After at least a year in the making, we hosted the inaugural Javascript in South Africa conference (JSinSA for short) in Johannesburg on Saturday, 2 April 2011.

The day kicked off for us around 2:30am after the rather unpleasant surprise of an Eskom power failure the night before.
Nothing quite like near-zero sleep prior to a conference, particularly when I couldn't exactly sleep in the backrow the whole day.
Anyway ... final preparations (like my own presentations!) out the way, we headed off to the venue at 6am to setup.

want to see the session slides, demos, videos?

I spent a lot of time thinking about how to layout the conference room itself and in particularly, how to setup the desks for each of the attendees. So often I think this part is overlooked by the big bad conference organisers, and I reckon it turned out OK.

Instead of giving out conference bags, I rather put effort and budget into the goodies we gave away. This is what we decided on as the 'welcome pack' for each attendee:
- hand written welcome note - don't all conferences do this? :-)
- 'Nerd' sweets
- NAG magazine
- stress balls
- JSinSA branded coffee cup
- JSinSA branded USB coffee cup warmer
- Planning poker cards, thanks to Driven Software
- venue pen and notepad

We made the registration process as painless as possible and just asked for everyone's name, so we could add them to the prize draw at the end of the day. On registration, each attendee got their welcome note and a pack of 'Nerds'. The rest of their welcome pack was set out in the conference room.

The conference started a couple minutes late with a pre-recorded welcome message from Scott Hanselman and Rey Bango, much to everyone's enjoyment.

And after that, the conference kicked off with a keynote from Tristan Bergh and we crammed as much technical content into the next 9 hours as we possibly could.

This is how the room looked when a talk was in full swing.

Towards the end of the day, we brought out South Park cupcakes for everyone. What's a tech conference without South Park cupcakes?

We had fantastic support from local and international sponsors. I think this was the first conference I attended where the sponsors actually matched the attendees pretty accurately.

The sponsored freshly roasted coffee from Green Bean Coffee that we gave to each attendee at the end, caused a bit of a stampede, but most people made their way back into the conference room to chat after picking out their choice!
Here's the list of some of the awesome types of coffee we had at the conference.

Thank you so much to everyone that attended. I'll be doing this again, for sure, and our aim will be bigger and better, but the feel of the conference will stay the same.

Until then ...