How we did FrontTalks

    How it all started / Idea


    It was cold January 2013 in the yard. Outside the window was somewhere -30. All I wanted to do was throw a cup or two of coffee, wrap ourselves in a blanket and sit by the fireplace. But Misha Davydov’s excited look and confidence in victory did not let us languish for a long time:

    - Oleg, there is an idea! Let's organize a meeting like MoscowJS, read reports, it will be cool!
    - Hmm ... come on!

    As a result, they decided that there would be too little content for meetings on JS, and they took the entire frontend. And so began the story of one of the leading frontend hangouts in Yekaterinburg today - FrontTalks.




    Where to gather / Place


    It would be possible to choose the Yekaterinburg office of Yandex as a place. But we did not want to gather people in order to talk about Yandex and its projects, we just wanted to collect a cool party of frontend developers from all over the city. And then, it remained unclear how many people would come to us. 20, 30, 50?

    We started looking for a room. The options were very simple: cheap and cheerful. First of all, it’s cheap, because we didn’t have that much money - we took off ourselves. And angrily in the sense that at least 30 people should have entered. We decided to stop at Gorky Bar. Comfortable and inexpensive.

    EkbFrontTalks / Title


    We went over all conceivable and inconceivable names that would combine frontend and Ekb. The working name was EkbFront, and EFC (Ekaterinburg Frontend Conference) was taken as a fallback. But all this was not that, the name should be biting and, most importantly, not occupied by anyone. At some point, everyone already agreed on the EFC, but suddenly EkbFrontTalks came up. More precisely convey the essence of the idea would be difficult. After all, we started all this precisely in order to talk about frontend!

    With this name, we started holding meetings, and over time, the Ekb prefix disappeared, just FrontTalks remained.

    Website


    We made a site following the example of berlinjs.org , receiving a blessing from them . Katya Mokhova, after a little shamanizing with flowers, made the site warmer, and also drew the juicy and most important button “I'll go!”.

    So it turned out fronttalks.ru .

    How to find speakers? / Content


    Since the idea arose in Yandex, immediately there were 3 reports from Yandex frontendars - Vasya Aksyonov, Denis Chistyakov and Misha Davydov. We connected our friends from JetStyle, and got another report from Lesha Ivanov. There are 2 more slots left, we left them before the publication of our event, hoping for applications from the outside.



    Where to get the audience? / Listeners


    We opened the site, trumpeted on social networks and began to wait. The result stunned us. Literally in the first couple of days, the number of registrations exceeded 50! It became clear that we needed a platform with a larger capacity, so we went to the Freelance Café. We stopped on it in the future.

    Total, for the first meeting we received 107 registrations, 60 people came. It was fantastically cool! In addition, another 5 applications for reports arrived, with which we easily closed two slots in the program, arranging part of them at 2 hours and 15 minutes each.

    How to prepare speakers? / Runs


    Before the meeting, they decided to listen to each of the speakers. It turned out that the degree of preparedness for the speakers was radically different. One of the speakers, for example, came without a presentation, with sheets torn from the book. Then we decided - we always do runs! For each speaker and several times.

    Later, remote runs for speakers from other cities began to be practiced - we communicate with them through skype. Many experienced speakers often ask us about the runs themselves, because high-quality preparation for the presentation is very important for them.



    Hardware, don't let me down!


    The day came, February 16, 2013. They arrived at the site early to connect everything, configure the equipment. And then the first funny thing happened: while they were sorting out the connection of equipment, they broke the only wireless microphone. For a couple of reports, I even had to turn on the maximum volume of my voice, a little later, however, I managed to find a wired microphone. Exhaled.

    Also, as luck would have it, right before the event it turned out that the full-time camera will be used for shooting at the university. The video reports were eventually filmed by the efforts of Vasya Aksyonov and his mobile phone. It looked something like this:



    Since then we have been preparing all the necessary equipment for events in advance and checking it several times.

    Success


    Despite all the difficulties, after the event we realized that everything worked out. 60 people came, 7 of them specially came from Chelyabinsk, and one - even from Izhevsk.

    The reviews were only positive:

    Thank you guys, finally someone started the frontend movement in our city!

    Everything was very cool and delicious.

    The idea to set topics for conversation with reports, and then sit at tables and continue communication, proved itself 100%. 2/3 of the halls after the reports remained and continued the discussion.

    It was a success.



    Second meeting


    The most difficult thing after organizing the first event is to continue to organize it without lowering the level. Throwing a cry at the very beginning, we received a bunch of reviews and applications. But at the second event, announced at the first, did not receive a single one.

    It was decided to continue at all costs. At some point, we just willedly rolled out the program from the four reports that were in our pool, and continued to wait for new applications, otherwise there was a risk of losing the wave.

    I must say that the reports were more hardcore than the first time and mainly about JS. Therefore, we expected fewer registrations for the event, but this time too there were a lot of them. 94 people were registered. About half came to the event itself.

    But this time, not everything went smoothly. The day before the meeting, Maxim Ponomarev, who had driven away many times before, had a temperature of under 40. From the bins, I got my report from St. Petersburg about the promo pages and read it again. The report in stock is excellent.

