Tuesday, November 15, 2005

I'm Sitting This One Out

Whew! Yesterday I attended two pre-conference workshops, and then today I've attended three sessions, the keynote address, as well as lunch which had sponsored speakers. And it's just after 2 pm. There are at least two sessions I'm interested in running right now, but I just can't do it. I'm sitting this one out!

Instead, I'm going to give a few general impressions for you and, time permitting, post some notes from what I've attended thus far.

Right now I am sitting in the "wireless web" area outside of the conference rooms. It really is too bad there isn't live web inside the rooms. The other thing at a premium is power. Few rooms have any extra electrical outlets, so there is a subtle competition going on between people who need power. Between sessions it is funny to see people gathered around electrical outlets in the hallway. Chairs have migrated, clustered around the outlets, so at least people aren't sitting on the floor as they were yesterday.

The other great resource we could use more of is water. Coffee flows in abundance (we are on the west coast, after all), but water is a little harder to come by. I missed the great Dasani handout a few minutes ago, thinking there would be lots to go around. Dasani has sold out of the vending machine, as have all the diet drinks. Well, I'm not so big on Dasani anyway. Lots of regular Coke and orange soda left, though. The one water cooler is almost dry. Soon I will have to resort to sucking it down from the taps in the washroom...I guess this is perhaps the greatest indication that we are anywhere near the desert.

I chose my session yesterday afternoon, on web content managers (WCM or web CMS)based on the speaker, Tony Byrne who publishes CMS Watch and CMS Report. I was not disappointed: he has turned out to be very knowledgable and helpful. Moreover, our keynote speaker this morning picked out a few people present, and he mentioned that Tony is "probably the coolest person here". I wasn't surprised when I heard that, since I saw him arrive this morning with an entourage of six groupies, and lots of people stopping to speak with him.

I'm impressed with the turn out here. Approximately 600 delegates, buyers, vendors, and developers. I don't think that includes vendors who will be staffing the tradeshow starting this evening. People from all different organizations (many very very large), all different types of positions, and from many different countries. Everyone is here on a different agenda, and everyone has an interesting story to share. My mandate is primarily to network. Network with other "buyers" who have been through what we want to do and get the inside scoop from them, as well as network with "vendors" to find out what their products can do as a comparison for what we want to do in our firm. But of course the student in me loves attending the sessions.

For anyone who hasn't been able to make it, and won't glean enough from this blog (since I'm only going to manage getting to a fraction of the sessions, since there are least 5 different program streams), Digital Record will be selling the conference afterward for $295 USD. For those of us here, it is available for $129 USD. For me it might be worth picking up just so I can supplement what I was able to attend, and also learn from later as we go through various stages of our projects.

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