The first edition of the PACLUG user group conference was held this week at the Planet Hollywood Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas. The two-day event was scheduled to piggy-back the View’s AdminDev2011 conference. They actually overlapped schedules a bit on Wednesday and PACLUG was invited to the keynote presentation of AdminDev2011. The Tuesday sessions of PACLUG were focused mostly on Domino-related topics while the second day was mostly related to Websphere Portal. Had I known this I might have been tempted to skip the Wednesday sessions, but after attending them I can say that to do so would have been a big mistake. I got some very valuable information in those sessions.
After all, as technology professionals, it is important to keep up with the changes in technology. Simply put, if you’re in IT, you had better be prepared for a lifetime of learning to follow the technology and stay employed. And for many of us, that’s great. If we aren’t learning something new, we’re quickly bored. If this isn’t you, you’re probably a really good COBOL programmer working or a bank or insurance company. If not, then you should be planning your next career.
The knowledge I gained in the sessions was useful, but as I find with all of these conferences, the meat of the value of the conference is in connecting with new friends and reconnecting with old ones. I don’t care how well connected you are via the Internet, nothing could ever match the rapport developed and connections made by face-to-face meetings, not to mention the “accidental meetings” with people you weren’t looking for. That said, it was disappointing to arrive early on Monday only to watch the tweet stream talk about how people were not coming in until late that night. It would have been good to put an informal pre-conference social gathering on the agenda for early arrivals. This is the REAL Social Business.
For comparison, take the phrase “computer dating.” It’s a terrible misnomer. All the computer does is get people connected. The dating part always takes place meeting face-to-face. This is equally true for developing business relationships, though you probably put less emphasis on what a business contact looks like.
Sponsorship for this conference was amazing! There was no fee to attend the user group portion of the conference. It was FREE. Thanks to GBS, Panagenda, Team Studio, IBM, Elguji, BCC, ExtraComm, The View, and all the other sponsors. ( http://www.paclug.org/sponsors ) Also thanks to the organizers, especially David Stephens.
The conference was lightly attended, but this was only the first time this event was held. From the positive feedback, I expect it will be more popular next year. (speaking of feedback, there was no opportunity to submit feedback formally. That would have been very useful to improve future events.) Perhaps joining it with AdminDev2011 detracted from the attendance of each? I don’t know about that, but I do know I had a chance to meet with people at PACLUG that probably would not have been there if it were not connected to The View’s AdminDev2011. I’m not so sure about Las Vegas in June either. The high temperature was 104F – 108F degrees for the 3 days I was there. Not being a gambler, the extra-curricular activities were limited. Personally, I went to this even in spite of it being in Vegas, not because of it.
Overall, it was a good first event for the west coast. I expect it will grow in the upcoming years. Maybe I could convince the organizers to hold it in Seattle in July next year? That time of year we have endless sunny skies with temperatures in the 70’s and 80’s. Lots of extracurricular activities to do. We even have Vegas-style casinos if you really want that, though there are so many things to see and do here that are unique to Seattle, I don’t think anyone would think of going to a casino. For more information about the conference, visit http://www.paclug.org/ http://lanyrd.com/2011/paclug/ and http://www.admin2011.com/