Sunday, January 21, 2007

CodeMash: Closing Thoughts

CodeMash 2007 v1.0 is now complete, and I've had the chance to finally get plenty of sleep in my own bed.  I uploaded the last photos from my camera to Flickr, and now I'm just sitting here amazed that the event went so smoothly and is getting great feedback on the Blogosphere (in fact, "CodeMash" is the #2 #1 search term on Technorati at the moment--how cool is that!??!?).

The reason the conference was such a success really comes down to planning.  We didn't have all of the details nailed down when we arrived at the venue on Wednesday, but we did have the vast majority of them handled.  This created a natural momentum that allowed the event to just drive itself to completion, whether we were there or not! 

The Kalahari staff was just amazing in being responsive to our needs on that first day (I think we wore out the help line's digits on their phones).  They were able to provide anything that we needed, from tables and chairs to extension cords to stapling banners to the wall. 

As usual, I didn't get a chance to attend many sessions because I was traveling from room to room to make sure that there were no issues.  I also tried to chat with the exhibiting sponsors to handle issues or help them feel welcomed, and I popped into the speaker lounge on occasion to see who was hanging out.  By the end of the first day, my legs were really aching, and I had a wicked blister on my toe.

I thought it would be cool to start compiling a list of "fun facts" about the event.  Perhaps the other organizers will follow suit with trivia that I left out/was not aware of.

  • The CodeMash "Gear Head" logo was originally brown, not green.
  • The conference was originally named "Free Your Mind", but that sounded like a better tagline than a conference name.  John Hopkins, president of the .NET User Group in Southfield, MI, owned the domain name "", and let us have it. 
  • "DevMash" was one of the names being considered alongside "CodeMash".
  • There is a little error on the cover of the Conference Guide, but it's really only apparent to me (since I'm the one who did the layout).  The "2007" under the CodeMash logo is supposed to be in a wider/thicker/more-technical typeface.  However, I used a non-standard font when I created it, and forgot to provide this to the print shop.  The result is that MS Publisher defaulted to Arial, and the final "2007" came out small and weak looking.
  • Speaking of the Conference Guide, the clever "Welcome" message was written by Jason Gilmore.
  • The blurry code that you see as the background of the cover is actually from my ZMachine.NET project (the opcode handler methods section).
  • There's a reason why this event's T-shirt strongly resembles the Day of .NET in Ann Arbor shirt: I'm not all that creative, and I happened to have produced both shirts...  Maybe the next one will be done by a real designer!  /grin
  • The registration fee that you paid went entirely for food (venue prices are expensive, for those of you playing along at home).  If we charged more, then we could have had hot meals all of the time.  But, I think that Jim Holmes and Dianne Marsh did a fantastic job of balancing the menu and the pricing.
  • Even with all of the planning around meals, we were surprised in the last week by the venue pricing for soda, bottled water, and coffee service.  A big thanks goes out to two of the sponsors in particular who stepped up after making their initial commitment to ensure that attendees would have free beverages throughout the days:

    Microsoft paid for coffee service (i.e., "Microsoft provided the Java")

    Pillar Technology was a superb sponsor in stepping up and offering to cover the pop and bottled water expenses with no hesitation after we approached them while they were setting up on site at the conference. 
  • Many of the books that were given away at the close of the event were written by our speakers, and we had those speakers sign the books (look to see if yours was signed!).
  • Scott Ambler signed each of his Refactoring Databases books with a unique message.
  • Josh Holmes and Brian Prince shaved their heads before the blog-post threshold was actually met...
  • Ted Neward loved the venue in part because they served Coke instead of Pepsi.  I didn't have the heart to tell him that I personally found this to be a flaw... ;-)