TLDR: API Days is an international conference focused on the API landscape, and they are celebrating their 10th anniversary in 2022. They hold events around the globe and this particular event was held in NYC. Twilio has sponsored API Days in the past and Jeff Lawson has been a past speaker!
Each location has a different tagline, this one was, “Beyond API Regulations for Finance, Insurance, and Healthcare”. What does the tagline mean? As large organizations are shifting to API-driven models, regulations present challenges to companies in these industries. So, this event was to educate and bring awareness to people within these organizations. Due to the nature of the topic, many attendees came from business/finance backgrounds and were just getting started with APIs.
The majority of the attendees had never heard of Twilio and many were just learning about APIs, so it was a great opportunity to showcase our platform and drive Twilio awareness.
Over the two-day period, there were over 80 speakers. It was my first time attending a Twilio-sponsored conference, and my first time giving a Twilio demo as well as a workshop. In addition, I was able to drive awareness to my first technical blog, incorporated as part of the demo. Big shout out to Alina Rakhmatoullina, Lizzie Siegle, and Sam Agnew for supporting me at my first event! You can view the workshop and talk on Youtube.
|Event Name:||API Days NYC 2022|
|Event Date:||July 27 & 28, 2022|
|Who Attended:||Anthony Dellavecchia, Alina Rakhmatoullina, Lizzie Siegle, Sam Agnew|
|No of Attendees:||500+ onsite, 1500+ online|
|Location:||New York City|
|Level:||Gold - Booth with two tables and TV monitor. Included a spot for a 45-minute workshop and a 25-minute talk on the main stage. Both of which were recorded.|
|Give a Relevant Talk about APIs, While Bringing Awareness to Twilio||KNOW||Give a 25-minute talk about gaining trust in APIs. An intro to security and compliance.||100+ attendees (in-person and online)||Give a presentation about a broad yet relevant topic, and mention Twilio a few times for awareness.|
|Teach Developers Inbound and Outbound SMS||KNOW||Give a 45-minute workshop demoing how to build a sample app.||20+ attendees (in-person and online)||Live-code an NBA app in front of a developer audience.|
|Drive Awareness of Twilio||KNOW||Introduce visitors of our booth to Twilio by doing.||100+ booth visitors. 20+ 5MD||Instead of “saying” what Twilio is, “show” it. Perform 5 minute demos to booth visitors.|
|Drive Awareness of Twilio Quest||KNOW||Introduce visitors of our booth to TwilioQuest by playing.||30+ people played or asked about TwilioQuest||Play TwilioQuest at the booth monitor.|
- First conference I’ve done at Twilio! Also my first talk on the main stage!
- Tons of team support! Thanks again to Alina, Lizzie, and Sam for supporting me and helping me ease into my first conference. I was really nervous before & during my presentations, but each time I looked at my team, I felt so much better.
- I liked that both the talk and workshop were recorded. It gives me something to rewatch so I can improve for future events.
- Writing my first technical blog as part of the talk allows us to increase our content promo live
- We attended a roundtable discussion for Women in APIs and we had great discussions.
- In-person attendance was less than anticipated. There wasn’t a lot of booth traffic, especially after the first day. This was a hybrid event and the virtual tickets were free, so that may have contributed to the drop in attendance.
- This was my first time attending a conference on behalf of Twilio and for some reason I thought it would be a good idea to give a 25-talk as well as a 45-workshop. Big mistake! It was doable but I wouldn’t recommend doing this, especially as a first event. This is a !worked because it takes a lot of preparation and may give you a few gray hairs.
- This was the first time I’ve seen the booth kit and I don’t think I could have set it up myself. Luckily, Alina, Lizzie, and Sam were there to help. It would have been nice to have pictured instructions for setup and teardown, so new evangelists don’t struggle if they’re alone.
- To my surprise, many people were asking for business cards so that they could research Twilio later on. We didn’t have any handouts or cards to give out, so it was awkward to just say “check out twilio.com”. It would be nice to have some physical papers/cards to give away.
- No “be right back sign”! Booths last all day and sometimes we need to step away for a bit. It would be nice to have a laminated sign that we can put up whenever we are taking a break. We made our own sign, but it didn’t look professional due to lack of materials (we can’t project this from our laptop because it wouldn’t be wise to leave our laptops alone at the booth).
- Swag went quick. It was a mistake to just give out high-quality swag like candy. In the future we’ll only give out high-quality swag for “loyal” customers or those that participate in booth activities.
- Workshop hiccups! It’s a rite of passage to have something go wrong during a workshop and it happened to me. At first, I couldn’t figure out the issue because it wasn’t code related. Turned out to be a workspace issue, but thankfully we were able to figure it out. Having Sam support me through this was really helpful!
- Lack of follow-ups. Some attendees really had specific technical questions that were tough to answer. I wish we had some contacts so that we could connect our customers in a timely manner.
- Pre-event communication. For some reason, I had over 45 back-and-forth emails with the organizers. It was a lot to handle and was sometimes tiresome.
- For the first few hours at the booth, I kept noticing people asking “what is Twilio”. I would give an answer but sometimes felt like they didn’t really understand what communication APIs are. So, I decided to quickly write some code and display it on our monitor. Then, when someone asked “what is Twilio”, I would go over to the monitor and actually show them what we can do with SMS. This was much better than giving them a canned answer because they got to see the code and interact with our SMS service.
- Quite a lot of people were interested in TwilioQuest when they saw it on our monitor. Not many people played it, but many of them were interested in it and asked how they could play it from home. But I did notice something… When TwilioQuest was showing a mission from the trainer/academy, it didn’t draw much attention. But whenever I was in a world with greenery or beautiful backgrounds, people were interested. Someone came up and said “wow this looks a lot better than the other game”. Maybe the trainer needs a facelift?