    Dump


    Once, Julia Gerasimovich from IT-People knocked on Vasya Aksyonov, who was at the forefront of FrontTalks, and offered to supervise the Frontend section at the DUMP conference. Vasya decided to attract us all, and now, FrontTalks is already organizing a section of one of the largest conferences.

    Here we first tested the format of the meeting, which we call “30-10-10”. 30 minutes for each report, after - 10 minutes for questions to the speaker, and another 10 - for rest and behind-the-scenes communication. The format has proved itself. The reports are perceived more easily, no thoughts or questions have any chance to be unspoken, and all comers have time to relax, stretch themselves and drink water. We have time to switch and adjust the equipment and presentation of the speakers without haste. In addition, the time laid down for questions allows you to level the overlays in case one of the speakers breaks the schedule.

    Not without technical overlays. There was only one microphone in the entire hall of our section, so we had to run around the hall, passing the microphone from the speaker to the person asking the question. We cleverly beat this moment, jokingly joked that this was done on purpose so that the speaker had time to think what to answer the question. But they took note.

    By the way, in 2014 we were reinsured about technology, and for good reason - in our room there was no VGA output from the projector, HDMI was not suitable for the scene length - in general, I had to tinker with the connection.



    Conference supported by J. Guest


    Then the story unfolded rapidly. We spoke about the event to our colleagues from Moscow, and they liked it so much that they decided to try out a new Yandex program for us to help organize and conduct thematic events - Y. Guest . Thus, we got the opportunity to rent a platform and bring eminent speakers. In addition, Yandex just held a Saturday in Yekaterinburg, so it should have been an excellent conference lasting two days.

    A serious and difficult process began - the curators of the speakers and the solution of domestic issues. It’s not enough just to find a speaker, you still need to bring him (buy tickets, book a hotel, arrange a trip, organize trips, and master the technical details). And, most importantly, multiply all this by 8. After all, just as many speakers we ultimately succeeded in.

    But still, this time we had strong support from the event team, they took away the lion's share of the organization’s efforts. Therefore, everything was ready for the event and it went off with a bang.



    Further more / Fifth meeting


    Further, we can say, we entered the stream. The fifth meeting in 2013 we did not surprise anyone. After watching how professionals from Yandex make video recordings, we decided to try to do the same. It turned out to be easy: start recording the speaker’s monitor screen (for example, on Mac it can be done using QuickTime), find the buttonhole to output the speaker’s voice to the camera, actually launch the speaker and shoot. After it remains to reduce the two videos by some video editing program, we use OpenShot.

    We shoot video in this way at every event and post it on our website fronttalks.ru , as well as on the Vimeo channel .

    2014


    This year began with preparations for DUMP. Like last time, we organized the frontend development section. Speakers gathered from different parts of the country, and even from Israel, applied the already established 30-10-10 format and got 8 hours of useful and lively communication.

    There were so many applications for speeches that, having decided not to deny ourselves pleasure, we did what we had not to do so far - we organized the day before the conference. And no, this is not the same as the after party, but only before the event. We filled the prepat with interesting and informative presentations, with breaks for tea, coffee and conversations. So, the evening before DUMP was hot, and the most eager to FrontTalks viewer got another 3 hours of pleasure, after listening to 5 additional reports and talking with a lot of interesting people even before the main DUMP move started.



    New cities / Chelyabinsk


    We liked the idea of ​​prepati so much that in May of this year we repeated the experience, but this time we went with him to Chelyabinsk. The organizers of the UWDC conference welcomed us warmly, giving us the opportunity to notify all Chelyabinsk developers of our arrival.

    They planned to recruit both their own and Chelyabinsk speakers in the program. As a result, we received only one application from the Chelyabinsk developer, finished off with two reports from myself.

    Having opened the registration, we did not count on a full house - the city is new for us, and there have been few reports. The site summed up - the meeting was held in a much smaller area than planned, this became the main “file”. More than 40 people from 60 registered people came to the party, this is a very high percentage for a free event. Some listeners had to huddle around the bar, watching speakers and their presentations from afar. I was glad that even such inconveniences did not frighten the people, and each of the three speakers found their audience.

    Preparations for the conference - as a whole prelude to the main play. This is a good opportunity to warm up the people before the conference, and also not to ignore those listeners who, for whatever reason, will not be able to attend the main event.

    Future plans


    Now we are preparing for the next FrontTalks conference , which will be held on September 19 as part of the Y. Guest project . We are already actively preparing, and we can already announce the first speakers: this time Vadim Makeev pepelsbey , Dmitry Dudin, Roman Salnikov and Vadim Makishvili will speak. The program is still being formed, and you can send us applications at fronttalks@ya.ru .

    And, of course, register and come to our conference!



    In the end, I would like to thank everyone who participated in the creation of FrontTalks: Misha Davydov azproduction, Irina Roeva, Vasya Aksyonov, Denis Chistyakov, Seryoga Gorobtsov, Lesha Ivanov, Natasha Frantseva, Masha Kudryashova, Katya Mokhova, Lena Voronina, Julia Gerasimovich, Andrei Zharinov, Anton Trushnikov, Gennady Barmakov, Sasha Polonik as well as all the speakers.



    Thanks!

    Oleg Mokhov and Nastya Shipulina xcopyofsoul , organizers of FrontTalks

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