Computer conferences each have their own personalities. Sure their are some common flavors — Utilikilts at Linux events for instance — but each have developed their own quirks. These character traits develop around the content of the show, the core beliefs of the organizers, and passion of the attendees who stride through the doors.
This past week All Things Open was held in Raleigh and Scotland PHP was held in Edinburgh. ATO has grown from four hundred attendees to twenty four hundred over four years. Scotland PHP was a first time event with about one hundred fifty or so present. Todd Lewis and the ATO crew have mastered providing great content at a very low cost at a show where offer a wide menu to many. Paul Dragoonis (to pick on one organizer) and his mainly Scots cohorts carefully studied other conferences to get just the right mix. Both had vibrant audiences who had direct and detailed questions about product, best practices, and implementation. Both made sure their attendees had exactly what information they needed on wifi, locations, supporting events, and schedule. And their venues were both amazing all though Scotland PHP was in the Dynamic Earth facility with a castle, Arthur’s seat, and a Parliament build very nearby that could have proven breathtaking distractions if the content of the show had not been so outstanding.
This week in New York is Container Days NYC where they have a mix of unconference, talks, workshops, and open spaces on putting software into containers. See you there!
Buzzconf is November 25th-27th in Australia (and sadly will be only show mentioned in this blog that I will not be able to attend) and has a wide content offering of virtual reality, Internet of Things (IoT), robots, machine learning, augmented reality, and space exploration (stuff out side the Earth’s atmosphere, not at all InnoDB related).
As a sponsor and/or speaker, you can tell a lot about the show by the quality and quantity of communications from the organizers. Those that sweat the details well beforehand tend to have a much more smoothly running event. MySQL has (or is) sponsoring all the above events and the forms to get into the Oracle purchase order system are very detailed. Then the purchase order itself must be accompanied with more documents. For small shows these bureaucratic tasks often chew up time and manpower, usually not on their PERT or GANTT charts. The above shows went throw this process with much more aplomb than I do. Hats off to all of them.
Final thought: If you attend a conference and had a good time, learned something, hated something else, or see something obviously wrong that nobody else has spotted– please tell the organizers and volunteers. They put on these events for you, the community. Believe me that they could easily go to bed early, make a few more kid’s sporting events, code a few more lines, or just have many more quiet minutes with the time they spend agonizing over details.
And the next time they have the urge to walk away they just might remember you and your saying ‘thank you’. Those two words have a lot of weight for only eight letters.