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RedDotRubyConf 2013 - Wrap Up

17 JUNE 2013

It's been a few weeks since RDRC 2013. Good time to do a wrap up!

For those who have missed it, I have also written a Thank You post which contains links to speakers' slides and related resources.

RDRC 2013: The Beginning

Andy Croll broke the news to some of us last Oct that he's going back to the UK in Dec and would like to handover RedDotRubyConf to someone.

On a personal note, I really wanted to do RDRC because I would like to contribute back to the Ruby community in Singapore, as I wouldn't be who I am or where I am if not for Ruby.

After a few days of consideration, and support from Carl, I decided to volunteer myself and my colleagues also gladly offered to help out wherever they can.

With that, I roped in Abhaya, Wei, Mohan, and Carl also offered various administrative help. But by and large, this was a community event, ran by individuals who really love Ruby.

ToDo List

In December 2012, I got started.

These were the stuff that had to be done, arranged according to importance.


June 7 and 8 were picked purposefully a weekend after RubyKaigi, based on a thought that some of the speakers and audience of RubyKaigi wouldn't mind coming down to Singapore the week after.

The strategy worked.

Great Speakers

We have heard of them and seen them in vids. How cool would it be to see them in person! I was audacious and sent out emails to a number of them. 7 said yes and the rest is history. I was actually prepared to be rejected by all of them, so I am really grateful for their replies. Anyway, the big names really helped to drive the early ticket sales too.

I think I was really lucky. Next year, I hope I'll be as lucky.


RDRC required a venue that's accessible and inexpensive. There were several choices:

  • Lecture Theatres in National University of Singapore
  • NUS Alumni House / Shaw Foundation
  • RedDot Museum
  • NTUC Auditorium
  • Biopolis

Biopolis was the best option out of them all, because it's:

  • available on June 7 and 8,
  • near to the train station,
  • a really nice auditorium with great facilities,
  • inexpensive as compared to most of the other choices.

Besides, Lecture Theatres in NUS are only available to students; not even an alumni.


Sponsors were also crucial to the plan.

We reached out to companies who are proponents of the Ruby language, and we are really grateful to the companies who were able to help make this event possible.

Besides the usual cash sponsorships, we also wanted to get sponsorships that we can give directly as swag to all participants, and we did it with freebies like Ruby course and ebook.

Conference Format

The format of RDRC 2013 was kept similar to the previous years, with the addition of Lightning Talks.

Although we only had enough Lightning Talks to fit Day 1, it was a good experiment, IMO. And feedback has been pretty positive so far, so hopefully next year more local speakers will sign up for the Lightning Talk slots.

Other Logistics

The 5 todos above were the major stuff that had to happen before the rest could.

The other conference logistics consisted of:

  • Logo Design
  • Website Design and Coding
  • Ticketing
  • Marketing (Regional Ruby Groups, Emails from previous RDRCs)
  • Call For Proposals
  • Program Scheduling
  • T-shirts and Swag (Stickers, FieldNotes, Lanyards)
  • Design + Printing of Posters, Banners, Programs
  • Food and Drinks
  • After Party

To get all these done, a ton of emails were sent..

Not easy for someone who's much more used to writing in Ruby prose!


Registrants by Country

Registrants by Country

27 countries in total - with almost 50% of the audience coming from abroad.

Registrations by Month

Registrations by Month

I believe in karma. The next time I attend a conference, I'll get the tickets early!

You should too! As that helps to reduce logistical challenges and let me sleep better.

Interestingly, one of the things I did to encourage sales was to email folks who dropped off after they filled in their details but didn't complete the payment step.

Some replied, telling me that their plans changed and so they were not able to make it, while a lot actually re-registered (and paid) after the gentle reminder.


Listing the vendors who deserve a mention!


I ordered a total of 800+ bottles of mineral water and 1200+ cans of soda. That was based on my assumption that 300 pax drinks an average of 3 bottles/cans per day (* 2 days).

However, at the end of Day 2, there were still about 12-16 cartons of water and soda left. You guys are not drinking enough water!


Still collecting feedback but I already have some ideas on what can be improved next year.


I was hungry in the morning, and so were all of you. Sorry!


I received feedback that the coffee is not fantastic and I would really like to solve that. Please give me suggestions on how to make it not suck (less getting a barista).


I'll make sure to get the correct sizes and measurements up on the registration site, so that you can pick one that fits. And, female sizes too.


Thinking of doing away with the lanyard (because you have probably already discarded it).


Some say yes. Some say no. I'll see what I can do next year.


I am still a little undecided on this because I am worried that with videos, people will have less incentive for attending RDRC, knowing that videos will be available later. True?

Local Speakers

I really would like to see more local speakers. Seriously, where are you guys!


That's it. See you all next year!

Drop me an email - suggestions, compliments or criticisms. Thank you!

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