One of the best conferences I attended and spoke at in 2010 was gotoAndSki() Norway. I wouldn’t be surprised if you haven’t heard of. I mean it was quite small and the location was rather remote. So, why do I think it was so good? First of all, the guys behind this event are amazing. I met them at the first Flex Camp in Oslo back in 2009 and I enjoyed their company during the event and afterward, while doing some late night A/B testing of different types of beer :D (Does FlashMagazine.com and Jens Christian ring a bell?)
Second, conferences have always been about people and connecting people. Of course a good track of sessions and speakers makes the backbone of any good conference, but without the social network there would always be something missing.
And this is exactly where Jens and his buddies excelled this year. They had a great idea to organize a three day conference and put the sessions in the evening/night and the social activities during the day. This way all the attendees had a chance to really talk and know each other better while skiing, trekking, eating Norwegian food, and yes, drinking beer.
People think that going out and drinking lot of beer after the last session it is the best way to make acquaintances. I’m not saying it is a bad method. I’m just saying it isn’t necessarily the best method for a bunch of developers. I mean just imagine–you’ve always been a geek and loved to code during
high-school/university and you haven’t partied that much. Naturally, you decided to become a software engineer and here comes your first conference. Surprise, surprise if you want to bond with the attendees you have to be a beer master :D. Is this cognitive dissonance or what? Apologizes for my rant :D
Jens idea was to have the conference organized each year in a different country. So, I’m proud to announce on my blog that the 2011 edition – organized by Fernando Colaco – will take place in Switzerland, January 27-29. There are only 100 tickets, so if you want to experiment something different in a beautiful country hurry up and register here.
I just checked the sessions and I have to say I can’t wait to attend them – you can learn about making games, working with Arduino, developing for TV, Flash accessibility and much more.
In the end I want to take my hat off to Jens and Fernando for putting together an event like no other, at least here in Europe. And I’m curious where it will go next year!
PS. Fernando sent me a message telling me that actually they decided to have a summer edition and a winter edition in the same countries each year. What can I tell? They broke my heart; I had a vision about organizing one edition in the Carpathian mountains maybe with the help of my fellow evangelist, Ryan Stewart.