The Texas Tribune Festival (Sept 24 & 25, 2011 in Austin, Texas)
The Texas Tribune Festival brings together the state’s most prominent thinkers, politicians and public servants for a weekend of debate, discussion and dialogue on the subjects that matter most to all Texans.
There were four program tracks:
- Energy & Environment
- Race & Immigration
- Public & Higher Education
- Health & Human Services
It took place on the University of Texas campus across 7 different venues (organized by track + 3 additional buildings for keynotes or screenings).
We even got to see the UT mascot, Bevo the Longhorn.
These are the sessions I attended. I planned on attending mostly higher ed stuff but ended up enjoying "Can Texas Cure Cancer" and "Population Change and Immigration in the United States" the most. Two interesting quotes from those:
"if we did zero addtl medical research we could save 60% of people w cancer if we just give them access to what we know works" - Doug Ulman
"As of 2010, about 1 of every 10 persons born in Mexico lives in the United States." - Steve Murdock
A natural gas company teamed up with Chevy to sponsor Chevy Volts that took you from venue to venue across the University of Texas campus. A welcome alternative to walking in the hot Texas sun.
They carried the color classification of their 4 tracks across all materials. Here you can see the track names in blocks of color just like on their Sched.org site.
Instead of printing up separate signs for each day of sessions, each sign outside the panel rooms included both Saturday and Sunday's panels.
The attention to detail was impressive. These helped guide the way down longer halls so you wouldn't get lost.
Inside their print guide, on pages 2-3 they basically included a version of their Sched.org.
Download: Print Program (PDF)
This worked especially well because each track was always in it's own building, as noted in the bottom right of that page (ex: Health & Human Services: Jessen Auditorium).
After the Sched.org overview look on pages 2-3, the following pages were similar to our expanded view including photos & bios of the speakers on each panel.
Not a single panel had a description. They relied on the session title and the credentials of the speakers to convey all necessary info.
This makes sense. I want to go see people I respect (or employees of organizations I respect) speak about almost anything. If you really wanted to meet a state senator that was speaking, would it matter what he was speaking on?
This attendee was so excited about seeing Steven Farr, the Chief Knowledge Office for Teach For America that she circled it with a highlighter to make sure she didn't miss it.
They printed hashtags on every single page of the printed guide (#tribunefest and then the associated track tag like #tfedu for education panels). It generated a lot of tweets.
They also live blogged every single session! For example, here's the Race & Immigration track liveblog.
Getting to a session early was the perfect time to check out the schedule and see what's upcoming.
During slow points, sometimes people would flip through the schedule to see what else is going on or read speaker bios to get more background on the discussion.
Their Sched.org site on the iPad.
I have the Wifi only iPad but there was no open Wifi network. Actually you could go to the front desk to request a UT guest login but I never made time to do so.
I simply enabled the wifi sharing from my iPhone and it worked pretty well but would sometimes lose connection.
Using the mobile site on the iPad was really enjoyable as well. Everything being oversized and a single column made it feel more fun than browsing a schedule should be.
When bookmarked to the home screen, the mobile web app takes up the full screen (versus just being a tab in Mobile Safari).
I could easily see that Kaitlyn wanted to see "Can Texas Cure Cancer" because of her icon attached to the session.
I usually only go to tech, music, or event professional conferences so this was an enjoyable deviation. I wasn't well informed about any of the panel topics so there was plenty to learn.
The branding of the event was one of the best I've ever seen. From the web/mobile/print versions to the signage and shuttles, it was very well run.
— Taylor McKnight
Photographs by Kaitlyn Reed.