At MEDC this year, we decided to do something new and create a real-time Speaker Evaluation scoreboard that extracts evals from the COMMNET system and creates a Top 30 speaker/sessions list for all the speakers to watch in their speaker room.

The scoreboard shows the speaker's current rank, name, session code, a trend graph (graph plotted from previous evaluation), number of evals submitted, score and a delta score (eg. positive or negative).

Right at the bottom of the screen, there are verbatim comments that attendees submitted for speakers, both good and bad. The bad sometimes can be REALLY brutal. Some comments were.

  • Painful
  • Obviously Hungover
  • This is a trainwreck session
  • Monotonous
  • etc. you get the picture.

There are a lot of good comments too like:

  • This is why I spend my time and money to come to MEDC. Great Session
  • <speaker> should give all sessions in MEDC!=
  • Can I get <speaker> to come to my company to convince my CEO...
  • Best session of the show
  • Marry me!

Naturally we didn't know what the response from the speakers were but at the end of the show, the screen attracted a lot of attention and discussion. Most important of all, to me, it made all the speakers come together and chat and socialize amongst themselves. Something that is pretty hard to do when you have a large number of speakers who come and go.

We also toyed around with the idea to release this scoreboard LIVE on the net, but held back in the end for fear of speaker DSAT.  Those of you who are clever might have realized that the scoreboard was live all the time and you could have reached it if you knew the URL. Maybe you can let me know if we should expose this live to the world as the event is going on. What do you think the impact will be? Would the speakers like it?

I'm all for it as that raises the level of quality a little higher because of the added pressure. I'm not sure if this was the cause, but the scores were phenomenal. We have over 40 sessions that were rated at 8.0 and above, with the highest score (as of yesterday evening. We are tabulating the final scores only after 10am the next day, so this isn't final yet. I will post final scores soon), Steve Riley is holding the top spot at 8.80. Simply AMAZING. The top 10 scores were points apart from 8.50, to 8.48 to 8.47 to 8.46. The scores were so close, one eval would have changed the ranking.

As of yesterday, we surpassed our conference overall goal of 7.5 by achieving an overall score of 7.53. Yay, I get to keep my job.

A heartfelt thank you to all our attendees and speakers who made this event possible.