Expect unexpected outcomes at MeasureCamp
We chatted with Ivan Bager from Copenhagen MeasureCamp sponsor and host Siteimprove in their Copenhagen office to learn more about MeasureCamp and why he finds it valuable. Ivan is the Director of Innovation for Siteimprove and has attended roughly a bazillion MeasureCamps, by his estimation.
Q: What makes you keep going to MeasureCamp?
The cool thing about MeasureCamp is, and not to be banal, but it’s an unconference. The point is that there’s no plan. There’s no structure other than here are the time slots and these are the rooms. You guys figure out what is important to you today.
You can take your immediate needs and your immediate interests to the conference and the conference will shape itself to your needs basically. This gives you the opportunity to discuss things that you never thought you would discuss. Things that all of a sudden catch your eye and you go to the speaker and say “What are you intending for us to talk about?” That could go for anything – Craig Sullivan’s famous garden talk on how to make sure vegetables don’t get pest infections to all of a sudden talking about how to actually develop an analytics tool from the bottom up.
I like that diversity and unexpectedness.
And it’s absolutely, perfectly okay to skip a session to hang out with people that you think are cool and that you can learn from. Or are just people you need to network with.
Q: And that is coming back to the Rule of Two Feet?
Yes. That’s the whole thing with an unconference. If you don’t feel like you can contribute to a discussion or if you don’t feel that you can learn from a discussion, you should leave and find a discussion where you can contribute or learn. There’s no harm, no foul intended if you get up and leave a discussion. Smile at people and leave and everybody will understand that you’re leaving because you made the wrong choice. It’s not that it was a bad choice, or a bad talk, or bad people – it’s just that you feel like you can contribute better elsewhere. I think that’s a beautiful thing.
It touches very much on the whole agile thinking and I like that.
Q: MeasureCamp sounds chaotic. Does the chaos contribute to the feeling?
It is. It’s wonderful.
I mean, it is structured. It’s structured chaos, I guess you could say. Basically like any good workplace, it’s got a framework – this is what you’re going to do today, here are the timeslots that things are going to happen in, here’s your t-shirt, you go figure it out. Then people are free to do whatever they want within the confines of the conference.
Sometimes that means going for a walk outside the conference and having a discussion with a vendor that you’re really particularly upset with or happy with. Sometimes that means all of a sudden coming together with two guys and saying “We need to discuss gamification in analytics” and plugging that into the board. It can be anything.
It is completely – I wouldn’t say chaotic, I would say anarchistic. There’s freeform within the structure.
Q: Who should attend this kind of thing?
There is a huge diversity. Like I said, I brought developers who are not business people. They don’t understand the business aspects of things. They do understand unbelieveable amount of other things, of course.
Q: So it’s for hardcore nerds?
No. I’ve been there as a consultant and brought a complete newb to the business. Somebody who didn’t have a lot of experience in the field. She was thrilled because she could get in and she could find sessions that were on her level, but more importantly, she could leave sessions that weren’t. Where people were discussing things like data layer integration, which is beyond you when you’re a rookie. She was able to move around and get a lot of different perspectives. She really learned a lot that weekend.
With the developers, they were really interested in, of course, the technical stuff, and they were able to contribute a lot to the more technical discussions. But they learned a lot from the things that were more down-to-earth and more business oriented. Like what is the value of AdWords? Why do people even touch this stuff.
I think that diversity of anything from rookies to developers to consultants to vendors, gives you an interesting mix and it gives you unexpected outcomes from the sessions. Because people bring stuff that surprises you and I think that is important.
Unexpected outcomes should be trademarked for MeasureCamp.
Q: Anything else you’d want to add about MeasureCamp?
It is an amazing place to meet people. It’s joyful.