During the summer of 2019 I started developing a set of events that would promote the Austin Events 2020 wall calendar. It was called the “Secret Unpublished Event Series“.
Here’s the list of events I created. Follow the links to read posts about individual events.
- I Made An Extra Cup Of Coffee. Who Wants It?
- Who’s Your Height?
- How Many Extension Cords Can We Put Together?
- Coozie Turn-In Program
- Did you know? Ancient Austin Pyramids
- Anything-But-Drums Circle (Drums, OK, Too)
- Count To 1000
- I Made a Technological Time Machine
- Let’s Chew Some Gum, Y’all
- I Got A Bag Of Wigs. Let’s Wear Them
- Show Up And Get An Award
- Giant Cornhole
(If you’re curious to see what didn’t make the cut, click here.)
The hope was that lots of people would talk about it, only a manageable few would attend, and I would get some promotion for the calendar while doing the sort of work that I love to do.
Many of Godin’s quotes spoke to me, but these really stuck out:
“The rational plan isn’t what creates energy or magic or memories.”
“People like us do things like this.” – This is the response you want your market to have when they see what you are offering.
I eventually concluded on making events that:
- Had a funny high-concept that people would talk about.
- Were absurd.
- Would be easy to do.
- Would be fun. (for my “tribe”, as Godin puts it)
I wanted to appeal to the quirkier, weirder parts of Austin. This was going to have a distinctive homemade lo-fi look and feel. Like something goofy you and your friends might do in your backyard or a nearby park.
Like I said, I didn’t want many people to show up. The budget was non-existant and I didn’t have the people or bandwidth to do the work. I wanted people to talk about these events more than attend them. I think the absurd nature of them combined by a lo-fi aesthetic would make people question if they were even real. Only the people who really wanted these to be real would show up.
I developed a checklist to know if an event idea was a fit. I started developing language and tone to talk about the events. I made lists of the artifacts I would need to promote and hold these events, as well as the types of volunteers that would be needed. I had to figure out the channels I would promote the events and their strengths and limitations. As usual, there were many spreadsheets.
I made elaborate art and video and storylines that lasted across multiple email newsletters. This was a huge endeavor and definitely overkill, but it gave me the opportunity to experiment and learn everything from Final Cut to how to make a giant cornhole game as big as an efficiency apartment, to what it takes to plan a multi-week event series in the middle of the busiest time of year for your company.
It was clear almost immediately that #3 wasn’t going to happen, so I focused on the other ones. Perhaps not the best strategy. Find out more about the development and results of each event using the links at the top of this post.
If you’re reading this post, then it’s already too late to participate in the events. However you can still find lots of curious events and activities on my weird Austin list, immersive Austin list, and unique Austin list.