This past weekend myself and 200 others descended on Orlando Florida for the first ever OpenForce Connect conference. The OpenForce Connect series is designed to be a locally run event in the mold of a Code Camp or Bar Camp. The Orlando DNN User Group did an excellent job of lining up a great group of speakers and helping to promote the event throughout Florida. Each speaker brought a unique perspective to DotNetNuke and even taught me a few tidbits about DNN that I didn’t know.
The event received pretty good coverage from DotNetNuke bloggers. Tom Kraak has a good live blog on the days events. Will Strohl gives his take on the days events with a nice summary of each session. Brian Scarbeau includes some amazing information about the event itself, including the fact that people were flying from all over the world just to attend this event.
Joe Healy, of the Microsoft Developer Evangelists for Florida and the event coordinator for the TechEd InBetween events, was very pleased with the overall turnout for OpenForce Connect. We had the largest attendance for all of the Sunday events, which did not go unnoticed.
There is one aspect of the OpenForce Conferences that I think does not get enough press: OpenForce conferences are a great place to meet and network with other individuals in the DotNetNuke community. I love the hallway discussions and the after-hours events where you really get a chance to talk one on one with other community members. Since the Internet can be so impersonal, it is nice to put a face to the names that we deal with every day online. I find that I am more forgiving of online comments when I actually have had the opportunity to get to know and understand an individual. These mini-friendships help smooth over any communication challenges online and in the end just go to help strengthen our community. So if you don’t go for any other reason, I think it is well worth your time to go just for the networking opportunities.
Finally, I want to say thank you to all the sponsors who made this event possible: DNNSpired, Hardy Consulting, Active Modules, MaximumASP, Arrow Consulting and Design, Seablick Consulting, t-Worx, DNNCovered, Applied Innovations and IHost