A Letter to the Community on CodeStock 2009

3 Apr

nerdSkull_logo_2009In a few moments I will be opening up the CodeStock Website to take registrations for CodeStock 2009.  I figure this is a good moment to pause and share some of my thoughts and goals behind this year’s event.

The first goal is to grow the size of the conference.  The event has expanded to fill two days and 10 concurrent sessions, which will yield somewhere around 100 total sessions at CodeStock 2009.  I expect we’ll see 300 attendees, but have secured space to welcome 450.  (I believe in shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars.)

The next goal is to open up CodeStock even more to the community, and is where the “We Want You” and Uncle “Nerdskull” Sam theme comes from.  Last year we had room for one concurrent Open Spaces session; this year we have four.  We’ve added session voting, so this year attendees who sign up early can vote on the session submissions (185 submissions!) and tell us what you would like to see.  The twitter directory of attendees is also available at the website, and will be included in the conference guide again this year.

My next thought behind CodeStock may cause a bit of discomfort for some, and may not be the wisest thing for me to state publically, but main stream conferences are expensive.  Sure, when times are great who doesn’t love an all expenses paid vacation trip to lovely resort hotels and week long parties sessions with geeks.  Times aren’t great however, and I’m betting most companies don’t have a budget for $2000 conferences + travel expenses.  Even if your company does have the ability to send a few, would they benefit more by sending everyone to a community led, non-profit conference like CodeStock or DevLink?  Not saying all high cost conferences are worthless, but I do believe if it is 10x the cost it should have 10x the awesome. 

There is a huge number of excellent speakers willing to travel far and cover their own costs to speak at a community conference.  These speakers do this because they enjoy it, and they make community events like CodeStock possible.  You may look at an MVP (disclosure, I’m a PC and MVP) and think how cool the “free” MSDN subscription must be, but I can tell you from looking at my own bank statement it would have been cheaper for me to just buy a subscription if that was the goal.

Okay, enough soap box.  I have several announcements of some pretty awesome things happening at this year’s CodeStock to make in the coming weeks.  Details are being finalized, so stay tuned to @CodeStock to hear the news as it breaks.  I want to end by sending out a big thank you to all the supporters of CodeStock 2009 who believe strongly in the event to commit to us before we’ve even taken the first registration:

  • Bob

    We all need a rough time line of what time the conference will start and stop (on both Fri and Sat) so that we can do some travel planning!
    And last years CodeStock was great!