So, last wednesday I wrote an email to everyone who attended Ersatz last year, inviting everybody to attend a collaborative planning session the next day. The idea was to just do something quick online instead of dragging our feet by having to schedule meetings and so on and so forth.
We ended up co-authoring a Google Doc file with ideas for speakers, sessions and activities. In the end it both worked better than I ever expected and a little less than I had hoped.
It worked way better than I expected because of the rich flow of suggestions we had during thursday. Around 25 people contributed edits to the document during the day, suggesting a diverse range of topics we now need to collate into some meaningful - but that's a fun task. My favorite part of that was suggesting almost none of the topics myself.
There was a lot going on in that document at times during the morning.
It worked less well than I had hoped, because we ended up having a lot of the fun stuff done, not the boring stuff, of making sure we have a venue and so on. For fixing real practical problems you just can't beat picking up the phone and just doing it.
It's probably unfair to expect to be able to de-labor setting up another event using google docs.
But Ersatz is going to happen. It will be in June. It will be about a lot of different things.