May 24, 2011

Madness Indeed

By Carl Smith

Ladies and gentlemen, we’ve crowned our new Happy Webbie, Remy Sharp, which means that Webbie Madness is officially over. It was fun and it couldn’t have happened without you.

To those of you who were nominated to be Webbies, you guys are awesome. Your contributions are changing the way we do things in the digital world. You deserve recognition for inspiring all of us.

Voters, your support made this madness real. You showed us that the people who have the biggest impact aren’t always the familiar names. While we did have some popular people nominated, it wasn’t a popularity contest. No disrespect to Radu Chelariu (aka Captain Ahab), but he was an unlikely finalist, to say the least.

So, why did we do this?

Fame and fortune of course. Okay, not really.

The whole point of Webbie Madness was to discover the Cinderellas in the industry who have really made some cool things happen. Together, we did that.

We had a blast from start to finish. (Well mostly; there were a few bumps in there.) But it’s not every day you get to start a conversation with your industry. Especially one that leads to thousands honoring 64 spotlights of interweb awesomeness.

Buckets of sweat

Running a contest like Webbie Madness was fun, but it was also challenging. We spent more than 200 hours managing the contest. This included the obvious stuff like building the site (it was all automated) and the stuff you might not expect, like responding to hundreds of Twitter messages.

Word to the wise: If you ever decide to throw a contest, play it out in your mind from beginning to end before you start. Thinking through how you’re gonna manage it, communicate and be fair will save your sanity. Trust us. Seriously.

Lessons learned

We had a fantastic time putting this thing together and we learned a lot. Some of the more painful lessons included things such as:

  • No matter how constricted your budget, QA is the most important step. You and everyone else will suffer if it’s not done right.
  • Clear, easy directions are a must. Expect to clarify even the simplest of ideas. Some things are always lost in translation. (P.S. — it’s also important to be able to get in touch with contestants via something other than Twitter handles. Duly noted.)
  • Even one tweet can morph into spam if it’s retweeted enough.
  • Compassion, creativity, and brevity will take you a lot farther than apologies.

We also realized two things as the contest wound to a close…

  • It’s always going to take twice as long to accomplish the idea you have brewing.
  • Whenever you do something different you will piss a few people off. That’s a fact. You have to embrace the 99% of people who supported the idea. People are going to see things however they want. So while someone wishes for your dog to have a severe case of diarrhea that will ruin your carpet, keep a smile on your face. It’s a sign you’re doing things right.

Yeah, it was worth it

Over the last few weeks, we’ve met a lot of crazy talented folks who keep reinventing themselves. Even though they are successful they keep pushing to be better. Being able to see that drive and watch how it excites our industry was pretty damned cool.

So what is your takeaway from Webbie Madness? Go on, tell us the raw truth, we can take it.

Comments

There were no comments.

Post a Comment

commenting is disabled.