From the Grumpy Old Man: Doomsday Amsterdam
Having left Amsterdam, I now find myself back at the university with mixed feelings about the SDN day. To be honest I still haven’t decided whether I should be happy or sad about it. So let’s sum things up and, since I’m in a good mood, let’s start with the positive aspects.
- It’s always good to see people again. I had of course the chance to see again people like Mark, Craig, Shai (no, not Agassi), Gregor, Detlev, Sergio, Tobias, Mattias, and all the others that I’ve failed to mention personally. Of course we do talk via e-mail, or on occasion by phone. Personally though, I still prefer meeting people IRL, face to face. The same thing goes for people that I’ve been communicating with but have never met, like Marilyn, Ran, Marco, Gali, Mario, Dan and Ed (the SAPlink guys who more than deservedly won the Demo Jam for a second time) and of course my long time hero Thomas.
- The SDN day provides the perfect opportunity to meet new people. You might not expect it from me, but I am a rather shy person. I don’t find it easy to talk to people that I’m not familiar with. It’s certainly a lot easier for me to stick to people that I already know (even if it’s only via e-mail). So I found the ‘speed dating’ concept of the meeting table, where one just sits together with total strangers, a very interesting way of meeting other people with similar, or even totally opposing, interests.
- The SDN sessions that I attended were very interesting. Unfortunately, due to the fact that I was giving a couple of sessions myself, I missed some sessions that I really wanted to attend. A single day is definitely not enough. A couple of days with session repetitions would, in my opinion, be more than welcome.
- Finally, the cherry on the pie was the evening event, called ‘Boom Chicago’. This hilarious show, combined with good food (not to be compared with the nibbles that we got at noon) and good conversation combined to make this day remarkable.
But now we come to the less than satisfactory aspects. The attendance was below expectation. How was that possible? The whole SDN team worked very hard to try and make things work, and as thanks you remained absent. Is there a reason? The SDN people listenend to you when you told them that you preferred the SDN day event to be combined with TechEd, so that you wouldn’t need to ask approval to attend two events. Costwise, there shouldn’t have been any problem, since the income price was ridiculously low. I doubt whether it covered the actual costs incurred.
Is it the type of event that you’re afraid of? Does ‘unconferencing’ and the ‘Burning man’ frighten you? Is it the US way of doing things (Las Vegas was a success), wasn’t it? Is the content too exciting and new for you? When I saw people still forming a long queue at TechEd, for a session that has already been done for several years now, I couldn’t help but wonder what the appeal and use of it was, when compared to the state of the art, real world sessions held at the SDN day.
Guys like Thomas came to Amsterdam especially to demonstrate some of the more interesting new features of the new editor and you honoured this with your absence, resulting in a small room being only ¾ full. I was embarrassed for you .
Yes, I may be an old sore who repeats himself non-stop, but it’s out of my hands. And the only one that can do something about it is YOU. Yes, you, the one who is reading this and didn’t attend the event. As the saying goes ‘the absent are always in the wrong’.
Having said this, I challenge those of you who were absent to comment this web log and tell me why you didn’t attend and what more the SDN people can do (which I find impossible) to make it more appealing to you in order to persuade you to attend next year.