporter of EventCamp I, as well as many others in our community watched this event unfold with keen interest.  For context, I was unfortunately not able to attend ECEC.  So, my only connection to it was via online channels.

“Kinetic…familial…supportive…ECEC has been the most innovative in-person meeting I have ever been a part of. Chicago, here I come!” — Kiki L’Italien, ECEC Attendee

EventCamp was a conference concept born out of a vision, of taking relationships initiated through online social networks, to a face2face level.  Many of the folks in our community have still not been able to attend an EventCamp, so online interaction is still their only opportunity to connect with one another.  Through Twitter I interacted with ECEC attendees. The feedback was very positive and those fortunate enough to be at the event found significant value in the experience.

“The PEOPLE have been fantastic, amazing and incredibly intelligent. I have been extremely satisfied with learning sessions that were not set and designed before the conference. I have heard from attendees that I want to work with instead of talking heads that aren’t relevant to me. An event that is focused around attendee feedback is a better event.” — Cameron Toth, ECEC Attendee

I struggled,  as a non-attendee to remain open-minded regarding the confidentiality element of this event’s structure. I believe the decision not to live stream ECEC was a mistake.  It diminished the reach and impact the event could have had.  Others may disagree with me.  I respect that, and welcome their opinions.

Photo courtesy of Karen Brown

Is Confidential Content the Best Approach for an EventCamp?

It Feels Alienating — How did confidential event content serve the overall EventCamp community?  In my opinion it didn’t.  Only the face2face attendees benefited from the content and interactions.  EventCamp enthusiasts, who unfortunately could not attend, were excluded from the experience.

Privileged Access — Co-Organizer Adrian Segar stated in a recent blog post the “design that we are using adds a default requirement of confidentiality to what happens during the conference.” What could possibly have been said during this event that non-attending EventCamp community members should not hear?  If EventCamp is one community, which last time I checked, it was, then all members should have had access to the content and discussions taking place.  That’s what shared learning and collaboration is all about.

“It seems there was a fabulous energy and sharing occurring at EventCamp East Coast. I think we’ve become spoiled by past EventCamps in that we assumed that we would be able to participate remotely via Twitter, or even Yammer. I respect the organizers for sticking to their guns but maybe at future “Conferences That Work” there could be a way to experiment and try to incorporate more of what the EventCamp community is based on. Perhaps even a blend of the two would be fun and lead to even more innovation…you never know until you try, right?!”Midori Connolly, Event Professional Not Attending ECEC

Core to the spirit of EventCamp, is the  mission to experiment with alternative conference formats. Congratulations to Lindsey, Traci and Adrian, as the organizers,  for doing just that.  I have tremendous respect for their thought leadership, energy and determination do things differently.  While I am not a fan of the confidentiality component of this event, that point of disagreement does not diminish my regard for the huge, overall success of EventCamp East Coast.  Well done, my friends!

So… What do you think?  Whether you attended ECEC, or not, what’s your opinion of the confidentiality component of the event design?  Please share your thoughts!

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{ 51 comments… read them below or add one }

Karen Brown November 13, 2010 at 6:14 pm

Great pics! Wherever did you find them?!


Michael M McCurry CMP November 13, 2010 at 6:19 pm

haha, Karen thanks for calling that out… everyone these pics are courtesy of the wonderful Karen Brown!


Nancy Spooner November 13, 2010 at 6:27 pm

LOVE the Event Camp concept, but missed not being able to take part virtually. Also…when you all headed out west?!


Michael M McCurry CMP November 13, 2010 at 6:28 pm

Hi Nancy,

I believe there is a conversation going on right now about doing an event in California in 2011. Stay tuned for more details.

I hear you about not being able to participate virtually… it was frustrating.

Thanks for commenting.



Bob Vaez November 14, 2010 at 9:21 pm

The California edition sounded quite serious… most likely during the summer time.


Andrea Sullivan November 13, 2010 at 7:20 pm

Hi all,

It seems to me that perhaps there can be a compromise. There were elements of this conference that I feel were best done offline – there is a “safety” context created when we are amongst those we know. It could, however, be arranged to have segments that are streamed to include those who’d like to attend virtually. A balance can be found so there are virtual components at chosen times. A two-way conversation would be wonderful, where those in attendance can share with those who are not – and those who are virtual can hear what’s happening, submit questions, and be a part of the action. It doesn’t have to be all or nothing.


Michael M McCurry CMP November 14, 2010 at 8:33 am

Hi Andrea, thanks for commenting on this post.

I would be curious to know what occurred at ECEC that was best done offline. Since I did not experience any of the content I really can’t gauge that.

EventCamp is one community worldwide and as such all members should have access to content delivered at events. The issue of whether that should be free or not, is a separate concern, as it is driven by financial management logistics.

As you pointed out there could be a compromise so that some aspects of an event are made available virtually, and in fact, at the original EventCamp in New York we did just that. We live streamed one room all day long.

In my mind doing nothing is not the right decision, but others may disagree with me.

Thanks so much for contributing.



Heidi Thorne November 13, 2010 at 10:10 pm

Event Camp is an evolving entity based on experimentation. So I applaud Adrian, Traci and Lindsey for trying a new direction. Following on the heels of Event Camp Twin Cities which was a cutting edge technological event, I think there was an expectation that all future Event Camps would be the same. ECEC did not advertise as a virtual event.

I think this scenario highlights a challenge that the events industry now faces: How do we decide the level of content to offer those who have invested in conference costs and travel versus those who are following along online, maybe for free?

Granted, offering free online participation can build interest in attending in person. However, the investment in tech to provide online participation is not free.

Tough challenge. Just part of the evolution!


Michael M McCurry CMP November 14, 2010 at 8:41 am

Hi Heidi,

I too applaud (already have publicly in this post) Adrian, Traci and Lindsey for their accomplishments with the ECEC event.

I don’t believe this is an issue about what level of content access to provide to EventCampers. As EventCamp is a community of like-minded professionals with an interest in technology and social media, it makes perfect sense to include these components in EventCamp conferences. The issue of pricing and what/if to charge must be addressed individually, with each conference, as the financial challenges may be different with each one.

As we are leaders in the events business, our events should reflect that by featuring progressive and cutting edge features. Live streaming is not cutting edge anymore, so to exclude it from a conference that is supposedly forward thinking is in my opinion a step backwards.

Thanks for contributing and sharing your comments.



Liz King November 13, 2010 at 10:44 pm

Mike – Thanks for bringing up this topic. I’m really interested to see what comes of it. I had really hoped to attend the event, but wasn’t able at the very last minute. I was really interested to see how it all worked and what prevented it from being shared. I certainly experienced the loss of not being able to attend and no virtual component. I would love to hear from the attendees how everything went and what they think about streaming content and live tweeting looking back at their experience! I hope we will get some more info!


