Monday, May 04, 2009


A Conference is about Community

I loved the followup to a previous blog entry where the notion that a conference is about community was spot on. Of course, I still have some challenges in terms of perspective that I would like to share.

1. I bet if you ask a lowly developer why they attend conferences, the answer would be along the lines of learning. If you ask the same question to a CIO it is about networking where the speakers are less important. So, not everyone has the same motivation for attending.

2. So, if you are a CIO, then you can network equally as well wandering the hallways of a conference as well as you can do by attending a jazzy party or playing golf with your peers. You have to ask yourself which one is more fun and accomplishes the same goal?

3. So, do you think people attend Gartner conferences to gain sage wisdom from industry analysts? If that was the case they could accomplish this goal by simply picking up the phone.

4. Even if a conference cares about educational value, are all attendees valued the same? Of course not. I would argue that the average developer in a large enterprise is more important in terms of free admission than someone who runs a small two-person consulting firm.

5. To support the above point, there are a class of emerging conferences that are 100% free to attend. They like us enterprisey types and eschew those who work for consulting firms. Are they also wrong?

6. I can say that the the plankton known as attendees are moving away from Gartner and RSA towards venues such as OWASP where both vendors and attendees can have the best of both worlds.

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