Schedule for MySQL user conference 2012 published
The program for this year's MySQL conference is now published.
As regular readers will remember, I served on the program committee this year and was one of those who appealed for people to send in great proposals. I would now like to thank all of you that sent in proposals. On my quick count we had over 250 proposals, and if I look at my own ratings I'd say about 180 of them were really good, conference worthy talks (and this already excludes some pretty good talks). A related piece of trivia was that this might have been the first year ever that the deadline for the Call for Proposals wasn't extended, which possibly took some of you by surprise. We simply got so many good talks by the deadline, that there wasn't any need to.
The bad news is that only 63 talks and 16 tutorials could be accepted. The good news is that the quality of the conference will be really good, since the CfP turned out to be so competitive. I was at the recent Percona Live UK event in London, and I can tell you it was the highest quality conference I've ever been to. Now the Santa Clara conference is shaping up to be even more exciting.
If your talk wasn't selected, I feel your pain. Some really good ones weren't. There are plans for BoF sessions and a lighting talk round, you should watch out for announcements coming up.
Now that we have such great content on offer, it is a good time to talk about the next step: attendance. Of course, with such great content, and so many new technologies to learn about, who wouldn't want to attend this conference? But I'll say a few words from my own perspective anyway.
As Open Source conferences go this is one of the more established ones. As it's been going since 2003, this seems to be a 10 year anniversary! At the same time it has been transforming and shifting ownership a little in the past years. This year Percona is arranging it for the first time. And the point with what I'm going to say is: I'd like to see the conference continue for another 10 years too! It's one of the cornerstones of the MySQL community. And Percona - or any organizer - can really only continue to do it if the income from the conference will match the costs. And the two primary sources of income in a conference are attendance fees and sponsorships. So this is where we can now help.
The first one is easy. I just talked to a collague in the MySQL world who mentioned he hasn't been to the conference for a few years, as he felt there wasn't much new stuff to learn about so he couldn't really justify the cost of traveling there. I can kind of see that, I remember years when there would be lots of talks on Falcon, Maria engine and announcements of releases that didn't quite happen yet... But not so this year! The progress we've made in the MySQL world in the past year is amazing (so amazing in fact, I will cover some personal favorites in a completely separate blog post). So it should be a no-brainer to attend.
Note that Percona seems to have lowered also the price a little bit compared to what O'Reilly used to do. This is a good reason to also buy into the tutorials, they are often the best part! (I'm giving one on High-Availability solutions.)
And of course, once you have registered yourself as an attendee, make sure to tell some friends. If you have a blog or a podcast, make some noise about it. Oh right, apparently they already did that... Great work, Sheeri and Gerry!
Then we come to the other point: sponsors.
It's great to see Percona has managed to attract a nice group of sponsors. We should all be thankful to them, they help make the conference happen.
Now, it is obvious that for us that want to attend the conference, what we want from the sponsors is their money. I mean I don't get their money, but it helps make the conference happen. Ok, now let's ask ourselves, what do the sponsors want? The answer is: they want me and you!
This is great, it means me and you can help again. We can help make sure the sponsors want to return again next year.
In particular, you can help by committing to do things like:
- Attend at least one of the sponsored breakout sessions.
- Ask a question about the session you attended, either at the session or after it at the vendor's booth.
- Visit as many vendors in the Exhibition hall as you can.
- Give the vendors your business card, or email address if you don't have a card.
- When they ask you if they can send you an email once in a while, say yes. Come on, you can do it for the conference!
- Talk to the vendors, or course especially if you like what they're doing. (If you don't, you can still give feedback, but should of course be very polite!)
- There's usually a game where you can collect pins or stickers by visiting the various booths (and again, giving them your contact details). Play it if you have time.
The point with all of the above is that any properly run businesses work through some kind of reporting and statistics. If a sponsor can go back and say that their talk was well attended and they got a lot of questions about their product, it means it was worth their while sponsoring the conference. If a sponsor goes back and counts hundreds of business cards (these are called leads in sales jargon) that they can add to their CRM system, then they'll probably see their visit as a success. If they only got 13 business cards, they might not return the next year.
When you know how it works, it's quite simple. It's a small thing for you to do, but counts a lot to them. (Even if you can't afford to attend the conference, but if you live in the Bay area, you could still consider visiting the free BoFs and then also make a visit to a few vendors in the Exhibition area, and finally end your evening at the lobby bar in some really nice company...)
If we do all of this well, then we'll get to meet for another great user conference in 2013 too. But more importantly, if the conference goes really well (especially wrt financials) then we can hope that Percona will be bold enough to extend it with one more day for 2013, which would be great considering how much great content couldn't fit into this years conference.