Lara McCulloch-Carter November 13, 2010 at 11:50 pm


What I do love about EventCamp is the willingness to experiment with ideas and methodologies (creating great successes, and in some cases, opportunities for learning). I was unable to attend #ecec10 in person and heard very little about it. What I did hear, through the Twitter stream, didn’t connect as there was no context to the dialogue for me remotely. I did not feel engaged with the event, which is a very different feeling from my interactions with the other 2 EventCamps – one which I had the pleasure of attending in person and the other remotely.

I had not read Adrian’s comments about why the event would not be live streamed, but after reading his original post, it has shed some light. I do understand the first two points and applaud the organizers for being prudent (based on time & resources). The third, which was the focus of your comments, I have a harder time understanding. One of EventCamp’s core values is Open and Honest Communications — “Truth and Transparency in communications, with an eye for the health of the community, is a top priority. Discussion regarding challenges affecting the community as a whole should be public, and freely expressed. Withholding opinions and/or information that could be beneficial to the community conflicts with this value.”

The big question I have is for EventCamp HQ. Is the ‘community’ defined as those who attend an event or the contingency of #eventprofs worldwide? If the latter, your core values really lead me to believe that events (or portions of) need to be live streamed.

EventCamp is such a wonderful model, and one that has already seen great growth. I think this is a very fundamental question that needs to be addressed, especially as the event scales. I do hope to see future events live streamed.



Traci Browne November 14, 2010 at 7:30 am

The community is #eventprofs and EventCamps are just one of the many ways we connect.


Michael M McCurry CMP November 14, 2010 at 8:50 am


Thanks for commenting, Liz, and like you I am very interested in how EventCamp enthusiasts weigh in on this issue.

Like you, I really wanted to attend ECEC but unfortunately was not able to do so. I have heard wonderful things from attendees about the quality of the content and interactions.

The lack of access for Non-attendees was indeed frustrating.


You hit the nail on the head. Thanks for all your comments, and I too hope that all future events will be live streamed. I know Chicago (National Conference) will be.

I am sure that there will be a lot of discussion about this within the community and it will be interesting to see how things evolve.

Thanks for contributing.


Congrats on a very successful ECEC… I have heard wonderful things from attendees about the experience.

I hear there will be manuscripts available for at least some of the sessions… look forward to getting a taste of what was provided during the live sessions.



Cameron Toth November 14, 2010 at 11:48 pm

First, I love this dialogue!

Second, I love this dialogue! :-)

Third, #ecec10 provided an opportunity to really experiment with event format. One of the major things people will be talking about is the way “ATTENDEES” designed the content of this meeting.

The attendees chose the topics and in a lot of ways what topics were going to be presented and to some extent by whom. Attendees were involved in the process and subsequently were active learners and participants in the meetings. This led to exponentially increased engagement over a traditional “Topics and Presenters Known and Advertised” event.

Should some portions of the event have been live streamed?

Yes. In hind sight based on the community and what we know could have been done MOST people (I believe) agreed that creating a streamed room or session(s) would have been a good idea.

But let me explain what confidentiality and non-streaming allowed.

Jenise Fryatt (who said streaming would have been counter productive) led her first impromptu “IMPROV SESSION”. And it was excellent!!!!!!!! How do I know? Because everyone who attended said it was! And I was so angry that I was not there (but actually really happy about where I was – strange right?). I wish Jenise’s session was recorded so I could go back and see it. But, the person who presented and the attendees both agreed that it would not have been the same and might not have taken place if video recorded.

LACK OF FEAR. I saw several examples of attendees that were empowered by the freedom of confidentiality and Adrians “Four Freedoms” to keep sessions on track. They told people when to stop talking and start interacting. Would they have done that with an unknown and unseen audience?

This was an awesome experience. From Adrian’s “Face Reference Sheet” of Attendees to the “Group Share” towards the end this event. I was left with so many wonderful tastes in my mouth of what an interactive engaging event’s flavor should be.

Cameron Toth


Michael M McCurry CMP November 16, 2010 at 8:02 am


Thanks so much for weighing in with all of your thoughts, opinions and perspectives. You are obviously a person with a lot of passion for Eventprofs and the Eventcamp series.

I personally have had really good experiences with attendee-created content. Most recently I facilitated an “unconference style” session at the PCMA Education conference, and it was really terrific.

Your comment regarding Jenise’s Improv Session is noted. I am really interested to hear and learn more about what really occurred at the ECEC event. I do absolutely wish I could have been there, and the fact I wasn’t was frustrating, as I am certain it was a fantastic event from all the buzz that has been created.

Thanks for sharing, once again, and for contributing to the conversation.



Ray Hansen November 15, 2010 at 1:55 am

First – I hate this dialogue!
Second – I hate this dialogue!

I am so disappointed in not only this “discussion” but also in your timing of this blog post. Let’s see you posted this like 5 mins after the final session… It is almost as if it was calculated. As you are the Co-Chair of Event Camp, I find it so extremely odd and out of place for the very first blog post on the latest successful event camp to be a critique (hidden in a question) on what they should or should not have done. The organizers of ECEC10 had a vision of the type of experience and the level of interaction they wanted to create. They clearly stated that and shared it with others and seems to be compliant to The official Event Camp website under “Organize your own EventCamp” it says – Program & Education Content — Select content and speakers/facilitators that align themselves with optimal adult learning practices. If you need advice regarding this topic, contact Jeff Hurt, as he has a wealth of knowledge on the subject. Strong audience engagement will lead to great education opportunities. It doesn’t say anything about streaming the content.
Now maybe under there it should also say “be sure to do things the way I want you to do them otherwise I will get you on my blog”

Also take into consideration that time and budgets for these community driven events are very tight. The organizers up front said they didn’t have the resource to stream the event – it wasn’t a surprise to you or others. You should have spoke up…or blogged up then if this was SOOOOO important. And CMON Man! Really! The first event camp idea of streaming was pointing a camera and turning on Ustream… No offense,and certainly not critiquing but you brought it up. It didn’t seem to be that important to you then. We should have all blogged after that and asked these very important questions. Why didn’t you feel streaming was vital importance to our community blah blah blah. I just don’t get it Mike. I have a lot respect for the leadership of event camp, but this just really seems wack! Really Wack! WIGGITY WIGGITY WACK!

PS congratulations on beating me in the Eventprofs fantasy football league this week…

Hansen out!


Ray Hansen November 15, 2010 at 8:34 am

Oh hold on! I still have LeSean McCoy going tonight! you haven’t beat me yet! Go Eagles!


Traci Browne November 15, 2010 at 11:17 am

Ray, What saddens me most is that this post went straight to the heart for some folks. Yes, it bothered me; but quickly rolled off my back as I can in no way take anything said here seriously at all. It is just completely wrong and uninformed and full of some huge holes in so many ways. Ignorance is not so much bliss but obvious.

What really upsets me is how it affected others. People who should have been celebrating a success or enjoying the “high” that comes from a wonderful experience were completely crushed. It was like watching someone seeing the ocean for the first time and enjoying the warmth of the sun and the sand in their feet and then having someone walk up and kick sand in their face. What was the point? It is not too extreme to say that hearts were broken.

