Hi, and welcome to the awesome that makes up THAT Conference. This Handbook should have the answers you need to successfully navigate the rapids leading up to and right on through the show in August. For some of you veterans of conference speaking, some of this may seem obvious, but please read through everything here. If for some reason, this guide does not answer your questions, please reach out to us at Hello@THATConference.com. We will endeavor not only to respond, but to update this guide with the information for future reference.
As a speaker, one of your benefits is that you get a full conference ticket, but you need to go out to the ticket registration link we sent you to get it. Yes, we know we said to do this when we sent you the welcome email, but it bears repeating. You'd be surprised how busy people are and how they forget even the most important things. Your family is also welcome to join you at THAT Conference, so register their information when you sign up to get their family tickets. We need to have an accurate headcount of you and your family arrangements, so we can plan for all shirt sizes and dietary restrictions.
Every year I'm shocked at the number of speakers that don't take advantage of this simple stuff and potentially miss out on audience. Campers love to see recognizable faces. Make sure you upload your mugshot, so our campers know who you are when they see you in person. This image should be landscape - 458x306 works the best but our awesome servers somewhere in some cloud will try to resize appropriately. You can upload as many times as you wish; we just keep overwriting the last awesome mugshot you gave us.
Also, make sure you update your abstract. Campers make decisions based on abstracts, if they don't know who you are, so make sure that you represent your session well. You’re allowed to make modifications, but please do not change the Title/Topic as it’s what our campers have come to expect.
For your travel planning needs, the address of the Kalahari is
Kalahari Resort Wisconsin
1305 Kalahari Drive
Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin 53965
has driving directions from most of the major local starting points. The conference is held in the convention center which happens to be between the two major parts of the resort. You really can’t miss it, and we will have a few signs outside as well.
If you have not booked a room, please do so ASAP. This is one big waterpark in the height of the summer months, and you do not want to have to stay elsewhere. Jingle them up at ||HotelPhoneNumberReservations|| and reference "||RoomBlockCodeCampCounselors||" for our discount and make sure to let them know you are a speaker.
Planes, Trains and Automobiles. If you’re flying, we always suggest first class. There are three different airports you can choose from:
Should I fly to MKE and take a puddle-jumper over to MSN? We don't recommend it, as it might take you longer to deal with the layover rather than jumping in a car and driving up to the Kalahari. Is there a shuttle from the airports? Unfortunately, no, but you might try jumping on Slack and seeing if anyone is interested in ridesharing.
By the time you get to the Kalahari, you should have verified the time and location of your session. When you get in, please double check. There will always be small adjustments to the schedule (last minute changes happen). When you register, why not stop by the room you'll be speaking in to get familiar with it? Every room should have:
Sessions are 60 minutes long with 30 minutes between sessions. We expect your audience will be hungry for more. As you might know, a portion of our conference is dedicated to Open Spaces. Our Open Spaces are 8k sqft in the middle of the convention center. It’s moderated and all of those sessions make it onto the schedule. This is a great place to continue your conversation with everyone. Each year we add almost 100 additional sessions to the main schedule and they are generally quite well attended.
As for slide deck templates, we don't have a common one you need to use. Please be creative and unique. We are, however, asking that you include a few sponsor slides and use the THAT Conference logo (we've posted the slides at GitHub in PowerPoint and Keynote format):
When you get into town stop down at the registration desk. It will be located in the main drag of the new conference center space. Early registration and our Meet and Greet start at 6pm on Monday. This year we’ll see over 1000 campers of all ages show up at our campsite. We’re expecting that our queuing theory algorithms probably aren't completely optimized, so there might be a line. But guess what? Please don’t wait in the attendee line. We have a special line for you so just come to the front and introduce yourself.
Please make sure to quickly register when you get in so we can account for everyone. Also if we can help you in any way, please give us a ring at 1-347-MSG-THAT (674-8428). That number will reach our entire staff.
The dedicated Speaker Room will be the Ebony room. Ebony is between the existing and new convention center space. Counselors can use this facility to power up devices, get ready for their sessions, chat with other speakers, and so on. To preserve your peace, we are not publicizing the Speaker Room, nor is it listed on the map. This room also happens to adjoin the staff’s room just in case you have any questions from us.
We don't yet have an official online gathering place for you to share content with THAT Conference campers, but we do want to encourage you to make your material available offline. Slideshare, github repos, carved in stone at Starved Rock National Park, wherever is convenient for you and accessible to the people you want to reach. Also make sure your attendees leave with your contact info. Them's some lifelong camping contacts you've got right there, and you never know when in the future you'll need a patch for your raft.
THAT Conference is a not-for-profit organization to keep attendance prices low for the community. While we are unable to offer compensation and travel expenses for our speakers, we are happy to announce that we are able to comp two nights per accepted session (max of three nights per family) at the Kalahari for our cherished speakers (upgrades would be on the speaker, of course). Make sure as soon as you register for your speaker ticket that you also book your room (see the section "The Campsite" above for details), as the rooms always fill up for our dates. Thank you again for being our guest and speaking to your community!
Our goal is to create the best technology events you’ve ever experienced. We are committed to diversity and will not stand for harrassment of any kind, but we cannot do this alone. We need your help and support in our mission. Everyone is expect to abide by our code of conduct, and if you witness something please tell one of our staff members, so we have an opportunity to address it.