Statistics for DDD South West 1 to 4

Each year after DDD South West we have compiled statistics about the event. After DDD South West 4 we never really found the time to update the website but rather than let the statistics just disappear I thought a few people might find it interesting to know how it compared with previous events:-

  DDD SW1 DDD SW2 DDD SW3 DDD SW4
People registered on site 313 642 908 1201
Cancellations 36 62 77 119
Registered attendees (after cancellations) 227 309 331 372
Actual Attendees 158 218 257 288
Percentage Drop Out Rate 30% 29% 22% 23%
Unregistered UWE Students 0 3 3 0
Event Feedback Forms returned 111 152 173 173
Percentage of Event Feedback Forms returned 70% 70% 67% 60%
Session Feedback Forms returned 591 887 1082 1075
Percentage of Session Feedback Forms returned 88% 85% 87% 86%
Geek Dinner Registrations 30 47 54 60
Geek Dinner Attendees 27 45 59 42

As you can see DDD South West 4 had the highest attendance of any DDD South West to date which was very rewarding. DDD South West 4 was fully booked within 4 hours of registration opening and the wait list was full within 24 hours. You can also see that the number of cancellations reached a massive all time high of 119 people. This seems to confirm our theory that people register for DDD events without having any real conviction of whether they will attend simply because they want the option of attending if they decide they will go and it is easier to give up a place than to get a place through the wait list. This raises the age old debate of whether to charge a nominal fee (e.g. 5 UKP) in order to discourage this practice.

Another great statistic from DDD South West 4 was the geek dinner attendance (which was more strictly controlled than for the previous year on the grounds that the venue was clear that they would not accept more than our allocated number).

If you came along to any of these DDD South West events we hope you had a fabulous time.

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Posted by: guysmithferrier
Posted on: Monday, April 15, 2013 at 10:52 AM
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Transfer of Ownership of DDD South West Limited

Yesterday, I appointed two new directors of DDD South West Limited, Martyn Fewtrell and Rob Bracken. At the same time I resigned as the then sole director of DDD South West Limited. Martyn Fewtrell has been on the DDD South West team every year since its inception and Rob Bracken joined the team with Rachel Clements for DDD South West 4.

To recap: DDD South West Limited is a "limited with guarantors" company. This means that although it can make a profit it is unable to distribute its profits because it is not allowed to have shares or shareholders. I chose this model for the legal DDD South West entity to get as close to a "not for profit" organisation as possible without having to go through the considerable hurdles of actually being a "not for profit" organisation.

The bank account (complete with a reasonable balance) will be transferred shortly.

As I have mentioned previously the time and effort involved in creating DDD South West each year is significant and it is apparent to me that I want to spend more time on technology and this community activity has inhibited this desire in recent years. As such it makes sense to transfer DDD South West to the community people who can find the time and energy to continue to this great event for years to come. A new leadership means new approaches and new experiments. Some experiments will succeed and some won't but then this was equally true for the first four DDD South West events. Please welcome the new leadership and the new direction and support them in the same fabulous way the community supported the first four years.

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Posted by: guysmithferrier
Posted on: Tuesday, April 02, 2013 at 4:51 PM
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DDD South West 3 Sticker Photo Competition Winner

At DDD South West 3 we ran a competition to find the best photo of an "I Was There" sticker. The competition is closed now and out of the 28 entries The DDD South West Team chose this entry from @surlydev as the winner:-

Congratulations and tanks for the excellent pic. Honourable mentions (but no actual prize) go to John Albrecht for the buoy on Normandy beach on D Day:-

And to Paul Stack for this Welcome sign in Ireland:-

And finally to this PhotoShopped (so we couldn't include it) picture from @surlydev of one of our speakers:-

Thanks to everyone for all of your photos. See you at DDD South West 4.