Also I worry that people new to the Eventprofs community will be frightened away by just another clicky organization that clearly has an in-crowd and a not-so-in-crowd. That the loud voices of a very tiny minority will ruin the work of the welcoming majority. To those people I say this is not the case…we are a community that makes it a point to build each other up and support one another…not tear them apart.


Jeff Hurt November 15, 2010 at 5:52 pm


Thanks for starting this conversation and offering some provocative thought. Obviously, many of us are passionate about this issue.

Here is my question, are conferences and events only for those in attendance or for the larger community? I think the answer depends on the goal of the event.

Most conferences typically attract only about 20% of their customer base. So does that conference become an exclusive event for paying attendees only? Or should the conference content and messages be shared with all their community members?

Again, it depends upon the goals of the conference. And it depends on the conference organizers. Sometimes exclusive is good. Sometimes it isn’t.

EventCamp was birthed from a community and is like family. The goal was for the experience to be open, inclusive, transparent and authentic. It was our intent to live stream as much content as possible to share with all meetings and event professionals everywhere.

EventCamp East Coast was by design and intention for those that attended face-to-face only. It was an authentic experience for those that were there and can never be replicated again exactly as it occurred. Those that attended personally benefited from the experience. Their engagement with each other and the content was high. They grew closer to each other.

Unfortunately, the broader EventCamp and #eventprofs community did not benefit from ECEC 10 like these attendees did. Some felt excluded because it was closed.

There is this dichotomy that those that experienced it have strong feelings about it and those that didn’t experience it feel isolated and prohibited from learning with them. It is hard to write about this without discounting someone’s experience or blaming one group or the other. We have to find a way to acknowledge everyone’s experience as real.

I don’t think there is a right or wrong in this situation. ECEC 10 was just different. Those that registered knew it would be different. Some of us that didn’t go knew it would be different and that we would not get to learn along with those in attendance.

The Event Camp and #eventprofs community will have to decide in the future if they want to continue with closed or open events. I’m one that believes there is room for both in this community.


Michael M McCurry CMP November 16, 2010 at 8:53 am


Thanks very much for weighing in with your balanced thoughts and perspective on the discussion occurring here.

There is a lot of wisdom in your words.

Your comment that “we have to find a way to acknowledge that everyone’s experience as real” is absolutely true. As a community we need to celebrate the positive experiences of those lucky enough to attend ECEC. We also need to acknowledge that within the rest of the community there was no connection to the event, and for some of us, myself included, that was tough.

I personally believe, for an ECEC type of event, there, in the future could be at least some partial live streaming of it, without degrading from the impact and honesty of the event. That would extend the reach of the event to more community members, giving them a taste of what the face2face attendees are experiencing. It would also help to sustain the unity of our tribe.

In the end the community as a whole will drive how this evolves. I am very interested to see how it plays out.

Once again, Jeff, thanks for the contribution to this conversation.



Cameron Toth November 15, 2010 at 11:21 pm

@Ray – My heart is so broken right now. Anyway, when are we hanging out next? I am looking forward to it.

@Traci – I hope no one loses sleep about written comments. Controversy stimulates dialogue and learning. In my opinion Michael fired everyone up and provided a particular impetus to post up and respond to these real feelings. Obviously, they were felt by more than just one person. If I couldn’t have gone to the event and had not connected verbally with Lindsey Rosenthal (@eventsforgood) I would have identified with Michael McCurry a lot more. Everyone talks about listening but who does it? If we don’t try to empathize with a community member’s feeling that means we are basically ignoring their opinion. Folks that paid for the conference did not know what to expect. Can we blame the #eventprofs community for not reading Adrian’s blog? I read the blog and still didn’t quite get it.

@Traci and @Everyone – That being said (and you can quote me) Event Camp East Coast was the best Networking and Education event that I have ever experienced. Period. @TraciBrowne @EventsForGood and @ASegar will go down in the history of #eventprofs as creating the best onsite Tweetchat like f2f sessions ever. The “Face Book” element with photos of all attendees was so much better than just photos of presenters and made so much sense I felt like someone smacked me. So simple, so effective and so respectful to attendees! It was so smart! The Event Camp East Coast Crew is simply wicked smart.

@JeffHurt – It was really great for you to weigh in. I have a feeling that many were wondering and anticipating what you might say. I appreciated your balanced opinion on the matters at hand. I appreciate your openness to both open and closed events. However, this line was scary, when you said “The Event Camp and #eventprofs community will have to decide in the future if they want to continue with closed or open events.”
Who decides? What part of the community? I appreciate Lara McCulloch-Carter (@Ready2Spark) the #eventprofs community founder. She deserves every bit of credit for creating a community that most of us have profited from in knowledge and relationships. But after hearing from 35 #eventprofs community members that had to go to her blog and a survey link within to respond, she has made decisions for the community. Decisions made: ONE CHAT a week and #eventprofs WILL have a community manager. The conversation was triggered by a conversationally narrowing question: “Do you think we need a community manager?” Great idea? Why not?

Well, what if the question was how do we empower #eventprofs to sign up to moderate? Would the automatic answer have been “Community Manager”? I don’t know.

And now Lara without asking the community if it was OK has assigned herself the task of picking a community manager. Her heart is in the right place but it is a little scary when you have someone making decisions for the communal good.
@Lara – Please understand and appreciate you moving forward. Caring and doing are two different things and when someone is doing I feel it is best to step out of the way and let them do! I am confident you will make a great decision and the #eventprofs community will be better for it.

In my opinion: #eventprofs works best when members are given autonomy to follow their passions. In general #eventprofs enjoy learning new skills and are dedicated to innovation. #eventprofs profit because their goal is not page hits, member numbers, attendee numbers or any other measurable quantifier of traditional success. Our purpose is to engage, connect and spread information about events and the profession of events. #eventprofs are professional because they say so. #eventprofs are excellent because they don’t judge and exclude.
Diversity and freedom of thought is #eventprofs greatest strength. If we must create rules let us make sure their purpose is to protect our freedom and diversity of thought.

Love and Understanding to all,


Cameron Toth November 16, 2010 at 12:50 am

@Ray and @Everyone “@Ray – My heart is so broken right now. Anyway, when are we hanging out next? I am looking forward to it.” Was a failed attempt at humor. I was not hurt by Ray’s comments in the least bit.

The going at people is a little counter productive. But, the feelings that Ray has are echoed by others that aren’t making their comments public knowledge. Answering Ray helps to answer everyone else. Think of Ray as the Devil’s advocate. Somehow I always have…


“Not to speak is to speak. Not to act is to act.”—Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Some of you will know that this quote is referencing evil. I am not calling anyone evil. I am saying that if we silence someone’s ability to speak, than we start on a dangerous path. One day you may want someone to speak on your behalf. Will Karma be on your side?

“Great affection is often the cause of violent animosity. The quarrels of men often arise from too great a familiarity.”
Saskya Pandita (1182-1251)


Michael M McCurry CMP November 16, 2010 at 8:57 am

Cameron thanks for sharing your additional comments and thoughts regarding this topic.

