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A rollercoaster called Mirror Conf

Imagine you decided to organize an international conference starting 7 months from now. If you’ve ever been involved in organizing something like this, you know what I’m talking about. Going through all the bureaucracies and logistics, in a race against time. Imagine you’d optimistically planned for around 200 attendees and you had only sold around 50 tickets about a month and a half away from the conference. Picture your budget being vibrant red with those 50 tickets, and the pressure mounting.

“Why are people not buying tickets? What did we do wrong? Should we cancel it?”

On top of that, let’s not forget you have a lineup of amazing speakers, some of them coming from the other side of the world for you, and a group of amazing sponsors who invested in your conference.

You can’t back down now, so what do you do?

This was pretty much our status a little less than 60 days to go for Mirror Conf. We gathered our team, presented the harsh facts and sparked a reaction. Everyone had already made up their minds: there’s no way we’re going to screw this up.

We bit the bullet and started tripling our efforts to reach out to companies we believed to be interested in bringing their teams to Mirror and started spreading the word around, augmenting our visibility. Not only that, but we also hosted 2 meetups - Braga.UX (also first edition, tremendous success!) and Braga.JS - which, together, brought over 100 people to our shiny new office. We took the opportunity to present Mirror Conf in both meetups, which we hoped would get people talking to their bosses and co-workers about the conference.

Now imagine that on the next month and a half you’d start selling an average of 4 tickets per day, reaching almost 300 attendees. Your darkest fears are soothed. You have a full house. Your budget is no longer red (just barely). Sounds dreamy right?

Well, it kinda is. I mean we wouldn’t even dare to dream of having 300 people in the first edition of Mirror Conf, especially after all we’d been through until then. But then again, since we never expected it, we never prepared for it. That means contacting catering, merchandise companies, restaurants, party venue and basically tell them it’s not going to be 200 people but actually 300.

Ouch.

Despite all these unforeseen complications, we never conceded in giving everyone coming to Mirror Conf an amazing, unique experience. Not for a moment.

The speaker line-up was absolutely fantastic, with insightful and thought-provoking talks; a kickass party sponsored by the friendly Ginetta team, with whom everyone fell in love with; the engaging and bonding board games, as well as our little social game that got people to interact with speakers and other attendees. Everyone who came to the conference was our guest for 2 days, and we did everything in our power to make sure you felt welcomed and happy. From the feedback we got, I think we can safely say: “Mission Accomplished!”

Now that Mirror Conf is over and we had such amazing response from our attendees, speakers, sponsors and staff, all we’ve been through to put it up has become another fun story we get to tell our friends and family about. All that remains are the memories of an epic conference, that scared the crap out of us, but turned out to be freakin’ awesome.

We miss you already, and we can’t wait to see you all again next year! :)

PS: I’m writing this post on Subvisual’s blog but I don’t want to waste any opportunity to thank our friends at Gen Design Studio who partnered with us and helped us surpass all obstacles. We could never have made it without you!

João Ferreira

About João Ferreira

Believes Design is not about mastering tools but about mastering people. Passionate about music, movies and whisky.
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