This is primarily directed at members of the Farcaster Community with questions about FarCon 2023 and will be converted to a “Lessons Learned about Planning an Unconference” essay at a later date. Check out the Farcaster Feed if you’re curious about it.
FarCon 2023 (The Beta)
We hear you.
We’re working on quickly relaunching FarCon as something that a critical mass of excited folks will get a ton of value from.
Thanks for all of the feedback yesterday. It was super helpful.
From our read of the replies and a ton of additional side conversations, we identified these as being the most important friction points for FarCon.
Are my friends going?
Nobody actually said the last one, but reading between the lines with some founder intuition we believe this also to be an issue.
To level set, FarCon is like a startup. It’s a handful of people committing time and money to start something lastingly valuable for the Farcaster community. It’s likely not going to be as polished as an established conference and that’s what makes it fun.
We’re learning as we go and doing so in public so others have less challenges organizing Farcaster events in the future.
We truly appreciate your support and encouragement as we work through the friction.
So in this spirit, for the next iteration we’re testing the Ticket Price hypothesis.
Here is the quick overview of what that looks like
We’re relaunching FarCon Ticket Sales on Friday, April 21st at 1PM EST at 0.01 ETH per ticket.
We’ve already financially committed to a venue so FarCon 2023 (The Beta) will be held from 9AM EST June 10 to 12PM June 11th in Boston, Massachusetts.
If we can get Sponsors, we’ll pay for food.
If we can get enough Sponsors, we’ll pay for some far away Casters to come.
The agenda is being co-created with Farcasters even as you read this and we’re openly trying to balance speed to market with a useful product. It will consist of a few formal talks (working on nailing down who), at least two short hackathon type sessions focused on refining future FarCons and prototyping Farcaster level problems like scaling network quality, and as much Farcaster led conversations about their earned secrets, the startups they’re building, and their domains of expertise that we can possibly fit into one weekend.
You CAN absolutely participate without actively leading something, yet we believe you’ll get a lot more out of the experience if you do.
For detailed info about the agenda, goals, the reasoning behind the original price, and other thoughts please keep read the full blog post!
Why do FarCon in the first place?
To proliferate the Farcaster protocol (and the vibes therein).
Early communities are fragile and need tending, care, and support. Opportunities to commune and align values are a crucial part of that. Also irl bonding cements digital friendships.
Grin and I met last year, had a few conversations, and both generally read the same late 2022 vibes on Farcaster that people wanted to meet up, but nobody was actively pushing to make something more focused than a normal meetup happen. We started seriously talking about it January, had a series of conversations with prominent Farcasters to test their willingness to come, got positive signals all around, and attempted to schedule it soon after.
Getting a not terrible event space on a summer weekend wasn’t as easy as we initially thought, but after the largely praised ETHDenver FC meetup we saw tons of people expressed dismay at their being unable to attend the meetup.
That further signal led to a burst of effort to nail a venue, a date, sketch out a plan, and launch the ticket sales so people could start planning.
Despite the issues around the mint (shoutout to Jayme and whoever pattymalibu.eth is for minting at the original price), we still see a ton of organic energy for FarCon to still happen - as evidenced by all these posts - and think that (with your help) we can iterate our way to something special.
What’s the Agenda?
In full transparency, we can’t give you a final schedule right now because we don’t know who we’ll be able to pay to speak, who can rearrange their schedule to make it, and who is willing to share their time with the Farcaster community.
We CAN say there will be at least 12 hours of high quality organized activity.
It will start on June 10th at 9 AM EST and last until June 11th at noon.
There will be a small group hackathon-like session to refine the mission of the current and future FarCons.
There will also be a similar session to hack away (technically and non-technically) at Farcaster level problems like scaling the quality of the network, better onboarding for new users, and how to increase the quantity of “Caster helps Caster” situations.
For those interested, we will organize a dedicated coffee chat style conversation matchmaking portion to spur connection - and if there’s enough interest we’ll do it speed dating style.
There will also be a variety of medium and small talks, product demos from Farcaster founders, and topic discussion sessions that will be entirely driven by the attendee makeup and demand.
We’ll circulate topics for attendees once confirmed to indicate their interest and dial it in from there.
Examples of potential sessions include a technical dive into building decentralized content marketplaces by LBRY Founder and protocol architect Grin, a longitudinal study of Farcaster memes over time by Cameron, and things to avoid while planning your own FarCon (by the FarCon team).
