Well I finally attended my first unConference. Last week I went to CloudCamp Boston at Microsoft’s deftly named NERD Center (New England Research & Development) in Cambridge, MA. I wasn’t quite sure what to expect from the format or the quality of the content. On balance, I’d say it was worthwhile attending. The unConference actually directly followed a real conference (Xconomy Boston’s Cloud3 Forum), so I’m not sure if that had any impact on the content or quality of what was presented at CloudCamp.
I will say that I was pretty disappointed in the first half of the session which began with (thankfully) short sales pitches by the sponsors. That was followed by an “unPanel” where self-proclaimed experts picked from attendees in the room answered about a dozen questions from the audience. Unfortunately, not everyone who went up there qualified as an expert while actual experts like Cisco’s Christopher Hoff (@beaker) and Canonical’s John Willis (@botchgalupe) sat back. Additionally, many of the questions were quite pedestrian. This leads me to a pet peeve with a lot of conferences today is that the content is geared towards the great unwashed and doesn’t dig deep enough to people who have the basic understanding of the subject at hand. I’m no architect by any stretch — hell, I haven’t programmed a damn thing since a Fortran class I had in college 20+ years ago — but still found the content too basic. I felt the same way about the Inbound Marketing Summit this fall, although I do think it went a little deeper.
The second half of CloudCamp where the attendees broke into improptu breakout sessions was a lot better. The highlight for me was Hoff’s “Cloudifornication” presentation which can be found here (actually this is from the Microsoft BlueHat conference this summer). Anyone interested in the security implications of moving to the Cloud should watch. Any anyone who has line-of-business responsibility for building or consuming Cloud apps should pass. It’s never fun to know how the sausage is made. Ignorance is bliss.
Finally, let me leave you with an interview that I did with Cory von Wallenstein who is VP, Product Marketing at Dynamic Network Systems. The interview came about from a question on Twitter by @wisesumo who wanted to know what the company thought about Google’s newly introduced DNS services. This was my first attempt at consumer journalism. The video came out great, but unfortunately my tripod sucked and directly afterward my camera crashed to the ground and is now on my way to the factory to see if it can be repaired. Lesson learned.