Not quite two months ago, I attended Brooklyn Beta at the Invisible Dog, where I listened to half a dozen speakers and got to know the other web nerds there. I haven’t been to a lot of conferences, but the quality of speakers, attendees, tangibles, and intangibles were the best I’ve seen and I am counting the days until the next one..

I had hoped to write a post detailing all of the ways in which the conference was awesome, but Cameron, one of the founders, has done it for me. In A Friendly Web Conference, he describes all of the work and thinking that went into making Brooklyn Beta. And since he did such a great job, I’m going to quote a few passages.

[Y]our conference should have a narrative. As an organizer you should have a clear message beyond just, “Hey! I wants to make a conference.” Know what you want your attendees to take away from the event and weave a narrative with your speakers, venue, and conference structure that communicates that message clearly. For Brooklyn Beta, that was: MAKE SOMETHING YOU LOVE

This set the tone. Instead of just, “Here are a group of speakers you might have heard of packed into a hotel conference room,” they made decisions about the event that tied to the theme. From the food to the venue to the topics, everything came back to making something you love.

Our initial feeling regarding Internet was that we should skip it. Why, if we were working so hard to get together such an interesting group of folks to attend, would we have such an obvious distraction. We wanted our attendees to engage with each other and the speakers, not the AOL, the Yahoo! and the Myspace (all wildly popular with our audience). […] Having no Internet at a conference is a feature, not a bug.

At first, I was dismayed by this fact, but it turned out to be great. I took some notes on paper with a pen and I looked back at them later. It also meant I couldn’t try to squeeze in work between sessions so I actually talked to people.

Having a love of your neighborhood and sharing that is an essential part of keeping the atmosphere friendly. After all, when the conference is done, your attendees are going to spill into the streets and local bars and restuarants. They’ll enjoy it more if they feel at home.

This was huge. It’s crazy how many conferences are lazy and bring in shitty hotel food or sandwiches from a generic caterer. They offered up Bark hot dogs, Six Point beer and pizza from Sam’s, a great Italian restaurant that’s been around forever. The conference really felt like Brooklyn. And even better, since it was at a neighborhood spot, people spilled out into local bars right after.

On to Gamma

While it certainly helped that I knew a couple dozen people, this conference had much more going on. It was carefully crafted and that attention to detail came through. If it weren’t a little creepy, I would have wanted a sleepover with everyone in attendance, just so we could talk through the night.

In case it isn’t abundantly clear, hat’s off to Cameron Kozcon and Chris Shiflett. I owe you both a root beer.