As a bit of a follow up to last night’s Gnomedex comments, let me say this. I do think it’s the attendees that make a conference great. The great thing about Gnomedex is that the attendees are interesting people who I enjoy meeting and talking to. That’s really even more important than who the speakers are and who the vendors may be. (That stuff is more important to my boss when she decides whether to pay for the trip or not, so that is somewhat important, obviously) Now I understand that there are logistical concerns with being in Des Moines, certainly the media pays no attention to it, there’s a limit to how big it could grow, and certainly there is a faction of people who simply don’t want to go to Des Moines because it’s not exciting enough. I could easily see the desire to move it somewhere else in order for it to grow, but I’m not thinking Vegas is the answer to these problems. One, media attention in Vegas will be even more invisible, because Gnomedex is just yet another conference going on in Vegas, probably one of 20 that same weekend. You’re not going to get anyone’s attention locally. Two, Lockergnome is a Midwestern company. It got it’s start in Iowa, has gotten a ton of support from people in that area of the country, and can draw on the fact that there’s a local company throwing this event to get other Iowans involved. I don’t know if you noticed this or not, but most of the attendees were from Iowa and the surrounding states. No they weren’t the “big-name” attendees and they weren’t the one’s who most people were paying attention to, but they easily made up the large majority of the 400-500 people who attended the conference. (And most of them were just as interesting, so those of you who could only manage to hang out with the “name” attendees missed out on some really insightful people.) Moving it to Vegas is a slap in the face to these people, in my opinion.
Seriously, if Des Moines simply doesn’t have the infrastructure to support a bigger conference, there are places somewhat close by that do, and would love to hold Gnomedex. This would solve your problems with size and still make it accessible to those same people who have supported Lockergnome from way back. (You know, before Chris was a big west coast media star! And no, I’m not one of them, I’ve only been a subscriber for about 2 years now, but someone needs to speak up for these people!) I’d seriously look at the Twin Cities, Indianapolis, St. Louis, Kansas City, Denver, Omaha, or even here in Columbus, OH before I considered moving to Vegas. That would make more sense if you’re interested in returning the loyalty that these people have given Lockergnome. I guess we’ll see how interested they are in that.
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