We’re focused on facilitating live sessions, but will also have a few thoughtful virtual sessions from folks that want to make it, but can’t (like Cassie).
If you want to give a talk, run a small group session, or have an idea for an event - please DM me. We will work to accommodate every inquiry.
Why so Expensive?
We have big dreams and no money 🤷♂️
Here’s a per ticket breakdown of our original pre-sale definitely not napkin math
$100 - Scholarships to attend FarCon - We know some of the best builders on Farcaster aren’t able to afford the trip. This allocation would’ve let us bring 10 of them.
$80 - Activity Funding - Grin and I can’t call up our connections at a16z or wherever because… we don’t have any. We’re both outsiders (in our own way) and in order to get quality people to speak at/participate/make their way at FarCon, we have to pay for it somehow (if you have a connection DM me)
$70 - Venue cost - Booking a two day event in an urban area usually costs about $50 to $150. Our space works out to about $70 a person and it’s sick.
$50 - Catering - We planned on feeding y’all Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, and Breakfast
$25 - Incidentals - Extra costs always pop up at events like this
$25 - Crypto Price Risk - ETH was $1100 in December. It is now $2K. Two months from now? Who knows 😂
From the start we have been planning on either returning excess funds to conference goers or donating anything leftover to Purple, pending a conference attendee vote.
We’re adopting a different, more accessible pricing strategy now, which I’ll get into below.
The short version though is that the mint is now 0.01 ETH and we have some incredible volunteers (namely J4ck and Dawufi) that are helping us solve for funding with sponsorships.
Right now we’re aiming to get 3-5 sponsors at $2-3K each.
DM me if you’d like to be the brand that made FarCon succeed
Why Didn’t Purple Pay for FarCon?
Working on something here, but also the treasury is only 37 ETH (and they’re about to spend 5 ETH on Prop Round 2).
We don’t want to ask too much of the DAO before it gets its legs underneath itself.
DM me if you can help write the Prop.
Grin and I live in Boston and we felt (and still feel) that we couldn’t plan a truly top notch event in another city.
I’m building SayMore full time and Grin is still fighting for crypto against the SEC (and also looking for a new job). Others on Farcaster may be able to do remote planning in another city better than us (and we fully support any of their efforts), but we figured someone had to take the inevitable L’s on the chin to get this thing going.
We’ve also already financially committed to an awesome venue in Boston.
So here we are.
Speed to market, venue scheduling challenges, and so we don’t siphon any energy away later in the year from other organizers managing Farcaster-related satellite conference events in other cities.
Why is the Ticket Art so Awesome?
Thanks for asking! Because Farcaster’s very own artist extraordinaire 0xen designed the tickets for free to support FarCon and the community 🔥
-None of this precludes any other efforts to create and run Farcaster related events. We WANT more FarCons and Meetups and Hackathons. While we already claimed the FarCon handle, we’re working through ways to make it a public good - likely through Purple stewardship.
-We know some people may not be keen on Sponsorships, but we clearly aren’t going to raise the funds through ticket sales alone. Please also know that sponsorships don’t just fall into your lap. Any closed sponsorship deal likely involves hours of prospecting, conversations, and negotiation and I’m already grateful to J4ck and Dawufi for leaning into this part of FarCon.
-The success of FarCon helps future organizers worry less about if organizing a meetup is a waste of their time. Any contribution you can give is meaningful.
-Whiffing in public in front of a community of people who’s opinion you care about isn’t very fun, but one of the most incredible things about Farcaster is the sheer number of builders making asymmetric bets and getting punched in the face for their trouble.
I hope that launching (and relaunching) FarCon transparently helps other builders in the ecosystem work through their own problem sets better and sets the conditions for a decentralized, permissionless, and composable extension of FarCon in the future.
We’re relaunching FarCon Ticket Sales on Friday, 21 April at 1PM EST at 0.01 ETH per ticket.
Folks that already paid will get refunded the difference (thanks again for the support Jayme and PattyMalibu).
If we can get any Sponsors, we’ll pay for some food after we pay for the venue.
If we can get enough Sponsors, we’ll pay for some far away Casters to attend.
DM me if you can help with Sponsorships
If we mint out, Sponsors will come.
If not, we’ll still have an excellent time
I hope this added value to your day.
Please share this with someone who might find this interesting!
If you have any thoughts or questions about this essay - Let’s Chat
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Will this be online to watch? I cannot go to Boston or Id volunteer. But I love attending these in VR and watch them online. I may have zero talent to create but as a collector I love to hear what creators are bringing to the future