Anyone who has been following this blog for any length of time knows that I love the Xojo Developer Conferences. It’s my one time of the year that I can talk shop all day and night. Here are some random thoughts on XDC 2014.
Las Vegas: I know a lot of people love, Love, LOVE Las Vegas. I don’t. I don’t gamble. I can only take so many shows, and heaven (and my wife) knows that I’m not there to chase the girls. Las Vegas is an adult Disney World with a license to lose your inhibitions. But besides all that I feel that we lost a major part of what I really love about the conference. Talking with other developers.
The Monte Carlo Hotel has somewhere in the neighborhood of 10 bars and nightclubs. As the night progresses the ones further from the gambling room close and force you towards the game room. The music gets louder too making it tough to, you know, have a conversation.
In years past the hotels had a single bar and while it might have closed at 1 or 2 AM it was the one spot you could ALWAYS catch another developer. This big mega hotels in Las Vegas, not so much.
Another thing that really sucked about the Monte Carlo was the WiFi. It worked (sometimes) on the first two floors. In our rooms we had an ethernet cable. Hello! 2001 faxed us and wants their ethernet back. I’ve not been in a hotel in the past 10 years that didn’t have a WiFi system (even if it was paid access). Thankfully, people brought (or bought) Airport Express cards for in-room connectivity.
Needless to say, I will have strong reservations about going to an XDC in Las Vegas again. Perhaps it’s time to go back to Austin for a year. Make it a homecoming!
The Battleship Code Contest: I understand how these things go, they just didn’t have enough time to come up with a NEW contest. It would have been great to come up with a gambling theme since we were in Vegas. I was not the only one that was disappointed. Last year there were close to 30 contestants – this year 11. It was fun to see the tournament in action. Geeks cheering on each other is good.
Perhaps the community can come up with an alternative game for next year. How about something that involves Xojoscript like a battle bot game?
Community Sourcing for Session Topics: This came up in the Feedback session. It would be nice to have a period where the community could offer and vote on ideas for sessions. Then, those of us that would like to speak would have to pick from one of the top X voted ideas. I think this is brilliant as it might help attendance and breath some fresh ideas into the sessions. It might also make us get out of our comfort zones a bit and do some real research. I realize I’m probably in the minority of speakers on this one but I love this idea!
Engineer Vetting of Session Topics: My entire team collectively attended every session. The feedback I received from them was that some sessions were awful from the first slide (if there were any slides). Every session needs to have the question asked: What is a developer going to get out of it? And then the slides need to be reviewed with the question: Will someone looking at these PDF’s in six months even know what they were talking about?
Recordings of Sessions: This one comes up every year and Xojo always shoots it down. I get their reasoning: they want quality, blah, blah, blah. This is the twenty-teens. Video is everywhere and it’s SO damn easy to do it this one baffles me. Sure, I get that they want people to attend the conference but they could also SELL these videos to the community. Make it 4 or 5 months AFTER the event. Income streams is a good thing.
Make Slide Decks Available: Again, like the video, make them available to the community 4 or 5 months after the event. In a lot of them it doesn’t matter if they were released today. There’s not enough detail in them that really explains anything. The details are spoken out loud and the slides are section headers. For me, they are a reminder of what I heard at XDC.
Do you have any thoughts on XDC 2014? Where do you want XDC to be held next year?