My Post AWESOME Review

My Post AWESOME Review

Written by Emily Freeman

This entire project was a bit of a surprise. It was (what I thought would be) a silly idea to get a few folks to share something they're passionate about or something they've learned. 

It turned into something much bigger. 

I actually didn't really tell anyone I was doing this. (My colleagues at Kickbox thought this was something I was just helping with until a week into January.) Because I was sure it would fail. Obviously. It was a silly idea. 

I just did what so many of us do. I had an idea and I bought the domain — adding just another to the dozens of domains I own for those projects I'll eventually get to. 

Then I tweeted it. Because... duh. Who else do I share my shitty ideas with but all of you?

And then something amazing happened. People liked my idea! Which left me looking like...

I received 48 responses to the CFP. And they were all AMAZING. I don't know how conference organizers choose speakers. I'm incredibly grateful to each of you who submitted phenomenal article ideas. 

A Lil' Retro

To close out JavaScript January, I want do a retro of sorts. Or a PAR — Post AWESOME Review. (Go on, spread that one around. It's good.)

Here are the things I've learned in running this whole shindig and some analytics for anyone interested. (Where my data scientists at?!) 

Lessons Learned

1. Plan for cancellations and no-shows.

I expected 1-2 cancellations. I woefully underestimated that. All-in-all, I had 8 authors bail. Only one wrote me ahead of time to let me know he had to cancel. Many didn't even respond to me when I reached out. 

I spent much of the month chasing down authors and finding replacements. It was exhausting. But I love you and this is what I do for the people I care about — I chase other people for them. 

2. Give yourself a TON of leeway in deadlines.

I asked folks to have their articles to their editors 5 days before the publish date and to me 2 days prior. 


Nope. Go ahead and nope on out of there. It's just not enough time.

I think next year I'm going to aim for articles to be delivered to the editors 7-10 days ahead of the scheduled publish date. 

First, people are habitually late. I've also annoyed other people I care about because I'm busy. We're all busy. Second, god help you if you want to spend Friday night with a boy you like and didn't get the article for Saturday until 5 p.m.

You know what's not sexy? Formatting markdown.

3. Rope in your friends. 

This project would have FAILED without folks like Alan Smith, Matt Rogers, Jessica West, Lovisa Svallingson, Will Faurot, Tierney Cyren and others. These angels of human beings stepped up to provide replacement articles, edit in a pinch, promote JavaScript January and keep my head on straight. 

4. Invite newbies to contribute.

Some of the best articles this month were written by folks new to the industry. This isn't just my opinion. It's reflected in the number of visitors.

Unsurprisingly, I care about diversity. I wanted a diverse group of folks from a variety of backgrounds and education to share their unique perspective on JavaScript. Here are my incredibly rough and thoroughly unscientific estimates on author diversity.

TL;DR — I can do better. 



5. Schedule a vacation. 

Seriously. I'm tired. This project was absolutely AMAZING and I feel blessed to have been able to convince y'all into writing, reading and promoting these articles. 

But it was WAY more work than I expected. Like software, community management and developer relations is hard to plan for. You can t-shirt size it in sprint planning and then you better 3x the expected time commitment. Too many nights and weekends has left me depleted and I need some time away from Twitter. (Just kidding. We know that's not gonna happen.)

If you take on anything like this — a conference, a meetup, a big project at work — schedule time after to recover. And if your boss doesn't like it, send him or her my way and I'll get on my soapbox about burnout. 

For My Data Nerds

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The contributors to JavaScript January are passionate engineers, designers and teachers. Emily Freeman is a developer advocate at Kickbox and curates the articles for JavaScript January.