NCDEVCON 2011


Adobe sponsored the North Carolina Developer Conference (NCDEVCON) in Raleigh, NC last weekend (Sept 17-18th, 2011). There were over 250 paid attendees — the event sold out.  I was approached (8) weeks ago to help wrangle speakers, content, promotion, logistics on behalf of Adobe.   Hats off to Dan Wilson (@danwilson), Jim Priest (@thecrumb), and the Triangle Area ColdFusion User Group (TACFUG) volunteer members who worked so hard to make this a successful event.

Social Media:

Early on, there was some anxiety by the NCDEVCON team about having a paid event, but that “Angst” was quickly overcome when the social media campaign started.  The registrations started back in July with a handful of paid registrants; and, NCDEVCON team ended up with over 260 paid registrants on Eventbrite.  So, it’s important to thank a few folks!

Special thanks to: @BenNadel, @DanWilson, @cfjedimaster, @tpryan, @codebase, @deesadler@ColdFusion, + ALL the NCDEVCON speakers and sponsors for helping & getting the word out.  (did my best to get the word out as well via @thisishouston1)

NCDEVCON attendees!

Paid Event vs Free

Sure, there was some grumbling about the $60 conference fee.  But, that nominal fee really helped with the event’s success.  “Who doesn’t have $60?”, said Dan Wilson (NCDEVCON/TACFUG) in our weekly conference calls.  Now, there was some accommodations made for the students, but the $60 bucks did ensure an amazingly LOW attendee drop-rate at 5%.  We like to see that as sponsors! SO…

Lesson Learned for Event Organizers: 

When the attendees have a stake in the conference, they are more likely to come to the conference! And your sponsors will be happy to see them turn-out!

AND — 250 NCDEVCOM’ers did turn-out!  They came out to partake in a GREAT Regional Developer Conference! They got:  

  • Some great presentations from new and seasoned presenters
  • Hands-On Labs delivered by top-notch Adobe employees
  • A chance to WIN some valuable software
  • Photo-ops with developer celebrities (I saw the “paparazzi” following Ben Nadel, Ray Camden + others)
  • Connect with each other at an evening network event
  • Have some FUN!  (i.e. checkout presenter & TACFUG member, Bucky Schwarz, get TP’d in his session — video here @33min mark )
….As Ben Nadel would say, “NCDEVCON is Bananas!”


The Venue:

Thanks to Shawn Dunning and NC State University College of Textiles for an awesome building with unbelievable WIFI and AudioVisual equipment!  For conference organizers, if you can hook-up with a local college or university like NC State, then this is a great way to go!  The extra classrooms were very handy in providing extra learning opportunities for Hands-On Labs participants—with no additional overhead.

Adobe Keynote:

Adobe brought its best available speakers to NCDEVCON.  The event also provided the first opportunity for Adobe’s ColdFusion Product team to introduce its new Product Manager — Rakshith Naresh.  Adobe Evangelist, Terry Ryan, did the keynote introduction + provided an overview of where Adobe was headed in the web and mobile space.  This overview and vision was much appreciated!   So, there were a lot of sessions and most of them can be viewed online via NC State College of Textiles Video Services (again outstanding facility!)go.ncsu.edu/ncdevcon2011

There were some links to presentations, demo scripts, or .pdfs which are available on presenter’s blog OR at the Adobe Groups Online presentation repository.

Adobe Sessions & Speakers:

Adobe Table in the Sponsor's Lounge

Adobe community team and ColdFusion Product team engineers staffed a table at NCDEVCON. There was a new T-shirt to giveaway, dubbed the “CF is Da Bomb”. This was a new T-shirt designed by Adam Lehman’s wife (Rachel). There were 15% off coupons available to attendees looking to upgrade/purchase Adobe software. Attendees also got check out some of the news tablets loaded with mobile apps that were created Flash Builder 4.5.

 Evening Social + Free Software Raffle:

Adobe gave out lots of software and promotional items at NCDEVCON, but attendees had to be present for the drawings at the evening social event and the event wrap-up session.  Prizes were drawn by the NCDEVCON organizers.

