Thursday, November 17, 2011

Impressions of the conference so far...

Ok, day 1 of the conference is done. Now, what can be said about the experience up until now? Well, for one, I think QCon SF is awesome. The organization of such an event can be difficult as there are many people, many speakers, lots of coordination and a bunch of areas where slip-ups can occur but Trifork and InfoQ have got everything under control. The venue layout minimizes walking distance between presentations and the hotel staff is very efficient and courteous, unlike the cable car operators. So, organization-wise, I have no complaints; We are in very good hands.

On the (slightly) down side, as with any such event, no matter how well you pre-plan on which topics you will cover you, will eventually end-up in a presentation that just sucks. Well… maybe the word is a little strong but, lets instead say that some of the presentation content was not in line with the expected return value inferred from the provided abstracts :) This is when having a pre-determined backup presentation plan becomes very handy.

On the brighter side, the organizers have conjured a very innovative way to pick-up feedback after each presentation. They post people at each exit holding one or two iPods with a simple and very intuitive user interface to provide feedback. The screen is divided into three zones with a smily :( , :|  or :) associated to red, yellow and green; I'll let you guess which is which. Simply brilliant! Like it? Just touch the happy green smily. Hate it? Touch the red frowny one.

Presentation Rating System

Now, what are two things I take away from this first day at the QCon SF conference?

  1. To my surprise, I think I have created a blogging monster. Let call him "Steve 2.0". Coming here, we had a choice of documentation mechanisms to bring back information to the mothership: produce a standard (i.e. boring, static, non-interactive) conference report or use a blogging platform that would allow us to take notes and publish content as the day went on. Option B was taken. I'm only hoping that "Steve 2.0" is not a transient state and that he will transpose his newly learned skills to another platform (you know which one…) after all this is over.
  2. Mike Lee is an awesome presenter. Going through a somewhat tiresome day of active listening, idea exchanging and intensive note taking was well worth the trouble for this guy's keynote. If you do not know who Mike Lee is, here is a little background information. His keynote on Product Engineering was done wearing a mariachi suit which fitted this guy's personality and on-stage presence very well. I wish I could show you the video of it but as a consolation prize [Update: Here's a video on InfoQ of the same presentation given at the Strange Loop conference], I will link you to his presentation slides

Mike Lee on Product Engineering

So, one down and two more to go. We will be posting the expected attendance schedule for day 2 very soon, so keep reading and don't forget to comment on our posts. We'll definitely take the time to answer any questions you may have.


  1. When I do a TCF, I need to dress with something like that...

  2. Check-out the video on InfoQ:


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