A few days ago in the early morning hours Gnomedex 2009 registration opened up. Normally I would be one of the first to write about this and if the money was in the bank I would be signed up to go. This is the first year ever that I am actually questioning if I should spend the money to attend. There are many reasons for this. None of which going into would really make a difference. But I have to question spending money on something I don’t feel I’m getting value from. I expect to learn something and have fun at any conference I’m present at. Unfortunately day one of Gnomedex last year didn’t meet those expectations. For the first time in my six years of attending I didn’t show up for day two.
Now anyone who knows how much I look forward to my trip out to Gnomedex each year should know that decision was not made lightly. The sad fact is not one person seemed to notice I wasn’t there. Not one email etc. To me that is sort of telling in itself. Lets not forget that I don’t take spending $500 to attend a conference lightly. Speaking of how much it cost to attend Gnomedex. This year on top of opening registration the earliest it has been in years. You can also get tickets at a highly discounted rate. For the first time since I think 2006 Gnomedex is actually cheaper. The Early Bird Special is $399 [Rate good thru 2/20/09].
Last year registration went live Wednesday, April 9th, 2008. I purchased my ticket on Thursday, April 10th, 2008. This was without knowing who was going to present or what topics would be addressed. That alone should show you that I have been a very loyal customer over the years. I’m all for giving second chances. I’ve had more than my share over the years. However in all honesty my feelings on this were bound to come to head at some point. Gradual changes in the conference have made it a little less attractive to me each year. This is however the first time I’ve made mention of this publicly. There have been other voices saying what needed to be said. But their message doesn’t seem to ever get through. It doesn’t help matters when those who don’t know how things started rave about what it has become.
With a bit more honesty I’m actually trying to bite my tongue and not be confrontational. Which isn’t normally my style. Since in most cases I have no problem telling someone how I feel face to face. The fact is if this had been written last year during the conference the words would be very different. And no this isn’t about what I consider a not so smooth handling of the spouse tickets. Or the fact that I came home to my old Blogware account payment not being accepted and all my picture content gone. I had only gotten half of that photo situation fixed before Gnomedex. If everything would have smoothly moved from Blogware to WordPress it never would have become an issue to start with.
For those that think I’m taking a personal stab. You don’t know me very well. If this was that personal I wouldn’t be biting my tongue as hard as I am. In most cases I treat people the way they treat me. In all honesty I have over the years not been as good about that as I should be. But I can say I’m not going to kill someone with kindness if they are taking advantage of me or treating as if I’m beneath them.
Either way instead of being one the first people to buy a ticket a few days ago. I am still sitting on the fence deciding if I should attend Gnomedex in 2009. Part of me says give it a shot while another part says forget it you aren’t getting what you want out of it and most likely will continue not to. Granted I think I would have been happier with day two last year. Instead I went with Cheryl for a journey in major traffic and headed for Deception Pass. There we went on a boat ride and saw a part of Washington State that we hadn’t ventured to in our previous trips to Seattle.
I have purchased two tickets to BlogHer 2009 in Chicago. So I will be attending at least one conference this year. I’d like to make that two but I am very hesitant. It would be nice to take our yearly journey to Seattle and the Edgewater Hotel. Unfortunately this would be the first year we didn’t drive out there. So a major portion of fun would be missed. Then again maybe some aggravation and frustration as well.
The money is there to make the ticket purchase. It’s just a matter of making a decision. If I do go I will of course make sure to purchase my ticket before the February 20th deadline for Early Bird pricing. I can state for a fact that if I don’t purchase a ticket by then I’m not going to be attending.
All I know is I didn’t see or hear geekier or different last year. What I have seen since 2003 is less and less of the faces you used to see. Which unfortunately hasn’t been seen as a bad thing by many. Here is one last comment that can be taken as a jab if it must be seen that way. If the most interesting conversations are taking place outside of the conference ( any conference not just Gnomedex ) then maybe that conference isn’t doing it’s job very well. Then again maybe the industry has just made you jaded and forgetful of what it was like to be hungry. Real passion can’t be faked you know.
Then again if I don’t go to Seattle this year I might not find out if that crazy guy from the unnamed company up the street from the Edgewater Hotel is still alive. Hopefully he didn’t end up getting rolled by some hardcore Seattle locals after leaving Deja Vu last year.
Disclaimer – Yes I’m aware that putting on major event is drama, stress and at times frustrating. I’m very aware that you can never make everyone who attends happy. But there have been some voices saying very reasonable things from time to time that have been ignored.
My Twitter Grade is 93 out of 100. Not that I expected to be elite. So maybe since I’m not the best of the best I should just skip Gnomedex.
I’m attending BlogHer 09 in Chicago BlogHer is how Gnomedex used to be just with more than one track. Sure the uber geek snobs and those who think they are better than you attend BlogHer. But real everyday people attend that conference as well. In some ways BlogHer reminded me of what Gnomedex was when it first started. A way for real people to rub elbows with successful people in the technology industry. Also to have an opportunity to learn from those same people. It is unfortunate there is no conference geared towards doing just that. Giving everyday people opportunity, a chance to learn and have a great time as well. Especially at a price they can afford.
Does Gnomedex lower barriers A bit more honesty – I still can’t believe someone could say that with a straight face.
I did get an email announcing this a fews days ago. But haven’t seen a BrainTrust or Gnomedex Digest email in ages.