You obviously have tremendous passion for the community.

It comes out clearly through your words.



Michael M McCurry CMP November 16, 2010 at 8:24 am

I have thought long and hard about your comments here. It’s clear to me that I offended you and others by this blog post. While I do not regret anything I wrote, or how I said it, I want you to know and anyone reading this that it was not my intention to offend anyone.

It is my belief, right or wrong, that what makes a community stronger is when it’s members are willing to step up to the plate and be open and honest in sharing their views and opinions. I am certainly passionate about the Eventprofs and EventCamp community and anything I have written was done with the goal of starting a conversation about a topic that I, and others, consider important. It was also done with the community’s interest in mind.

I am but one member of this community, and the community as a whole, will drive the evolution of EventCamps, not me or any other one person. With this blog, and my online communications I have a track record of being open, honest and candid in my opinions. I also have consistently supported, and been positive in my feedback of people for the good things they say and do. That is not going to change. That is who I am.

You (Ray and Traci), Sam, Adrian, Lindsey, Cameron and many, many others are stellar individuals with tremendous talent, passion and energy. Collectively, you all have contributed in a huge way to the growth of this community, and I am proud to know you.

I look forward to learning more, through the numerous blogs, chats and future events, about what you all experienced at ECEC. It certainly seems as though it was very special! I just wish I could have been part of the experience.

Thanks for being candid with your comments and for contributing to the discussion.



Adrian Segar November 16, 2010 at 8:44 am


There’s so much I could say about your post and the comments it has engendered, but I’ll restrict myself to the following.

You say “What could possibly have been said during this event that non-attending EventCamp community members should not hear?” I think this statement is at the heart of the ignorance of what is possible at an event where confidentiality ground rules are in place. As Mitchell Beer, whose company created professional summaries of our sessions, points out in his commentary at “…Segar’s concerns were well founded: At three or four different points in the meeting, participants either asked us to stop taking notes or came back and had us delete their comments.”

But this discussion is not just about a few cases of self-censorship during the event. If you ask any of the participants at EventCamp East Coast, I think they’ll tell you that the conference would have been very different if a camera, streaming to and recording for unknown people all over the world, was pointing at them during the event. Would all those of us willing to potentially look ridiculous have signed up for Jenise Fryatt’s amazing improv session? I doubt it. Would all those of us taking our first baby steps learning how to write dared to participate in Jonathan Vatner’s introduction to writing workshop if it meant reading our first compositions out loud for the online world to hear? I don’t think so.

When you supply personal safety at an event, via group agreement on ground rules that support the freedom to say what you think and feel combined with appropriate confidentiality safeguards, people talk about issues and experiences that simply would never be brought up at a conventional event, and they take risks in their learning and sharing that they may never have taken before with a group of their peers. THIS HAS GREAT VALUE. It’s hard to understand the value without experiencing such an event directly. If you had been able to attend, Mike, I think you would have written a very different post.

In the end, I agree with Jeff Hurt’s comment above: that there’s room for both “open” and “closed” events in this community, though I think that the word “closed” is a misnomer, as comprehensive written summaries of the #ecec10 sessions will be available soon, and plenty of attendees are openly writing about their experiences of the event. I am proud of what we did to show the benefits of a “structured unconference” design, and I’m grateful, both to Traci Browne & Lindsey Rosenthal, who believed in me enough to make this conference possible, as well as all the people who attended and took a risk to try something new.


Michael M McCurry CMP November 16, 2010 at 9:11 am


I appreciate your taking time to weigh in on this topic, as you represent the heart and soul of the ECEC Event.

I truly wish I could have been there, at the event, Adrian, I’ve said that more than once. I understand, from what other attendees have said, the value that confidentiality brought to sessions that took place at ECEC.

I also understand, from some comments made by some of the ECEC attendees, that there was a feeling that there could have been some live streaming and/or interaction with a remote audience. So, perhaps, moving forward, there may be a way to integrate both components into one event, showcasing both styles of learning …. Just a thought!?!

I look forward to previewing the written summaries that will be made available of the ECEC event and thank you and others for making those available.

You, Traci and Lindsey should be proud of what you accomplished, as from the fabulous feedback it is clear that ECEC attendees were impacted in a very positive way by the ECEC conference.

Thanks for contributing to the conversation and for adding significant value to the community.



Eric Lukazewski November 16, 2010 at 11:07 am

I’ll throw in my two cents as an attendee at EventCamp East Coast…

I politely disagree that this was a closed conference – Everyone had equal opportunity to attend. I don’t think we should always assume an ‘offline’ event is a negative idea. I agree with Jeff’s statement, ” …the answer depends on the goal of the event.”

I think we need to remember, as supporters of FACE to FACE, that we need to service those attendees FIRST – I believe certain styles and willingness to share and take risks may have compromised the value on-site in many respects.

As an attendee, I never felt that I wasn’t ALLOWED to share information socially – No offense to the remote attendees, butI just didn’t WANT to. I was SO DEEPLY ENGAGED and encapsulated by the relationships and information I was sharing one on one and with others in groups that I felt that I would be compromising my own experience by trying to share it real time.

I think that experiences can be shared in a timely manner. Transcripts being published, blog posts are being shared and maybe the virtual community couldn’t have full access real time, but that information is being released at a more appropriate time that allowed the nature of the conference, its goals and information to remain uncompromised.

I don’t want to speak for any of the organizers, but it appeared that a goal for sharing this un-conference style was to show it in its purest state – plain, simple, yet effective, and then allow other organizers to put their own spin on it. If that means developing other facets that lend it to be shared with remote audiences, I applaud it. But as a social nerd and techie, I felt quite liberated to be immersed and surrounded by content and relationships without popping out my iPhone after each sentence. I’m still choosing to share content and my experience…just doing it at a more appropriate time.


Jeff Hurt November 16, 2010 at 6:36 pm


First and foremost, I think it is imperative that we not discount the experience you or the other ECEC10 attendees had. It was an experience that is unique and deeply personal for each of you. You and those that were there bonded. You have created your own community within the larger community. Those of us not there will never be part of your smaller community.

Here’s my first question for you and the 40-50 people that attended EventCamp East Coast. It deals with community.

1) If you see EventCamp and #eventprofs as a community, then how do we grow the whole community together from an experience that only a small group had? Or should EventCamp not have that as a goal?

I firmly believe that conferences are one touchpoint within a larger community experience. And I believe that most conferences should provide real time content for the rest of the community.

Here’s my second question:

2) Are EventCamps inclusive if people cannot afford to attend, regardless of how economical they are? Or does the registration fee, travel, lodging, expenses become a barrier between the haves and the have nots?

Does money and time become factors that exclude some?


Eric Lukazewski November 16, 2010 at 8:21 pm

I think that ECEC still create community on-site and share that experience with the larger community, therefore unifying them through the content on a more individualized basis. I have shared my experience with a few non-attendees and I felt that sharing only deepened our relationship, which I believe is how a community grows – as a group, as well as one-on-one.

