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.
I agree! I know from "SDN meets Labs" that the SDN events are fantastic. And I was very sad that I could not come to Amsterdam.
My excuse is very poor, but I promised my gildfriend to go with her and her children on holiday. And this is the problem, the event was during school-holiday in Germany, at least in the north of Germany. Otherwise I would have been in Amsterdam.
I think that an seperated event like "SDN meets Labs" would be better than an event beside the TechEd, even if some people prefered a combined event as you told. If I remember right "SDN meets Labs" had no problems with lees participation.
Being a family man with two growing up kids myself, I don't have any problems with the school holidays issue.
As Shai Agassi told us at the SDN day, it's a matter of finding the right balance between private life and the rest.
Honestly, I've also a slight preference for an SDN meets Labs. At least, it lasts longer, which makes us able to attend more sessions.
First, I've already suggested (in my completed survey) that if there's going to be a SDN Day and not an SDNMeetsLabs get-together), then SDN day has to be two days, despite the scheduling issues this raises. Reason is - folks shouldn't be asked to decide between traditional and non-traditional experiences; they should be able to have both.
But more importantly, I think the issue involves how much farther SDN'ers are ahead of the SAP customers which employ them. SDN Day is about the new stuff, and if an SAP customer is keeping its engineers back in the 1990's (out of fear of being on the bleeding edge, or whatever), then one can expect this customer's staff not to show up at SDN Day.
How does SAP solve this one? Maybe education incentives for customers to move from the 90's into the "naughts".
I attended SDN Day (sorry we didn't get to say hello), and as many others said, it was a great event.
I agree that it was surprising to see the relatively low turnout. But it was also the first year of the event. As more and more people join SDN, as the word gets out that it is an fascinating event, and as SDN does a better job of promoting and preparing for the event, I think attendance will rise.