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Posted by: guysmithferrier
Posted on: Tuesday, August 09, 2011 at 9:03 PM
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DDD South West 3 On The Day

DDD South West 3 was held on Saturday 11th June 2011 in Bristol and I think it went fairly well. There were 257 attendees, 6 simultaneous tracks and 25 speakers. You can see the full set of statistics here. The day went mostly without problems. We learnt some lessons from last year and the queues for food and drink were much shorter this time and the wifi worked much better (but not perfectly). The feedback we received was invaluable as always. For the question on "What did you like most about DDD South West 3 ?" the top answers were:-

  • the food
  • the speakers and the sessions
  • it was free

For the questions on "What did you like least about DDD South West 3 ?" the top answers were:-

  • some rooms were hot and did not have air-conditioning
  • the food
  • the wifi

Another statistic I find interesting is that 27% of attendees had not been to a DDD event previously. This means after 3 years of DDD South West (not to mention the 9 DDD Events in Reading) we are still reaching developers that are new to this format.

The last statistic I think is worth highlight is the increase in word-of-mouth recommendations over the last 3 years. In the question "How did you find out about DDD South West ?" the answer "Friend/Colleague" was 11% at DDD South West 1, 16% at DDD South West 2 and now 26% at DDD South West 3. That's a lot of people spreading a lot of good information on our behalf - thanks, everyone!

Like previous years the highlight of the day was the speakers and the quality of their sessions. I would like to say a huge thanks to all of our speakers and congratulations to our Top Speakers By Knowledge of Subject:-

  1. Steve Sanderson (Getting Started In ASP.NET MVC) 8.88
  2. Richard Campbell (Why Web Performance Matters) 8.85
  3. Richard Parker (Getting Started In The .NET Framework) 8.56

and to our Top Speakers By Presentation Skills:-

  1. Richard Campbell (Why Web Performance Matters) 8.73
  2. Richard Parker (Getting Started In The .NET Framework) 8.33
  3. Steve Sanderson (Getting Started In ASP.NET MVC) 8.30

One of the features of 'regional' DDDs is that they allow the different DDD teams to innovate and try out new ideas. One of the ideas we tried out at DDD South West 3 was lunchtime micro-presentations. It is a long running theme of DDD events that the lunchtime is spent listening to grok talks (10 minute presentations). We followed this approach at DDD South West 3 as we did at previous DDD South West events but this year we asked presenters to give micro-presentations instead of grok talks. Micro-presentations (aka pecha kucha, aka 20/20, aka lightning talks) are 20 slides of 20 seconds each. They are a particularly tough presentation format but I think it can be safely said that our speakers took the challenge and were superb. You can watch videos (slides with the live audio) of these presentations:-

Another idea we tried out was the "+1" Repeat Track wherein the most popular sessions get repeated. This is an attempt to mitigate the 'problem' of having so many great sessions. The repeated sessions were determined by the public voting on which sessions to repeat after seeing the agenda for the other 5 tracks. The feedback on this track was that it was a good idea and much welcomed. Thanks to all of the speakers who repeated their sessions (not only for repeating them but also for missing out on seeing other presenters sessions twice).

Yet another idea was the re-interpretation of the Speaker Room. In general the idea that attendees had a place where they could find the speakers and could sit and chat worked quite well. I think we still need to do a bit more in terms of breaking down attendees' resistance that speakers 'should not be disturbed' but it is something to work on.

At DDD South West 2 we introduced the "Getting Started In .NET" track which was an attempt to help non-.NET developers get into the community and get started in .NET for free. It was back again this year and like last year it was well attended and well liked. Thanks to the trainers who provided their services for free again.

You can catch up with what others have blogged about DDD South West 3 below:-

As I am sure you know DDD South West is a free event and I am sure people have heard me say many times before "free means someone else pays". And specifically this means our fabulous sponsors. Thank you to our platinum sponsors AspDotNetStoreFront, UWE, Microsoft and Telerik and to all of the sponsors who made this event possible and who gave us such great swag to give away to attendees (60+ quality pieces of swag valued at over £9000). And the swag fest isn't over yet. If you attended DDD South West 3 you will have found in your attendee bag a DDD South West 3 "I Was There" sticker. We are running a competition to find the best photo of this sticker stuck somewhere. The winner wins a Kinect (thanks, Microsoft). Details are here. The competition ends at midnight on 31st July 2011.