To answer your questions:

1) EventCamp should most certainly be about growth. I would like to think that as attendees, like myself, continue to share our experiences through conversations, blogs, etc, that we will continue to expand that on-site community to the larger. I guess we may be asking for patience as we spread and share the experiences with you all.

I’d be curious to get a non-attendees perspective, such as your own, on whether or not you believe this content needs to be shared in a real time manner in order to achieve the community growth, or if it can be done with equal success by “rolling out” the information, as it is being done here.

2. I guess this comes down to the bigger foundational belief about events and the amount of information that should be “free.” I think there is certainly a level of content that we should be providing to non-attendees. After all, it’s our job to keep them as a part of the community while at the same time, provide enough value and incentive in hopes in converting them to a face-to-face attendee in the future.

I’ll speak again from my own experience. I “attended” both NY & Twin Cities EventCamps virtually and never felt “engaged” enough to full like I was a part of the on-site group. But I was able to gather enough information through the LiveStreams, tweets, blog posts and personal conversations to feel compelled to be a participant at an EventCamp live. I was given short of what on-site attendees received, but the nagging questions about what else I was missing was enough to pull me in to find out more and eventually attend live. I think they have been great models to follow.

I would throw a question back to you. Do you think this EventCamp could have enough information sharing, now that the event has concluded, to achieve the communal requirements as well as spark enough curiosity and interest to produce further interest in live attendance?


Samuel J. Smith November 17, 2010 at 12:58 am


It is weird that you bring up community, because I thought the “founding five’s” intent was to just put on a single conference – not build a community. I was told this in April, July and again in September. The website reflects this position – by never having a buildup or recap of any of the regional events. As does the lack of participation in any of the regional events by the “founding five.”

Further, if you, Jeff, really wanted to build community then the “Founding Five” would have been championing and cheerleading these other event organizers, sponsors and participants. And, Michael McCurry would have written a post that “embraced” ECEC not a post that was perceived by many as a slap in the face. Finally, these questions and this discussion would be taking place on the website – rather than Mike’s blog.

So, while you talk-the-talk – I (and others) don’t see you walking-the-walk.

If it were up to me, I would work on making a hub for the community. Here’s what I propose:
1) becomes a community run site – for everyone. It is run by the community with community roles, participation by the community and content from the regional events stored in a central repository. (note: I did not say that you have a crowdvine or pathable software. This blog platform is fine.)
2) Eventcamp Chicago separate itself and become a standalone event. Sure, Chicago can be the “international” event – but it always stays in Chicago. So you just call it Event Camp Chicago. Not “National” or whatever it is called now…
3) You create in the Branding that was originally intended. Right now, it looks like…um…well, let’s just say that you can do sooo much better.
4) I would lose anything that makes Event Camp look, feel and smell like an association. This includes the Event Camp HQ concept and this: (though it sounds like we are all going for free!)
5) Mike McCurry is a good guy (I wrote a blog post saying as much last year) – but he is damaged goods for the Event Camp movement. Most people read his original post and did not come back for the “I-am-sorry-I-didn’t-mean-it-like-that” comment. Based on the wide range of tweets, skype calls, texts, emails, voice messages and calls that I have received – you will be better served by moving Mike out of the spotlight.

As to your second question – I think this is another question that this is better served by asking the community at large. Not asking the question on Mike’s blog.

One more question – Who is the leader of the Event Camp “founding five”? Ray and I did a ton as two dudes working on the event. You have five very talented people on your team. In my mind, you should be doing some amazing stuff. Yet – I am not seeing any social proof of forward progress. What’s up? Who’s the leader?


Sam Smith November 18, 2010 at 1:25 pm

Dear Mike McCurry,

It was nice to talk to you a few minutes ago. I am sorry that my comments above hurt your feelings. Thank you for explaining what I said that rubbed the wrong way. I am sorry.

To be clear – my questions and criticisms above are real. We just need to subtract the emotion. And, we probably need to find a better online space to have this discussion. A bar perhaps?

Also, I appreciate you telling me that you think that the “Founding Five” is a stupid name. We found common ground right away!

– Sam


Ray Hansen November 17, 2010 at 1:13 am

Wow… just got caught up on this very important “dialogue”…

@Cam What up brother. Missed being with you at ECEC10 and Miss WestField dearly.
@Eric you speak pretty words… are you sure you’re a Southsider?
@Adrian Congrats my friend. You now have had a tremendous impact on the success of two Event Camps. Our community owes you. Thank you.
@Traci I feel your pain home girl!

@jeff and Mike Please picture me pressing my hands to my face and making the largest fart noise you have ever heard and that pretty much sums up my thoughts on your comments above.

There are two dialogues that are going on here. Let me clarify my disappointment by dividing the two.

1st It is obvious that ECEC10 was a success and their event design although not exactly what EC HQ had in mind seems to have been appropriate and compliant to what standards have been outlined by
The 5 Core Values Defining EventCamp
Diversity of Thought – Check
Spirit of Collaboration – Check
Open and Honest Communications – Check
Mutual Respect – Check
Innovation – Check
I’m not interested in spending any time on the success or not success of ECEC10. I’ll let you brainiacs figure that out.

2nd The real problem with your blog post.

Mike you say that you are just one voice in the community… In this case that’s not exactly the case as you are the Co-Chair of Event Camp and when you speak or blog – it affects all of us who have bought in to this movement.
Quite frankly, I don’t understand what your purpose was in starting this “very very important dialogue”. You pat yourself on the back and say this is a difficult subject that was very important to our community to discuss and so vital and important that I just had to post it 5 mins after ECEC10. Earth to Mike – YOUR NOT “Che” Guevara of #eventprofs! We are talking about a conference not the war in Iraq. As the chair of a movement I believe in and have invested my time, talent and a lot of my personal money I beg you to be quiet before you kill this wonderful movement with your big yapper. Talk is cheap and blog talk is even cheaper. At a time when as the Co-Chair of Event Camp you should either be silent or praising the efforts of another successful event camp you start this meaningless and inaccurate post to poke holes in their success. Even your heading is inaccurate “Confidential Content the Best Approach for an EventCamp Conference” Once again – ALL CONTENT WILL BE DISTRIBUTED FOR THE EDIFICATION OF THE COMMUNITY. If you didn’t know the design of this conference that bears the name EVENT CAMP before it started as the Co-Chair then I don’t know what else I can say then maybe you should put down twitter, facebook and your blog and take 5 mins and call the organizers to discuss. So ok … Let’s do some good here and overt future crises for any of the later Event Camp – ALL CONTENT SHOULD BE STREAMED. Wheeeeeewwwwww LET THE HEALING BEGIN! LONG LIVE FREEDOM! WHERES THE BEEF!

This discussion didn’t build community… it wasn’t important…and quite frankly I don’t know of anyone who really gives a shit. What this blog post did was hurt some dear, very hard working friends of ours. Friends that truly “GET” community and who have served their community and more importantly served EVENT CAMP multiple times. These three community members were the very first people to step up and offer support for Event Camp Twin Cities, and not just lip service or the occasional tweet – they rolled up their sleeves and got dirty serving their community. That’s how you make your community better not by putting this dribble on a blog.

