Last year finally brought to a close my three-year journey as an Euruko organiser. Euruko Helsinki took place at last, in-person, on the 13th and 14th of October 2022. 640 wonderful Rubyists from all over Europe and beyond descended on Helsinki, and we managed to have a wonderful in-person Euruko for the first time since 2019. Plus, another 200 or so joined the conference remotely.
Many people might not realise just how weird Euruko is on the conference circuit.
- The organisers change completely every year. This means that there is very little institutional knowledge about organising the event. Every organiser ends up having to make their own decisions about everything from ticket and sponsorship pricing to venues to finances and taxation.
- The country changes. I’m perfectly happy to lend a hand to the organisers of next year’s Euruko in Vilnius, but I have no knowledge whatsoever about venues, laws, or vendors in Lithuania, so my experience from Euruko 2022 will be of limited use. We help where we can, of course, but we have our own events to plan too.
I’m aware of no other event that operates like this, certainly not at this scale. Setting up an event for 500–700 people is a lot of work and involves a lot of moving pieces. Depending on your ticket prices and sponsorship sales, there’s quite a lot of money at stake. For example, the venue and catering alone cost us north of €80K.
As far as ticket and sponsorship sales go, we were able to take advantage of some pent-up demand in the community, so there wasn’t any doubt that the conference would be financially viable. At least not after we’d cleared the hurdle of the 2020 postponement and the 2021 remote-only conference. Even so, 1–2 months out from the conference, it looked like the event wouldn’t sell out. It did in the end, but much closer to the event dates than we would have liked. One of the biggest favours you can do for an event organiser is to buy your ticket as early as possible.
Euruko 2022 was run with an extremely lean organisation with most of the work going to me and Simo Virtanen with assistance from other volunteers as needed. For example, we had a small team of people for talk proposal reviews and a handful of volunteers for the conference days. It would have been a smart move to recruit volunteers earlier and to get them more involved sooner in order to offload some of the workload from my shoulders.
In the end, the event ran just about as well as I could have hoped, and the feedback from participants was overwhelmingly positive. I’m happy we had the chance to bring so many Rubyists together in Helsinki, but I’m not in a rush to organise another event of the same scale again. 😅
PS. I intended to write this blog post a month or two after Euruko 2022 but, as I often do with blogging, I procrastinated. Better late than never, I suppose.
PPS. If you liked Euruko 2022, have a look at our next conference, Oh the Humanity!
Related post: Picking the worst year to pitch for Euruko