An important part of my job the last few years has been helping Jeff Potts make Alfresco DevCon successful. With the expansion of DevCon into Alfresco Summit, my role has expanded too. This year we are planning a much bigger event which has consumed my work life for the last 8 months. We have one week left to our conference in Barcelona, and two weeks until we meet in Boston. It has been very exciting to review the presentations with people and see how great the sessions are going to be.
As people keep asking me what to expect at Summit, I am going to list some of the things I am most excited about. You will notice the actual presentations are not at the top of the list, as we hope to have most of them posted online after the event. I am going to focus on the parts of Summit that you have to be there in person to enjoy.
- Meeting experts: Whether they are Alfresco engineers, partners, or working on an Alfresco implementation, I love the chance to get to know the content management experts that come to Alfresco Summit. Alfresco's community is much more open and inviting than many other technology companies, and the friendships forged prove useful throughout the coming year.
- Networking events (a.k.a. food): The ambiance around the actual conversations is relaxed and inviting. The lunches are organized in order to help people of similar interests, needs, and geographies to meet. The evening social events involve good food at nice venues. The attendees at Alfresco events are a friendly lot.
- Running with friends: I'm not a drinker, and I don't stay out late. But I do enjoy getting up early and going for a run with other conference attendees. My conference duties require my run to be pretty early, but I can usually get a fun group to go with me. If you would like to join us, then please let me know.
- Lightning Talks: Our lightning talks last year were a big hit. The technical challenge of giving a 5 minute presentation, often with auto-advancing slides, is entertaining. And the diversity of material keeps the interest level high. We have some great presentations planned for this year and I am looking forward to it.
- Content management tips and tricks: Like many Alfresco developers, my background is in software development and I only ended up in the content management world by accident. So I find it very useful to talk to people who specialize in information science and can guide my efforts in this area. This year's Alfresco Summit will have a few presentations specifically about the domain expertise around content management, which I hope will help a lot of developers and project managers benefit from the wisdom of this specialty.
- Project management horror stories: This year we have a few sessions dedicated to managing content projects, but the best stories are usually not going to be shared in front of the group. Every experienced professional has a great horror story that can serve as entertainment, and a warning. Alfresco Summit provides a great venue for drawing these stories out of others.
- Asking questions: The sessions that you find interesting enough to attend are the best places to find people who are involved enough to answer your questions on that topic. But you can't participate in Q&A if you aren't in the room at Alfresco Summit. Remember that engaging with the audience is often as valuable as engaging with the presenter.
- Customers: This year we have a lot of customers participating in Alfresco Summit. They come from a variety of industries and have a variety of use cases. Learning how a customer is using the product in production is often the best way to inform your vision of what is possible and practical.
- Presentations: It is a privilege to help organize a conference that I am excited to attend. We selected wonderful presentations for the keynotes, case studies, panel discussions, and technical sessions. In fact, between the two conferences we have over 100 different people presenting in some way. I think that is pretty amazing (and it shows how much work has been involved in organizing it). Our presenters have put a lot of time and effort in to producing quality presentations. They attended speaker training, and we have reviewed their presentations and offered feedback. Not only will the subject matter be excellent, but I am very proud of the caliber of presenters who have volunteered to participate in our conferences.
- Barcelona and Boston. Alfresco Summit is going to be in two great cities this year. I have been practicing Spanish for months, and am optimistic that I'll be able to communicate with the locals in Barcelona. The last day of the conference ends early enough that I hope to see a bit of that ancient European city. Boston is as historic a city as one can find in the United States, and I think it is in a beautiful part of the country. I have previously spent some time there, and am excited to go back.
I want to thank everyone who has helped put the conference together. Many people on my team have worked very hard to get everything organized. In addition to helping pay for the event, our sponsors have been true partners in putting it together. And of course the event wouldn't be very useful if we didn't have so many people volunteering to present.
I am looking forward to seeing everyone in Barcelona and Boston.Bring your running shoes!