We spent today working on the last minute details for the mySQL conference. The important things: T shirts, pens, mugs, etc….
Seriously, I’m pretty excited about the conference. I think conferences have transmogrified since the days of Interop and Internet World ’97-’00 and many have reemerged as events actually worth going to.
Back before the Internet, most people would go to conferences to actually learn about new products, trends, etc. Companies typically sent their best developers and product managers to meet with attendees. But sometime around ’98, many attendees learned that they could find all the info they needed on the net and didn’t have to send anyone. Attendance dropped, and exhibitors stopped sending their best and brightest. The attendees at subsequent conferences were greeted by nit wits that didn’t know anything and attendance dropped further. The death spiral had begun.
There was a time when I could spend all day talking to vendors and learn all the inner workings of products. It wasn’t unusual to find the actual engineers that designed the product on the Exhibit floor giving demos. If you ever really wanted to find out the things that didn’t work quite right in a new product, find the engineer that worked on it. All you’d have to do is ask.
Unless I was speaking, I stopped going to conferences sometime around ’00. They just weren’t worth the trouble.
Today, no one really goes to conferences like the mySQL Conference to learn about the products. There are much easier ways to do that. They go because they’ll be able to meet others that are part of the community they’ve become a part of.
Open Source and other community driven events and conferences have experienced a massive resurgence. Just take a look at the Web 2.0 Expo last week.
Since we’re just starting out, we’re not part of this community just yet, but starting tomorrow, that’s going to change. If you want to meet the guys that did all the engineering stop by and say hello. We’re all going to be there.