Over and Out.


Traci Browne November 17, 2010 at 8:09 am

Ray, in response to what you said, “If you didn’t know the design of this conference that bears the name EVENT CAMP before it started as the Co-Chair then I don’t know what else I can say then maybe you should put down twitter, facebook and your blog and take 5 mins and call the organizers to discuss.”

Adrian, Lindsey and I as well as others in the community sensed much negative energy coming from members of the “founding five” (a term so widely used I cannot help but feel the egos) as well as little digs and passive aggressive comments about not just the confidential format but even the naming of the event “EventCamp East Coast”. In order to clear the air we reached out to them requesting a conference call which they obliged. It was the adult thing to do.

During that call we came straight out and said what we and others were sensing and asked if there was reason for it. They said they could not understand why we felt this vibe as it was certainly unwarranted.

We discussed the naming of the event. Yes they had issues with it. They feared it would discourage others from creating their own EventCamp anywhere on the eastern seaboard. Not true. There was already talk of an EventCamp in New York and one in the southeast. Clearly this is not stopping anyone. There was no naming conventions defined in the charge to go out and create your own event. They told us while still reluctant the name could stand.

The second thing we discussed was the issue over live-streaming the event. We started getting questions from several people including members of the founding five over this decision. On our conference call we discussed the reason for this and they discussed their concerns. After much back and forth it was agreed we would move forward with our plan of confidentiality. At the end of the call we were told there were no issues with our format and they we had their full support.

This is why this post was such a smack in the face. After my comments above I expected a phone call. It’s so easy to hide behind a keyboard. It’s easy to criticize others when you don’t have to face them. It’s easy to pretend the conference call I describe here never took place. It’s easy to give others reading this the impression we went rogue on the community if they do not know the facts. But there was no call, no e-mail to myself expressing dismay for the hurt the post caused. Just more chatter on this blog post saying I stand by what I said. People keep saying that discussion is healthy and it’s ok to express opinion. This is not that…this is bullying. A healthy discussion and expression of opinion is done through dialog…this is not a dialog, this is a diatribe. The adult thing would have been to pick up the phone not attack us on a blog where you are “safe” from real conversation with the people you are attacking. The adult thing to do would have been to admit you had issues that were still not resolved on the conference call before the event.

I have no problem people expressing opinions on the event itself. Do I think we did it perfect and that nothing at all could be changed? No, that would be ignorant. I welcome constructive feedback and discussion from those who were there. Please, let us know (reminder to fill out your survey). But this whole discussion has made me re-think my attendance at EventCamp in Chicago. I desperately want to be there to see, talk to and exchange ideas with members of our community. But I have such a bad feeling in the pit of my stomach I feel I would bring too much negative energy to the event and ruin the experience for others. I feel as though something important was stolen from me.

I would also like to know where we stand now. Is EventCamp an organization run by a few or is it owned by the community. Can the community continue to create their own EventCamps as they see fit or do we need to seek permission and follow a set of guidelines as dictated by five people?


Michael M McCurry CMP November 17, 2010 at 7:29 pm


Thanks for expressing your opinions regarding this blog post and this issue.

I would welcome a telephone conversation with you, and anyone else that wants to dialogue live about this.

Please let me know if that is something you would like to do.



Dave Lutz November 17, 2010 at 7:06 am

Man, this is getting ugly. We all need to remember that no one is making any money by volunteering their time for the good of the #eventprofs community or any regional or national event. It’s just a bunch of folks being passionate about their industry and how it can evolve for the better.

What’s clear to me on this is…the folks that did attend ECEC10 had an awesome experience. Nothing can take that away from them. My hat is off for the organizers and participants for daring to be different and delivering on that promise!

It’s OK to debate an issue. It’s OK to disagree and it’s OK to vote with your feet or mouse click by opting in or out. What’s not OK (if you are passionate about #eventprofs community) is to stop experimenting, stop asking questions and stop learning.

This post asks a good question and varying opinions are healthy for all of us to learn. Accusing someone of having ulterior motives is BS. (I’ve known Mike for 25 years, so you can take that to the bank). There are no right or wrong answers to this question. It’s clear that everyone passionate about #eventprofs wishes they were part of this experience. Nothing wrong with that.

I hope more folks jump on the EventCamp board and plan unique learning experiences that are affordable. Whether it’s an unconference, hybrid experience or tweetchat, we’re pushing the envelope more than most and we are extending the conference through blog posts and social media. Through that extension we create more loyalty and participation. That’s good stuff!

All of the EventCamp’s done in 2010 have much to be proud of! The bar is being moved higher with each experience. That’s something for all of us to celebrate!


Michael M McCurry CMP November 17, 2010 at 7:14 pm

Dave, thanks for your comments and contribution to this conversation.

Much appreciated,



Midori Connolly November 17, 2010 at 12:15 pm

In one of our recent phone calls, Cameron was telling me of the cool things he learned in one of the sessions at ECEC and I remembered a blog posting from WAAAY back about mirror neurons and the contagion of emotion – how negativity breeds more negativity.
Traci, I’m feeling those same funky feelings of anxiety in the pit of my stomach every time I see a new comment, tweet or someone calls me to discuss what’s happening. This is actually distracting me from my work and I’m finding I want to turn off my Twitter stream and go play with the kids :)

Has anyone talked on the phone or set up a meeting or video chat or Maestro call? It’s amazing how many people have called me to discuss this over the last few days and the difference in the positive tone of those phone calls from what is happening on a typed page. When I tried to make some jokes during the event that caused personal offense, I learned that I’m not as funny as I thought I was. They didn’t read like they sounded in my head and I feel terrible for being such an idiot! (Sorry to Traci, Lindsey, Ray and Sam)
Maybe you would all benefit from grabbing a virtual beer (or, perhaps in this case, tequila would be better) and hashing this out voice-to-voice or video-to-video? You are all such good friends that it’s painful to see this become a personal issue.

Or maybe we could just quit this stream and start a new one, so we can begin to breed some positive thinking and correct the confusion over confidentiality.
Because, according to the theory of mirror neurons, positive behaviour can be just as contagious!!

I’ve always known Mike to be a loving, supportive advocate for anyone who needs it. We should keep that in mind and press on to a more visionary place, where we safely provide feedback, input and how to be better in the future.
A place where my stupid jokes aren’t included.


mike mcallen November 17, 2010 at 1:17 pm

Mike- Cool post. Nice link bait. I bet your rankings on Google have shot up.

Seriously—Mike McCurry is a passionite, good friend of mine. I applaud him for expressing his feelings on his personal blog. I also applaud him for approving comments that attack him and our group of event camp volunteers.

Some things about Mike- he learned Wordpress built the website on his own time and pays for the hosting of it for the community. He has frequently hosted Eventprofs chats. I am amazed at the time he has put into eventprofs/ and trying his best to make it work for our community. He is obviously passionite and likes to discuss and learn from how it evolves.

