July 20–24, 2015
Portland, OR

Introduction to planning and running tech events

Kara Sowles (Puppet), Francesca Krihely (MongoDB )
1:30pm–5:00pm Monday, 07/20/2015
Collaboration E143/144
Average rating: ****.
(4.25, 4 ratings)
Slides:   external link

Conferences, meetups, and hackathons are part and parcel of the open source experience. Events, both online and offline, are some of the best ways to increase community engagement and share knowledge about technology. When planning an event, it’s important to see the trees (the tiny details) and the forest (the big picture). But when you are first getting started, it is often challenging to develop the framework, structure and goals that can make your events appealing, fun, and educational for your attendees.

In this hands-on tutorial, we’ll help you outline a process for creating your own tech-focused event. We’ll provide both online materials and paper alternatives that enable you to follow along with each step of the event planning process, and apply it to a real or theoretical event of your own. No need to already be planning something – you’re encouraged to approach this as an exercise, so you can take this tutorial with any theoretical tech event in mind!

This tutorial will cover:

  • Structure: Choosing the right types of events
  • Logistics: Keeping track of event details; co-planning events
  • Content: Finding and selecting speakers; content that people remember
  • Social: Positive after-parties; creating positive event environments
  • Diversity: Crafting an inclusive event; attracting diverse speakers
  • The Future: Making your event repeatable; documenting your experience

Included with this tutorial will be:

  • An online checklist to help you when planning your own events
  • An online resource with tips for planning, that you can keep for reference

Whether you’ve already planned some tech events, or you’ve never had the opportunity, you’re invited to hone your skills and build your confidence in this tutorial! You will walk away with actionable guidelines to use when planning your first user group, Hackathon, or tech conference.

Photo of Kara Sowles

Kara Sowles


Kara Sowles is community initiatives manager at Puppet Labs, where she joyfully organizes and runs a variety of events, community recognition programs, and a flourishing user group community. After working at Puppet Labs during the day, she enjoys going home and making stop-motion animation using real puppets. The irony is not lost on her.

Francesca Krihely


Francesca Krihely is the CMO at Bowery, where she leads the startup’s marketing, community, and support efforts. Prior to Bowery, Francesca spent three years at MongoDB, where she ran the company’s open source community programs. She holds a BA in sociology and history from Oberlin College.