Congrats to the Winners:

FlashBuilder 4.5 Premium (includes ColdFusion Builder 2)

  • Phillip Molaro
  • William Lee Cherry
  • Michael Schore
  • Jonathan Morgan
  • Jose Galdamez
  • Andrew Duvall
  • Birgit Pauli-Haack
  • Sam Singer Jr
  • Christian Abad
  • Nancy Schipon

CF 9 Standard:

  • Nolan Erck
  • Kip Robinson

Creative Suite 5.5 Master Collection

  • Andrew Abbott
  • James Locus

 

Adobe Community Team Gifting

I personally donated a boxed copy of Flash Builder 4.5 to www.5bucksischange.com.
5 Bucks is change” is an initiative that supports several “micro-charities” through public donations of $5 increments.  Janet Kennedy volunteers for this organization and is based in Raleigh, NC.   As their marketing and social media person, Janet raffled-off the Flash Builder 4.5 software to the NCDEVCON attendees raising over $400.  The NCDEVCON staff  matched that amount for a total gift of $800 that will then be given to various micro-charities.

More Photos:

Mike Brunt aka @CFWhisperer stopped by the Adobe table to pick up his shirt

Adobe SE, Josh Adams at ColdFusion HOL 9-17-11

Oğuz Demirkapı at the evening social

Adobe Evangelist Terry Ryan helping Mobile App HOL attendee 9-18-11

NCDEVCON Attendees

Adobe Evangelists: Ray Camden and Terry Ryan checking into NCDEVCON

Wrap Up:

NCDEVCON certainly provided a great opportunity for developers to get up-to-date with the latest web and mobile tools — And Adobe Was There!  But, NCDEVCON was also good for Adobe! While Adobe is expected to be out amongst its developer community, the event also was the first chance for Adobe’s ColdFusion team and evangelists to meetup, since the program transition to India.  Supporting regional conferences is good for the community eco-system; good for business; and, good PR.  We hope to be at NCDEVCON next year.  

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3 Responses to NCDEVCON 2011

  1. The Campus at NCState is a fantastic place to have a conference. All the rooms have video and the video is available almost immediately online. There is plenty of space and plenty of beer. This is one not to miss next year.

  2. I was personally very impressed by all the TACFUG volunteers wearing their User Group T-shirts helping out at NCDEVCON… Roger, you totally get it! It does take a strong User Group membership to help out in an effort like this. Next year, I hope to get more involvement from Adobe for sessions on mobile and HMTL5…until then, Cheers! — Aaron

  3. Roger Austin @RogerTheGeek says:

    Thanks for the support that Adobe has shown to TACFUG and to NCDevCon. Special admiration goes to those guys who flew 30 hours to get to Raleigh and were still so enthusiastic. The Adobe community people were out in force to support us. It is great to hear that the Adobe sponsorship was validated by the attendance and the enthusiasm of the crowd.

    I was asked by several people about other local ColdFusion conferences. I have heard comments at other venues about why there aren’t more local conferences in other parts of the US. Some of the folks were concerned that Adobe seemed to concentrate on the US East coast venues.

    The explanation is really that the local user group is what drives a local conference. For example, RIACon was run by the Capital Area ColdFusion User Group (CACFUG). NCDevCon was run by the Triangle Area ColdFusion User Group (TACFUG.) Without the support of the local user group, the conferences don’t happen. We also have the support of a great school with the College of Textiles at North Carolina State University who provided the awesome facility. Of course, the great sponsorships were also a key part of it.

    For those who want a local conference in their area, I would suggest you look at your local user group first. If it isn’t active, do something about that first. You can’t run a local conference without a solid volunteer base and active UG leadership. The next step is to talk to people who have run local conferences to get ideas. Attend a local conference and glean all the information you can about how it happened. The Adobe community people are a great resource for you.

    Another thing that helps NCDevCon is the wide range of subjects. It isn’t just a ColdFusion meeting, but draws people from front-end, Javascript, design, mobile, tools, and other meetups. The RTP area is a hotbed of technology so there is a large population of geeks to draw in. The more people from other technology areas that get a taste of what ColdFusion offers during NCDevCon, the more folks who realize that the platform is very active and can offer them a high level of productivity gain.