Etech: how to really screw up a conference


It is the last day of Etech and the people are slowly coming into to see a last day of exiting panels and sessions.

So much for the theory.

In practice we have been moved to one upper floor to three small room, which after 10 min start of the conference are already highly smelling, overcrowded – and most of the people are not even here.

The wifi is – again – dropping on and off and let’s not start to even talk about those hall: No chairs around (people are sitting on the ground in hope of having a power plug somewhere, sit in the windows, barely three sofas with a little chair), no refreshments, only in the shorts breaks and very careful guarded by the employees. To give a more visual of this: People are buying themselfes coffee at the Starbucks downstairs.

Well, lunch will be good, as we have to get this on our own today – somewhere perhaps is a place for probably still at least 700-1000 people.

Since I started writing the article, about another 50 people came into the hall – well, they will not have a place to go anyway.

Well, and that is only 45 minutes into this day.

What do I think about the conference so far: It is nice to drink a lot of coffee and talk to people in the hall. But for that I don’t need to come to this kind of conference, I can attend a bay area geek dinner or visit some companies.

The only in any way exciting stuff until now where the multi touch sensor table and Phil Torrone robot stuff. Not a lot for 3,5 days of a conference. Flying 9 time zones for just chit chat in the floor room?

Oh and good news for the next Etech? It will be in the same hotel – again. From my point of view I don’t think I need to come back for that except a very exciting program it put onto the table.

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2 Responses to “Etech: how to really screw up a conference”

  1. mark says:

    I’m sorry to hear this. I have fond memories of prior years. I couldn’t make it this year, but it seemed to me that the conference was getting too big. Size brings complications. More vendor sponsrship among them, which brings more commercial and less “emerging”. Based on the backchannel this week it sounds like I mostly missed the socializing and not so much the content.

    Now the tough question is: what is the interesting tech conference that will replace etech? I ruled out SuperNova, Pop!Tech and a few others because they aren’t geeky enough, too costly, etc. OScon is good but not the quite the same. Now that I live far from the technology hubs I miss my tribe, and things like etech are my way of maintaining personal contact :-(

  2. Janko says:

    Hey Nicole, I thought ETech was still worth it, but of course my travel times are much shorter. There definitly were some shortcomings this year, especially with the last day – my feeling was that the O’Reilly staff was pretty embarrassed about some of that stuff as well.

    However, I thought some of the products and concepts shown have a lot of potential. Maybe even too much to apprehend yet. I think I kind of felt like you about the conference two years ago. That was the ETech Flickr launched – and I was thinking: Now who the heck needs something like that? :)

    Either way – it was great meeting you!