We Are Developers Feedback
The following piece was written months ago, right after the “We Are Developers World Conference” took place in Berlin. So far I have not been reached out to for providing feedback to the conference, and I am not expecting it will ever happen, so I am going to publish this (unedited) here on my blog instead.
There are some (at least one) swearword in here, for those of you who care about that.
Here we go...
I was really astonished about how bad such a conference can be organized, sorry to say.
First of all, the badges we're not even checked at the entrance. The person there was completely overwhelmed and couldn't even look at badges while people were streaming in. There was also too little space to actually check badges. At least 10 people and 5 queues (with a queuing system) would have been a good start. The way it was “organized” I could have just walked in while the person there looked somewhere else. I also heard that you could simply walk into the “premium area” that was reserved for expensive tickets. I didn't try, but given the other checks were basically nonexistent, I can imagine how easy it was.
The keynote talk was another issue. I am very sorry for the condition of Sir Tim Berners Lee and I wish him all the best and hope he gets better soon. He shouldn't speak at conferences in my opinion until he gets better. He was barely understandable, although I consider my English rather good. Other people I was talking to didn't understand a single word. Also his presentation was basically a “I want to sell my product” show, which is not what a keynote should be like, does it?
Next, the conference food was way to expensive. Not sure how much control the organizers have about that. But 20 euros for burger sounds like a joke. I went to the city to get food.
Next, the venue is too small for the amount of people. The hallways were way too crowded. Possibly an issue of a conference that grew too fast.
The venue map is really a joke, isn't it? I did not even figure out how many halls are there actually. Please provide a sane map, with a top-down view and also provide it printed out. There were like 10 locations were I found the map, but at least 50 would have been necessary. Also the map did never show the current position, which was a huge problem.
The app is something completely unnecessary as well. There are enough conference apps out there, for scheduling there's giggity, for chat there's open protocols like matrix. No need to dump money/effort into an app that I have to uninstall again right after the event! Yes I found that it is also available as website and I used that instead. Just wanted to give feedback about that.
The seats in the main hall/stage are an insult. I wasn't able to check the other seats because I wasn't able to catch one.
To the exhibitors: 90% of them had slides/booths that did say a lot of buzzwords, but no content. If you're doing “advanced cloud enterprise data connectivity”, that tells me exactly NOTHING about what you do. I could imagine that this buzzword bingo is normal for exhibitors for such conferences. Does not make it sane anyways.
All of the exhibitors were some form of “cloud” company. No other industries as far as I could tell. Except maybe the car manufacturers. That's sad.
Also, Vodafone should be punished for this fucking robot that blocked the hallways all the time.
In general I would ask exhibitors to send engineers to a developer conference rather than sales people. What good is it if I cannot even ask technical questions? All people at exhibitions I talked with were a disappointing! Maybe I just got the wrong people, I don't know.
I also found it very annoying and intrusive that people just took photos without asking and even the people that seemed to be from the press or similar didn't bother to ask. I am used to higher professionality in that regard.
The conclusion for me is that I urge my company to invest the money for the ticket to WeAreDevelopers rather into tickets to chaos communication congress, which has a ten times higher return of investment. I'd urge the organizers to attend at least one chaos communication congress. There are no exhibitors there (at least there weren't the last few times) but there's a huge opportunity to learn how an IT conference should be organized!