I'm winding down from Joel Spolsky's Business of Software Conference which was jointly organized by Red Gate's Neil Davidson. The conference exceeded my expectations from the food (they even fed us on the way out the door; I think I gained 10 lbs), the venue (the wifi worked even though my laptop didn't), the speakers (the Pecha Kucha was hilarious), and the support staff that was actually (wait for it) friendly and helpful.
But what differentiated this conference were the attendees who came from all corners of the globe -- some working in one or two person shops, some just setting out on their own, others who paid their own airfare and hotel. People came because they wanted to learn, and they paid their own way to do so. While I was fortunate that my registration was covered by my employer, I wondered if I would have attended if it wasn't, and I would honestly say, yes, I would.
The conference was like being in a classroom of 300 students were everyone was the best student in the class. On Monday morning, I took a seat and was immediately greeted with a "Hi, I'm Johh, and I'm here because I have[xyz business issue] that I would like to find a solution to." And that wasn't the exception. I've never witnessed anything like it. It is a tremendous conference.
I'm currently reviewing my notes which should provide a lot of fodder for new entries. There was so much information in such a short period, that my neurons are just now finishing processing it all.