As most of you know I was at the DotNetNuke World 2011 event in Orlando Florida this past week, and I thought I would give a quick recap of my experience with the event and share how much different I felt this event was in comparison to the previous DotNetNuke Connections events. To help try and give proper justice to the topic, I'm going to break my review out in a few different categories to help make it a bit more understandable, and without further delay, here we go!
I think that it is important to start here as I think that the venue and conference areas had a bit impact on the quality of the DotNetNuke World event. Historically speaking the event was held in a very large conference center where there was not a lot of room for conversation, or where you were in a hurry to get from Point A to Point B between sessions. The venue selected in Orlando was much better for facilitating conversation as well as getting between sessions.
The welcome reception, keynotes, sessions, and after dark event were all held in the same area and there was ample space to get away and have private conversations when you needed to. Also, unlike Las Vegas the hotel rooms were a very short walk away, which was very helpful for those of us that had to break away a few times to do a bit of work. Additionally when polled at the end of the event, there were a number of people that brought their families with them and made a "vacation" out of it, I think this helped a lot with attendance.
I think the biggest area that I noticed change in this year was with the Attendees. First of all, there were a LOT more attendees at this event, I believe the number was over 400. This is a substantial increase over that of the past events. Additionally the backgrounds of the attendees was quite a bit different than what I had found in previous years. I met a lot more people that were Site Admins' or "users of DotNetNuke", not just developers/designers/vendors of DotNetNuke.
The one thing that really rang true across all of the attendees was a great passion for DotNetNuke and a very positive light on the platform and where the product is going. For me this was a VERY, VERY good thing to see. This positive energy was something that I noticed all three days that I was around the event and you could tell that everyone was very energized and excited about all of the new things coming.
Although this is really related to the attendees I wanted to break this out into a separate section. Of all of the technical conferences that I have attended/presented at DotNetNuke World 2011 really presented a different social environment than that of previous events. Every night there was a group of people at the hotel bar, sometimes multiple groups, and even one night I think the entire bar was filled with DotNetNuke World Attendees just sitting around and conversing about various topics.
Why do I find this to be such a great thing? Well I think that with the bigger number of attendees, and the various backgrounds, those social interactions, meeting new people and sharing information is one of the biggest benefits of a conference like this. Putting faces to names, meeting attendees that were in from the Netherlands, Switzerland, Australia, Germany, and most likely many more places that I can't remember, is one big thing here. Those connections you make can become very valuable for you in the future. I think the venue as well as the fact that it was "just DotNetNuke" at the conference made it possible for this better interaction.
I'll admit my coverage of the "sessions" and their quality is going to be very short. Given all of the people that wanted to talk with me, and the various clients that I was conversing with I didn't make it to a few sessions, but every session that I attended had a lot of good information in it, and all of the chatter afterwards indicated a lot of people were very happy with the sessions.
My recap of DotNetNuke world wouldn't be complete without at least a mention of some of the fun things that came along with the event as well. For those that were not in attendance you most likely heard about the "Limited Edition Shaun Walker Bobblehead" that was announced at the opening session of the event. Those 50 bobblehead's resulted in some fierce competition all week to be one of the luck recipients. This included one person fishing one from the bottom of the hotel pool among other things. Shaun even decided to wear the same clothes as the bobble head for the After Dark party! Below are pictures of my bobble head as well as Shaun for those of you wondering what we have been talking about all week!
I have to say I think that DotNetNuke World 2011 was a great success and I am greatly looking forward to next year's event! After returning home I feel re-energized after all of the positive feedback and community excitement and as I promised to a lot of attendees at the event, my blogging will be increasing again! If you were there, feel free to add your comments below!
This post was cross-posted from my Personal Blog.