So finally I would like to thank the army of people who made this event possible: room monitors, helpers, speakers, sponsors, catering staff, attendees, everyone. One of my enduring memories of DDD South West 3 and previous DDD South West events is the large number of people who came up to me throughout the whole day and said "can I do anything to help ?". The UK .NET community does indeed rock.

And very finally DDD South west is run by a team of people: Martyn Fewtrell, Chris Myhill, Ross Scott, Jose Simas and myself. A massive thanks to my team mates who don't stand centre stage but nonetheless do a ton of work that doesn't typically get seen but has to happen somehow.

You can see photos of DDD South West 3 from Jose Simas here and Craig Murphy here.

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Posted by: GuySmithFerrier
Posted on: Monday, July 11, 2011 at 3:05 PM
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DDD South West 3 Sticker Photo Competition – Win a Kinect

Going to DDD South West 3 on Saturday ? In your attendee bag you will find an "I Was There" sticker. We are running a competition to find the best photo of a DDD South West 3 sticker stuck on to something. Travelling somewhere ? Take the sticker with you and photograph the sticker stuck on a famous place. Going to DDD Sydney on 3rd July ? Take the sticker with you and photograph it stuck on a DDD Sydney banner. Here's what you need to know:-

  • You must be a DDD South West 3 attendee.
  • Either Tweet your photo using the hashtag #dddswpic or email it to admin at dddsouthwest.com.
  • The competition closes at midnight (GMT) on Sunday 31st July 2011.
  • The judges decision is final.
  • The winner will be notified by Friday 5th August 2011.
  • The winner will receive an XBox Kinect (postage paid inside the UK only).

Thanks to Microsoft for donating the Kinect to a very worthy cause.

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Posted by: guysmithferrier
Posted on: Tuesday, June 07, 2011 at 2:27 PM
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DDD South West 3 Speaker Room

Even if you are not a speaker you may be aware that most conferences have a Speaker Room. The purpose of a Speaker Room is a matter for some debate. Most speakers will explain to anyone naive enough to listen that it is absolutely essential that speakers have somewhere to go, away from the attendees so that they may prepare their session. Of course, this is simply a facade. It is nothing of the sort. Instead most people think that the Speaker Room is a place where speakers can hang out with other speakers safe in the knowledge that the attendees cannot just come up to them and ask them a question or engage them in conversation. At the first two DDD South Wests we did not provide a Speaker Room because DDD events are community events and having a place where speakers can hide from the very people who have come there to meet them is anti-community. Instead we provided counselling services and darkened rooms where speakers could retire if an attendee had approached them, talked directly at them and even touched them in the guise of "shaking hands" (I'll stop now as speakers of a more nervous persuasion might stop reading). But for DDD South West 3 we are going to do something different. For DDD South West 3 we are going to use a Speaker Room for the one true purpose which all Speaker Rooms should be used for: to meet the speakers. Room 3Q83 is the Speakers Room at DDD South West 3. Speakers will go there specifically to talk to attendees. We encourage all attendees to go there to and avail themselves of the speakers therein. Also we might put some chocolate bars in that room.

One final point of note: we have reached an agreement with all conference organisers the whole world over that from here on all Speaker Rooms will be places where you can go and meet speakers and we would encourage you to forcefully resist security staff everywhere and stand up for your rights as attendees to engage speakers in conversations wherever they may be.

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Posted by: guysmithferrier
Posted on: Monday, June 06, 2011 at 4:58 PM
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DDD South West 3 Mobile Phone Apps

DDD South West 3 (Saturday 11th June 2011) is blessed in having not one but two apps for mobile phones.

  • For Windows Phone 7 you can download the free app (including the agenda) from the MarketPlace on your phone. Search on "DDD". Thanks to Chris Myhill for his excellent creation and to Mike Hole for publishing it. (If you have downloaded the first version you need to do a refresh to get the agenda).
  • For Android, iOS, FireFox 4, IE 9 (not IE 8), Chrome 11 and Safari you can download the free app (including the agenda) from http://www.pocketddd.com/dddsw3. Thanks to Ross Scott for his excellent creation.
See you there.