I really hope more eventcamps are produced, enjoyed. We have had three as a community and all three have been fantastic. I felt when we produced NYC Eventcamp that we didnt necessarily do it but our community did it. We drove it but really the eventprofs that attended online and in person made it happen. EventCamp will evolve and hopefully will continue long after we all retire. Like any good vibrant community, fights and disputes happen.

I just really wanted to give big mike some thanks for all he does as a volunteer for our community. I look forward to the Chicago EventCamp and the Western United States Event Camp we are starting to work on.

I like that everyone is so passionite but lets focus n the good things that come out of EventCamp.

925 699 3190


Christina November 17, 2010 at 1:49 pm

Well said, Midori & Mike!


Michael M McCurry CMP November 17, 2010 at 7:26 pm


Thanks bud for the vote of confidence.

People have a right to speak out and I am not going to censor their comments as that would be, in my opinion counterproductive.


Thanks for commenting, and sharing your thoughts.

I invited the folks that have been most unhappy about this blog post to have a live conversation about it. That offer, while not yet accepted is still open.

I am passionate about this community and will accept the consequences for expressing my opinion, and raising questions. I believe there is usually an air of truth to all people’s perspectives, and am open to any and all constructive opinions from others.

This is an amazing community with some really talented, smart and passionate people. I think that is pretty clear to everyone.

Thanks again for contributing.



Traci Browne November 17, 2010 at 8:13 pm

I never received a call or invitation to speak about this topic but perhaps I am not who you were referring to. I only just now received a dm on twitter but no phone calls. A full four days after you wrote your post.


Michael M McCurry CMP November 17, 2010 at 8:28 pm

Traci, you were not who I was referring to….. but if you don’t want to talk, then so be it.


Jessica Levin November 17, 2010 at 8:41 pm

Wow! I have been traveling for the last 10 days and apparently I missed a lot. First, I am saddened by this turn of events. Like many of you, I do a lot of public speaking. In almost every presentation I applaud #eventprofs on being such an incredible community. I have made some of the BEST friends through the community and it has led to real opportunities for me. I am thankful everyday for the community. Way back when Christina Coster has the idea to create Event Camp. She invited anyone to join her. Jeff Hurt and I volunteered. Everyone was invited.
We are all volunteers with no paid staff so we all struggle with creating the perfect event on a show string. I congratulate everyone for their efforts. I know what it takes to make things happen and it isn’t easy.
What I really hate is how much anger is in these comments. Anger and immaturity. I wish that we could have open conversation without being childish.
I think the issue that has caused the most problems is the event camp model vs. the conferences that work model. I think the the thought is that conferences that work is different than event camp. Not bad, just different. Personally, I would have attended ECEC10 if I did not have a conflict. It seem liked a great event. I just didn’t feel that it felt like event camp.
I think communication is to blame. No one contacted the founding five prior to the event, but we didn’t require that. I think we are all at fault for not talking to each other first.
So again, I am very sad by the tone of the comments here. I thought we were professionals and many of the comments are not professional. Isn’t that what the “profs” in eventprofs means?
I hope that we can rebuild our community and I look forward to the continued success of event camp.


Traci browne November 18, 2010 at 7:15 am

Adrian Lindsey and I had a conference call prior to the event with all of you that seems to be forgotten where we thought all was settled.


Ray Hansen November 18, 2010 at 12:07 am

@Jessica, reading your immaturity comments makes me believe you are talking about Dave Lutz. That’s not cool. As far as being professionals… Ill let my work (and the work of Sam Smith) speak for itself not dribble on a blog. See one little example (75 live attendees , 600+ Online attendees, and over 35,000 page hits) 35,000 page hits post event! NOW THATS FREAKING PROFESSIONAL YO! WOOT WAHOO!
@Mike McCurry You have a long history of serving our community to which I am thankful and have benefited from. You deserved better respect from me, for my tone and disrespect I truly apologize. I should have called you my friend to discuss this as it began to spiral downhill. On the matter at hand (timing, relevance and leadership) we just disagree. The biggest problem I have with you is that you have beaten me twice this year in our fantasy football league…Man that hurts.
@The Fab Five Thank you for EventCamp. EventCamp New York inspired me on so many levels – Certainly accelerated my desire to step out from my employer and pursue some of my dreams of new and innovative technology, formats and production solutions. It takes guts to do what you guys did and even tho you had little to nothing to do with EventCamp Twin Cities – I truly appreciate you allowing Sam and I to use the EventCamp name, I know we served it well. We as a community certainly need more EventCamps. I think if you would clarify your expectations, goals and criteria this whole mess could be avoided in the future. Thank you Christina Costner for starting all of this. I am most sorry to you for getting a lil poopy on this.

Listen, We all share a similar vision and want to move our industry down a fresh and exciting highway of innovation, technology, collaboration and communication, that doesn’t necessarily mean we have to all ride the same bus. Our #eventprofs community is bigger than any of us or any single branded event. We need to get as many buses on this highway as we can to move our industry forward. The more voices and eyeballs we can get inside our community of #eventprofs the better for all of us. Wouldn’t you agree?

Ray Guevara

I know all the lyrics to the superbowl shuffle.


Greg Ruby November 18, 2010 at 7:21 am

I have always been of the opinion that the #eventprofs community is very passionate and this thread has definitely proved that point. That said, I am a little disappointed that some folks are making this personal.

By way of background, I am one of four people to have attended all of the Event Camps. I was on the original conference call when the first Event Camp was being organized. I presented at Twin Cities and had lunch with the organizers of East Coast to encourage them to move forward this summer with their vision. I consider myself friends with all of the Founding Five, the Twin Cities Twins and the East Coast Three – and hopefully, that will remain the case after this entry.

Some folks were disappointed that there was not more tweets coming from #ECEC10. If I were not to follow the threads so closely, and if I were an average member of the #eventprofs comunity, I would have expected to see lots of tweets since there was a hashtag for the event and just based on other conferences. #ECTC set the interactive bar so high, many folks just presumed that #ECEC would have a similar online conference. The #ECEC10 organizers were up front that their event would not be streamed, but in hindsight, there really was nothing said about no online discussions. I tried to tweet from the sessions I attended, but when you are in a group of 4 or 12 and having a open discussion, it is tough to do both. I eventually stopped trying to tweet from #ECEC10.

Some folks are disappointed that there was not a live stream video of #ECEC10. The organizers were up front that there would not be one, and I fully understand the reasons they gave. In my opinion, live streaming would not work for this format of conference. A typical viewer would probably switch to something more “exciting” after a few minutes, perhaps to C-SPAN or a competitive fishing show.

The confidential content? It seemed odd to me, but I always expect anything I say to always be public, even when I don’t want it to be. Most #ECEC10 attendees waived the confidentiality issue at the sessions I attended. It did make a few attendees more comfortable in their surroundings, so it had its place. In addition, all of the sessions were transcribed by Mitchell Beer’s folks and they should be released shortly. So the material will be available in the near future, just not live. Just think of it as being back in the day, when some sporting events were shown on tape delay and not live. It might have been better to have answered the question about the lack of tweets from #ECEC10 that attendees were too busy to tweet, rather than focus on the “confidential” nature of the material. I think a lot of the hulabaloo would have blown over.

