The Future of Single-Discipline User Group Conferences

It’s just my opinion, but I think the days of the single discipline user group conference are numbered…

The big company flagship conferences will still happen, as they are more about hype and marketing, but I’m not sure what the future holds for regular user groups that want to stay with a single focus.

I don’t know many people who work on a single technology anymore. I certainly don’t know many people who would be allowed to go to a separate conference per technology they work on. That means they need to pick a subset of events, or not get involved. Either way they are being sold short.

I’m starting to think multi-discipline events like Riga Dev Days make a lot more sense. Even Oracle have gone this route with the Oracle Code events, which are multi-discipline, with an Oracle spin of course. These types of events are not without their issues too, as there has to be a limit on the content for each discipline and there can be scheduling clashes, but I think it makes it a lot easier for people to cover their bases with less conference visits per year.

There are some really strong user groups out there, but for those that are struggling, I wonder if widening the net would help? This could affect the enthusiasm of some sponsors, but it may open new opportunities too.

What do you think?

Cheers

Tim…

Update: As per comments and twitter discussion, people have cited successful “single-discipline” conferences. There will always be winners and losers, and I think many of these probably do have quite a diverse range of material, with a common thread running through them. This is how I think of Oracle Code, a diverse collection of subjects loosely woven together by an Oracle thread.

If someone has hit upon a winning formula that is still specialist, I’m not suggesting they change what is currently working for them. For those that are struggling, maybe now is the time for something different?

Upcoming events I’m attending…

Just a quick note to mention some of the events I’ll be at over the next few months.

 

I’ll be at a couple of Oracle Code events in India in the next couple of weeks.

I’ve submitted for a few of the European Oracle Code events too, but I have no idea if I will be selected or not. When I know I’ll post an update. 🙂

Unfortunately I can’t make the “Oracle Code: London” event this year as I’m already confirmed for another conference on those dates. Apart from the Oracle Code events, I’m already confirmed for these two events.

See you there!

Cheers

Tim…

I’m leaving on a jet plane, don’t know when I’ll be back again…

Actually I do know when I will be back, but I wanted to carry on with the line from the song. 🙂

Just thought I would write to say article production and forum duties will probably be very limited over the next couple of months as I’m doing a bunch of conferences. Sorry if this inconveniences anyone, but you get what you pay for… 🙂

My family will be reading the blog to check I’m still alive, so there will be lots of, “I’m still alive”, type posts. I’m sure most of you out there are used to my off-topic ramblings by now anyway. 🙂

So it’s off to OpenWorld first…

Cheers

Tim…

Flights, OpenWorld, VMware and stuff…

I realize I’ve been a little quiet of late, but life has been really busy and something had to give…

Flights for my conference dates are now sorted. Big thanks to Victoria, LaShon and Sylia. I better get on the case and book my hotels. The plan is:

Birmingham > Frankfurt > San Francisco > Auckland > Perth > Sydney > Gold Coast > Auckland > LAX > Frankfurt > Home

Just looking at it is giving me the fear. That’s some serious air time. I’m way to fat to fly coach at the moment. I better lose some weight and get some anti-DVT support socks… 🙂

I’ve still got to sort out my talks for the conferences. It’s all stuff I’ve been teaching recently, so the material isn’t the problem. The hard thing is trying to compress something that takes me 3.5 hours to teach into 45 minutes without sounding like a list of bullet points.

Recently, I’ve been doing some work with VMware ESX Server. I may have something coming out on the VMware VIOPS site soon. I’ll post again if that works out. By the way, big thanks to the VMware guys (Steve, Tushar and Chris) for hooking me up with the software. I’ve been wanting to play with this stuff for a long time. I was going to start using the free ESXi stuff, but I’ve now got the pukka gear… 🙂

The OCP stuff has hit the back burner for the moment. I was aiming to take the exam this week, but that’s not going to happen now. I’ve got pretty much all of the notes sorted, but I’ve not had time to learn them. Maybe I’ll get time before OpenWorld, or even at OpenWorld…

Cheers

Tim…