Spent my first full day in San Francisco and boy are my legs tired. Quite a bit more geography here than where I’m from (plus you can’t really walk to get anywhere in Mobile, AL. Cars are definitely required). Went by the convention center and got registered, so now I definitely have a spot at the conference. We skipped the NetBeans Day Session (since we are die hard Eclipse faithful), but Tim Bray blogged about it.
One thing that struck from a social networking point of view is the conference badge. It consists of a neck strap attached to a plastic sleeve that holds a paper printout of what level of access you have to the conference. It also holds a plastic smart card with you name and company listed on it and an embedded chip. The chip is used for keeping track of attendance to sessions and also to use the internet terminals at the conference.
Now the social networking part, the name and company listed on the smart card are in quite tiny print. You wear this around your neck during the conference, so anyone talking around you should be able to see you name on the badge (in case they have forgotten or just to strike up a conversation with you by name). But from the font size of this thing, I don’t think anyone without perfect vision is going to be able to read this thing from more than a few feet away. Also missing from the conference badge is where you are from. This is another way for people to strike up conversations if they see a location that is familiar to them or interesting, but alas, it is not listed on the badge. Kathy Sierra would probably agree with me on this point (and by the way she will be signing books along with Bert Bates tomorrow at 3:00pm, hopefully I can say hi). Am I the only one that has this idea about the use of the badge for social networking??? I think not.
Sybase got it exactly right last year at TechWave 2004 in Orlando, FL, where a coworker and I presented a great session if I do say so myself. 🙂 The TechWave conference badges very, very prominently (and in large font) displayed your name, company, and where you were from. This made it very easy to strike up conversations with people on a variety of things. We’ll see how they do for TechWave 2005
Case in point, one person I made the acquaintance of at the conference had the name Don Clayton. Now having worked in high school at a Putt-Putt Golf and Games, I knew that Don S. Clayton created Putt-Putt in 1954 (actually met him in 1994), so I walked up to this individual and asked if he knew who the other famous Don Clayton was…interesting conversation ensued. So Strke One against Sun. Computer people as a general rule need as much help as possible socializing, so please give them every nudge and edge you can.
Well tomorrow my official coverage begins. We start at 8:30am with a keynote from Jonathan Schwartz (who is a prolific blogger). Can’t wait to get started.
If you are out here at the conference and want to get together, give me a ring on my cell or send an e-mail. It is listed in the top right corner.