99.9% of the #ECEC10 attendees loved their experience. I did not – I enjoyed seeing old friends and meeting new ones, learned a little, but wasn’t crazy for the format of the conference. That’s just my opinion. There are people out there who like Lady Gaga and that is their opinion. Mike McCurry expressed his opinion about the confidential content. Everyone is entitled to their opinion and they should be respected for having the courage of their convictions.

Now, if we could all just play nice in the sandbox….



Michael M McCurry CMP November 18, 2010 at 9:40 am

@Jessica, @traci,

Thanks for taking time to weigh in on this discussion.

As you stated we really have a great community with many passionate people.
Traci pointed out we did have a conversation about the “conferences that work” model being used for ECEC10 ahead of time, and I just want to acknowledge once again, that is true.


Thank you for your comments, and relentless sense of humor.

What you and Sam, and others accomplished with ECTC was unquestionably awesome… you raised the bar significantly for future eventcamps.

I love your comment of getting as many busses on the road as we can to propel this (events) industry forward. I am in total agreement.

What can I say about fantasy football… I have been pretty lucky so far… we shall see how it all plays out. Go Bears!


Your comment about the passion of this community is “spot-on”

Congratulations to you for having attended all eventcamps thus far. We look forward to having you in Chicago in February. And, by the way I am envious you have been at all the events…. You are one lucky guy.

Greg, your insights are terrific and yes, the sandbox needs to be a nice place to hang out. I applaud anyone who has the guts to say what they think, because at least we know where they stand on an issue.

@Everyone — thank you all for your opinions and for weighing in on this discussion. Now, lets all get back to the business of leading the events community on to its next adventure!




Emilie Barta November 18, 2010 at 11:16 pm

I luv #eventprofs.

I luv Lara (#eventprofs organizer)…I luv Christina, Jessica, Jeff, Mike, and Mike (#ec10 organizers)…I luv Sam and Ray (#ectc10 organizers)…I luv Traci, Lindsey, and Adrian (#ecec10 organizers).

I luv the passion we all have for the events community…I luv the support we give each other…I luv that we share in each other’s successes…I luv that we pick each other up when we are down…I luv that we are cutting-edge…I luv that we are experimental…I luv that we provide a safe environment for each other…I luv that we help each other thrive.

I luv this community and I want to give this community a huge group hug!!!


Keith Johnston December 6, 2010 at 11:47 pm


First – Bravo on an awesome post and for sharing your opinion, ya kicked the hornets nest with this one!
Second – Where the hell was I that I missed all of this.

You brought up some points that I actually wanted to address but actually avoided posting to my blog because I was afraid that something like this could happen and my fears were justified.

It was sad to go through the comments section and see how they turned nasty when the actual content of your post was anything but, you had positive things to say, you gave some accolades and you gave opinion and criticism of things you thought were not so hot. You gave an honest opinion and it was an opinion that was shared by many including me.

For your openness some decided that you should be nailed to a wall and left in the sun. Not very cool and not very community oriented, especially from members of a group that we (those that are not members) thought was cool, forward thinking and open minded..

What I find disturbing is that I (we) thought that EventCamp and the greater #eventprofs community was a group/org/entity/thing that would actually welcome posts like this, would dissect them and use them to help the group as a whole create better events by learning what others thought, felt and experienced…. I know that EventCamp and #eventprofs are not the same, but they do share a kindred spirit. I (we) thought that this was the evolution of the meeting and event community.

I never imagined that some members of the group/org/entity that I respected would try and shout down or attack a person because they did not like a persons point of view. That to me, seems to go against everything that EventCamp has tried to create and build, members of this group should be above this kind of thing and it makes others in the greater event community think “yep, they are becoming just like _______” (fill in name of meeting/event industry association here).

I guess that I was wrong, Pity.

I did not agree with the closed nature of ECEC, I loved the open nature of EventCamp Twin Cities, that is my opinion, am I to be hated now, am I to be ridiculed, am I “damaged goods” as one person said about you.

I for one loved the fact that you said you did not like the format for ECEC and I would have loved it if you had been IN favor of the format. I like differences of opinion, that is the only way to improve on what we do. If we are all moving in lockstep, we are going to trip and fall.

To all of those that jumped on the attack, you should have grabbed a cup of coffee and tried to see it from Mike’s point of view before you took it personally and grabbed a pitchfork.

Someone above said that you should have made a phone call or discussed this behind closed doors and that your blog was not the forum for a conversation like this and to that person I say “welcome to the 21st century”. This is exactly where we should be having these conversations, we should be having them wherever they pop up, here there and everywhere. we should have them on a train, we should have them on a plane, we should have them in a box, we should have them with a fox…………..that is the beauty of “social”, you never know where the next conversation is going to pop up or where the next flash of brilliance is going to come from (I also thought that that was the beauty of EventCamp or did I get the wrong memo).

Someone else said that your post “was like a smack in the face”… OK, I thought everyone in the event industry had a thick skin (seriously, that is on the door when you enter). This post was not a smack in the face nor did I find it to be an attack. I thought it was a well thought out commentary on how YOU felt about the event, even asking for others opinions………isn’t that how communities improve, evolve and develop stronger bonds?

To everyone that threw a knife, here is a bit of advice from me….it is possible to have an opposing opinion and still think that people did a good job. As I read it, Mike had an opposing opinion about format and said that a good job was done on the planning and execution of the event, what is so wrong with that? I thought that the Bears did a great job winning on Sunday, but I did not agree with every play. Get it???… you can love the team but not think that everything they do is perfect.

If I had produced this event, I would have thanked Mike for his thoughts and candor. I would have called him to get more of his thoughts. I do that with every event I produce, I welcome the vocal dissenters.

Everyone in our community is entitled to their opinion. Rather than crucify, it would have been nice if someone who disagreed would have started the discussion by saying “Gee Mike, I see your point………But”……..Instead, we hear “AHHHHHH, Screw You, You Suck, You Are Worthless and You Can’t Play with US anymore”..

Learn a lesson from groups that have come and gone, infighting opens doors to others to come in and pick a group apart and the vultures are circling.

You guys have built something awesome, people love it, they love the fact that it seems to be open and honest and caring and cool…… long are they going to stick around if they see the leaders acting like this.


Michael M McCurry CMP December 9, 2010 at 7:35 pm

Hi Keith,

All I can say is wow, at all of your comments.

You obviously put a lot of thought and passion into your response, and appreciate your sharing your perspective with us all.

I stand by my commitment to be open and honest in my opinions and ideas on topics that come up.

It’s ok for others to disagree with me, and actually I embrace that, especially if there is a constructive approach to sharing feedback.

There are many very passionate people in the EventCamp community and that is part of the magic.

At this point it is time to move on and continue pursuing our quest, as a community to get better and better.

Thanks for adding to this extended conversation.



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