Oh what crazy times we are in.
Earlier this week we cancelled our first conference (TestBash Detroit) due to coronavirus impact..
Then today we announced the decision to cancel TestBash Brighton. This one is a specifically hard one for the team. It is our biggest and longest running conference.
We have another conference in May in the Netherlands that is at risk too. 3rd time unlucky perhaps. 😭
The financial impacts are pretty devastating. The stress on the team is super hard too. Turns out it takes a lot of effort to cancel a conference that is due to happen in 2 weeks.
We remain optimistic for the future. We have a strong and supportive community behind us.
We're pretty well placed to do more stuff online, we've meant to do that for a long time, but we've often drowned in event organising.
Now we have no choice but to push that to happen quicker.
I discovered that we have a Wikipedia page for our company and it was most definitely not created by me.
It's cool to see how people have tried to describe us objectively. I also got a lovely mention picking up on things that I would be too self conscious to mention myself. There are a few things that need updating, I'll need to have a stab at doing that!
I also note that it links back to my IH interview.
We've been having fun with LinkedIn page growth. Back in June I wrote that we had 15k followers and now we've managed to double it.
What we've been doing:
All of the above still takes significant effort, the reuse of content is key for the team as we have limited resources and everyone is a bit stretched.
LinkedIn Page - https://www.linkedin.com/company/ministry-of-testing/
I had a quick look at our life time revenue as a business and it was nice to see we crossed the £4 million total revenue - £4,375.307.25 to be precise. Our financial year begins in April.
This how it looked year by year:
We keep saying no more TestBashes (our software testing conferences), but we caved in yet again.
When we do our conferences in new locations we typically look to partner with a local and loyal enthusiast of our community.
In this case Hilary had been nagging us for years to to a TestBash in her local city. She's spent the past few years running a software testing meetup community. Has spoken and volunteered at many of our events. She is also one with a Ministry of Testing tattoo.
We are hoping there is room to continue with both Detroit and San Francisco TestBashes for the foreseeable future. Fingers crossed!
I mentioned previously we have 70 Meetup groups across the world. These are all volunteer led and supported by us.
We have a great fan base in across the world. Meetup groups vary in sizes. Brazil are big fans of ours!
But our Athens group is just nuts and mad crazy. Their last meetup had 300 people attend. That's the size of a conference!
I'll be the first to admit that I can't really remember much about what I said. And that I feel all kind of awkward and self conscious now that it is published.
I may have to go hide away for a few days.
But have a listen to how I try to explain how I focused on growing the Ministry of Testing community through being kind and putting others first. This stuff is really not measurable through traditional means.
We also talk about some aspects of the IH community and perhaps you'll understand why I'm Community Manager here and not heading up and leading Ministry of Testing anymore.
LinkedIn has done us well over the years, it can be a huge pain too, but overall for us the pain is worth it.
In the early days I started a group, this ended up driving many members to our online forum. The group still exists, at around 35k members. The discussions are not useful at all and we end up just deleting 95% of the as 'marketing spam'. Annoying.
We've been more consistent in the past year or two with our LinkedIn page. Mostly we use it the same way we use Twitter.
We currently stand at 15k followers on our LinkedIn page.
It drives traffic and engagement at the moment, not sure how long that will last, but we'll keep doing it. Anywhere between 100 - 2000 clicks on the posts.
LinkedIn page for reference: https://www.linkedin.com/company/280998/
We didn't really plan for this. We started doing meetups to connect people locally in the locations we were hosting our TestBash conferences. Then people started asking if they could run their own meetups so we supported that. The list kept growing!
Fast forward approx 3 years we now have 70 meetups across the globe!
Sometimes fans spring up from places that you don't expect.
For us, it has been from Brazil. 2, maybe 3 years ago we started MoT Meetup Groups. We really started them to accommodate meetups in locations where were holding conferences.
Fast forward to today, we have over 60 going. We get at least a couple of requests for new locations per month. It's pretty mindblowing tbh.
Here are some photos from a recent Brazil meetup. This is a meetup, not a conference! We funded the printing of the tshirts, but everything else was down to them!