Another guest post. This time by 4sqDay NYC Co-Planners, Will Kievit & Shannon May! Happy Birthday, Shannon! Go Gators!

It seemed like one minute I was suggesting a bar as a venue for New York’s 4sqDay Meetup and the next I was organizing the event. More and more people started to RSVP each day and I could tell that this event was going to require a lot more effort than I ever thought. Luckily I had met Shannon back at Social Media Week and she offered her help. She definitely had no idea what she was getting into.

Without further ado… here’s what didn’t work:

1. Zero Time

It is probably important to mention that neither of us are party planners; I am an IT Project Manager at GE and Shannon is a Social Media Strategist at Gray Line New York. While at first we were having trouble rounding up sponsors, things soon picked up.

Timeline of events:

  • 16 days – Will asks Shannon to help co-plan 4sqDay NYC
  • 5 days – Desperation tweets for last minute sponsors. Tasti D-Lite responds and we secure their sponsorship 2 days later.
  • 4 days – Pretzel Crisps sees our cry for help and donates 50 VIP swag bags.
  • 3 days – Still waiting on a response from 2 HUGE potential sponsors which unfortunately, never fell through.

Just as the event was closing in, we had a few more companies approach us for sponsorships; some of which were rather… unique…including a company that manufacturers icepacks.

2. Well we have sweet drink specials, but no food

With only 4 days to go, I heard some buzz about foursquare day cakes. I knew as New York City, home of the foursquare headquarters, we definitely had to have a cake, and it had to be impressive… like cake boss impressive. I reached out to Palermo’s Bakery because they make some impressive cakes and they agreed to donate a cake. They didn’t have a lot of time to go all out, but still they were able to make an iPhone 4 cake with a custom 4sq Check-in Screen.

3. Media banner printed the wrong way

1-800 Postcards graciously donated a 4X8 foot banner with the foursquare logo printed “Step and Repeat” style. Unfortunately, due to miscommunication on our part, the banner was printed landscape instead of portrait. In the end, we improvised with a little duct tape and our photographer, Krista Bedosky, made the best of it.

4. No Help

We decided to divide the work into several focus areas: Venue, Sponsorships, Promotions, Celebrities, Charity, & Proclamation. Our hope was that others would be willing to take the reigns of some of them, giving us more room to focus our energy on the bigger stuff.

Well we only ended up having one person volunteer … Leslie, our PR girl.

On the day of the event around 2pm, I was stuck in traffic in a cab and getting frantic texts/tweets from Shannon for help ASAP. I thought she might have broken her leg. But thankfully, the venue was just a wee bit unprepared when she arrived and we had to do a lot of setting up.

5. No car

Unfortunately living in NYC means relying on public transportation. Because of this, Shannon transported 5 boxes of foursquare swag, tons of party supplies, a laptop, as well as a 4X8 foot banner and banner stand on the subway from her Upper East Side apartment. It took about 8 subway rides to Union Square before she finally gave into taxis.

5. The Monsoon Outside

Mother Nature apparently is not a fan of Foursquare Day. The weather forecast was literally 100% chance of rain Saturday night which led to a few hurtles.

Due to the rain, only 30 VIP’s showed up to the VIP Bus in Times Square. Thank goodness we requested a bus with a plexiglas roof overhead. When we went to leave SideBAR to head to the “afterparty” at Village Pourhouse, rain was falling from the sky sideways. NO JOKE.

6. Transporting the 50 VIP Bags

Taking the 50 swag bags to the bus wasn’t pretty. The plan was to box the bags up at Shannon’s work on 40th Street, take a cab and head over to the bus on 53rd Street. Sounds simple, right?

What really went down was Shannon and her friend strapping as many bags as they could on their arms and walking 6 blocks in a torrential downpour. Because the bags were so heavy, they literally couldn’t lift their arms to hail a cab or hold an umbrella. 20 minutes and 3 fallen soldiers (VIP bags) later, they made it to the bus. Whew.

What Worked

Google Docs, networking on Twitter, foursquare, email blasts, and pure luck.

Check out the photos of our event here and here.

All in all, it took a lot of time and energy, but we definitely had an amazing time. We are already starting to plan out ideas for next year and anyone interested in getting involved should reach out to us at 4sqdaynyc@gmail.com.

Will Kievit & Shannon May

And here is a great video of the NYC event from Mo Krochmal and Carmina Perez!

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