A crowd at the first swap meet and bike expo

Judging by how many bikes were parked outside, how many people were walking around the shopping area, and how many people were watching the presentations in another room, the first Bike Winter Swap Meet and Urban Bicycle Expo will be successful (it hasn’t ended as I write this).

My question is, though: How should we measure success? We think we have the ability to see a situation, concept, or event and say, "That’s successful." But the word means a goal has been accomplished. So what’s the goal here?

When I put together the June 2009 meeting for the Mayor’s Bicycle Advisory Council (photos), I set an attendance threshold as a goal (my goal was 100 attendees, if I remember my final report, about 40 non-staff Chicagoans showed up).

I don’t remember the other two goals (the final report is at my office computer), but I think one had to do with receiving feedback from the attendees indicating they learned something at the meeting (I received about 26 surveys).

Howard, an organizer, said on ChiFG, "Visitor turnout exceeded our expectations– the name tags were actually what we used to get a visitor count (and to encourage entry donations)– we had well over 300 visitors and when you count the vendors, presenters, and volunteers we had around 450 people in attendance; at times you could barely get through the crowd in the swap areas; from about noon on the presentation room was packed."

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