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Posted by: guysmithferrier
Posted on: Thursday, June 02, 2011 at 9:24 AM
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DDD South West 3 Lunchtime Micro-Presentations

It is a tradition at DDD events that the lunchtime activity is a collection of grok talks. This works well because these talks last about 10 minutes and if it isn't so interesting to you then you can just eat your lunch whilst you wait for the next one. This year at DDD South West 3 though we are doing something a little different. I am delighted and excited to announce that we will be having a lunchtime of micro-presentations (aka pecha kucha, aka 20/20). These presentations are structured differently. They are always 20 slides long and each and every slide is always exactly 20 seconds. We know this because PowerPoint (or whatever is set to auto-advance after 20 seconds). Consequently every 20/20 presentation is always exactly 6 minutes and 40 seconds. And they are very exciting. See the presenters struggle as they attempt to speak on a subject for exactly 20 seconds, 20 times in a row. Watch them squirm as they reach 15 seconds and run out of things to say. Watch them get flustered as they run over by 3 seconds and have to speak twice as fast for the next slide. This is a tough presentation format and all of the speakers deserve a whole load of credit for stepping up to the mark and saying "I'll do that!". So please show your appreciation and admiration for the following micro-presentations that will be taking place at DDD South West 3 over lunch:-

  • Gary Short, "Algorithms and Asymptotes, What You've Forgotten Since University"
  • Richard Costall, "20 Sliders in 20 Seconds"
  • Phil Collins, "Build Radiators: Hot or Not"
  • Mark Rendle, "Kaizen for Coders"
  • Ross Scott, "How I made PocketDDD"

If your appetite is whetted and you can't wait until DDD South West 3 here are a few previous attempts:-

So if you're going to DDD South West 3 (Saturday 11th June 2011) then grab your lunch and make your way to 4Q56 (the track 1 room) and join in the fun.

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Posted by: GuySmithFerrier
Posted on: Wednesday, May 25, 2011 at 2:01 PM
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DDD Scotland 4 Speaker Scores

Congratulations to Glen Mehn, the top speaker at DDD Scotland 4 for his session in the Alternative Track entitled "Beyond Hackdays/Weekends: Finding Problems To Solve". Thanks also to Andy Gibson not only for compiling all the feedback but also for releasing the top of the Speaker Board (below). Some conferences keep this information a secret and I am disappointed by this because I think great speakers deserve recognition for their presentations (we also list the top speakers at DDD South West).

Speaker Track Slot Responses Average
Glen Mehn F 4 9 4.74
Guy Smith-Ferrier D 2 15 4.62
Paul Stack B 4 28 4.60
Nial Merrigan B 2 33 4.52
Gary Short A 2 47 4.47
Phil Winstanley A 3 64 4.45
Kendall Miller A 1 49 4.42

The average score is the average of all questions except the question on meeting your expectations.

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Posted by: guysmithferrier
Posted on: Tuesday, May 17, 2011 at 12:47 PM
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Richard Campbell at DDD South West 3

We are delighted to announce that Richard Campbell (of .NET Rocks, RunAs Radio, Strangeloop Networks) will be presenting "Why Web Performance Matters" at DDD South West 3 on Saturday 11th June 2011. Here is the abstract:-

Developers love to make their web applications go fast. But do you know the real benefit of high performance web sites? In a word, it's money. This session digs into the real revenue returns of high performance web applications with detailed data on how each second saved adds to the bottom line - more customers buy (reduced bounce rate) and they buy more. Learn how to evaluate the ROI of performance tuning to justify the cost of effort to the revenue increase. Beyond e-commerce, saving employees time on internal applications also has a real cost. Explore how to gather the real-world metric of high performance web sites to know what your web site earns, and how it can earn more!

Richard is a fabulous speaker and this is a real treat for us. DDD South West 3 is full but a wait list is in operation and experience shows us that people at the top of the wait list are highly likely to get in as people who can no longer make it give up their places closer to the event.

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Posted by: guysmithferrier
Posted on: Friday, May 13, 2011 at 2:36 PM
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