1-May-2017 (Mon)
Wherein it's time to start promoting the Cocktail Robotics Grand Challenge.

Our fourth annual Cocktail Robotics Grand Challenge is coming up on July 16th, which is about three months away, so now is the time to start promoting it to the sort of people who will enter the contest rather than just the spectators. Each year, I find that I don't really know how to do that, and then people only enter at the last minute, so up until a few days before the event I'm in a panic thinking there's going to be one little robot surrounded by an angry mob.

So I emailed the people who have entered in the past, and... that's pretty much that. Now we just wait and pray, I guess?

We will run some online ads, obviously, but it's not clear to me how much good that will do, as far as attracting contestants goes. Spectators, sure. People who actually do things, those are harder to reach.

In previous years, we haven't been able to get anyone to write about it. One or two blog-links, that's about it. This thing is awesome, what the hell!

So spam your friends with the Facebook invite, ok?

In 2014 and 2016 we had nine robots, but in 2015 we only had six, and that really felt like too few. And each year we've always had a few people drop out at the last minute, so I'm not going to stop being nervous until I've got a dozen robots signed up.

Last year we had someone canvas Maker Faire looking for and talking to people who seemed to have the proper skill set, and his report went something like: "In every one of those conversations, I could spot the exact moment when they stopped listening to me and just waited for me to stop talking so they could throw the flyer away, and that moment was when they realized it was happening in a club, at night, and not in some company's cafeteria at lunch time." So despite what your instincts may tell you, I'm pretty sure that Maker Faire is not actually our demographic.

In other news:

It's a miracle, the crops are saved! We finally got someone to look at our Espresso machines, and they're both fixed now. Like the penguin who just ate an ice cream cone, it looks like they had blown a seal.

Also, I re-did the navigation menus on the DNA and CW sites. I think it works a little better on mobile now. Let me know if you notice it screwing up.

Recent photos!

The Mercury Soul event was really cool. They set up three different stages in the main room, two between the pillars on the left and right sides. They had so many musicians, they needed the space. Also there must have been five different employees who pointed at the giant LED star thing on the ceiling and said, "So we get to keep that, right?"

Bootie: 80s vs. 90s
DSTR
Kero Kero Bonito
So Stoked

Death Guild
Monday Hubba
Mercury Soul
Hail The Sun

18 Responses:

  1. Jim Sweeney says:

    Huhhuh... blew a seal. :D

    • Yuma Tripp says:

      I'm calling the WWF!

    • k3ninho says:

      I prefer the man-and-car-mechanic version:
      A man's car breaks down on the edge of the arctic circle in Canada, and when the recovery truck arrives to take a look, the repair man says, "Sir, you've blown a seal."
      "No, that's just frost on my moustache."

      K3n.

  2. J. Peterson says:

    This seems like the sort of thing Hackaday is happy to cover. I'll bet you can also get placement on the blogs of the home robot parts suppliers, such as SparkFun, AdaFruit, Make, Seeed etc.

  3. K. Roche says:

    I hear about it every year, but, as a builder, can't go:

    I live in the South Bay.
    Your event runs on Sunday until midnight.
    In San Francisco.
    On a work night.
    I have a day job. My barbot is a hobby project.

    All of which adds up to not being able to bring my bot.

    • jwz says:

      Honestly, if we open the floor to everyone who needs to explain why they hate fun, we'll be here way past bed time.

      • Kai MacTane says:

        Seriously? "I have a job that requires me to be there in the morning" is nothing like "I hate fun". If anything, what he's saying is "I would love to participate in your fun, but I have human limits."

        • jwz says:

          Look, as a former unintentional poster child for That Kind Of Job, I can assure you that other options exist, like: don't sleep, use a vacation day, call in sick with the Russian Flu (Stolichnaya Influenza).

          Fun and culture require inconvenience, whereas the tribute Mammon demands is only the sacrifice of everything you might some day treasure.

          But you do you.

          Nearly any sentence that starts with "I would have gone but" can be ended with "...I didn't care that much."

          Which is fine.

          But don't try to put that on me.

          • Kai MacTane says:

            You were complaining about not having enough bots. Dude explained to you why he won't be bringing his bot.

            You derided him as "hating fun". But that still doesn't get you any more bots.

            But you do you, or your event. I hope it has enough bots.

            • Carlos says:

              I think jwz's point is that most people who want to take part, take part. Despite these sorts of logistical problem-ettes.

              The kind of people who say "I would take part except blah blah blah" tend, in general, to be people who wouldn't actually take part, no matter how convenient you happened to make it.

              My experience backs this up. There are the doers, and there are the complainers.

              C.

            • Leonardo Herrera says:

              Dude clearly explained he didn't think it was worth the trouble having an unpaid day off.

  4. Walt N. says:

    That link is to 2016, did you mean:
    https://www.facebook.com/events/1798721040445118/

  5. That Dirk Guy says:

    The invite you inveigle us to spam with is for the 2016 event...

  6. pagrus says:

    I just tweeted Noisebridge but you might want to try CS or EE depts at City College or State. I see flyers for DNA events at CCSF all the time (Bootie? So Stoked? I forget which ones tbh) so you kind of have people on the ground there already.

    Most of the other students there are half my age though, so maybe I'm out of touch and college kids don't drink these days.

    • pagrus says:

      Or maybe TechShop? I've only been there once but they might have a flyerable area or would want to work out some kind of promotion? Plus they're like right there.

      • jwz says:

        Yup, we've flyered there in the past, and had one of the owners as a judge in 2015. I suspect that reached more spectators than contestants, though.