Monday, January 13, 2014

So Long, CodeMash!

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After eight amazing years it’s time for me to step aside from CodeMash and let others bring new vision and energy to CodeMash. As of last Friday I’m no longer the President of the Board. I’ve stepped down, and Brian Prince is taking over.

It’s been eight wonderful years of working with amazing, tiny crew. We started off year zero of CodeMash with something around 220 attendees, speakers, and staff. I used “Almost 300 attendees!” as marketing schtick when trying to pimp the next year.

Oh how we’ve grown!

This year we had 220 family members signed up—the same amount as the first year’s total attendance! KidzMash (something I dreamed up with Jason Gilmore while on a short phone call during one of my long commutes) has grown to the point where they need two rooms and were nearly overflowing during the raffle.

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This year there were roughly 2,000 attendees, speakers, and staff in attendance, and Jon Skeet’s morning talk in the main ballroom had more folks than either of our first two conferences!

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CodeMash has been an incredible success for many, many reasons:

  • An wonderful venue whose staff are truly partners, and have become part of the CodeMash family
  • A tiny core of five to eight core organizers who are close friends. We succeed by absolute delegation and total responsibility for owing every detail of execution on our ideas.
  • A ruthless focus on keeping to our main ideals: kickass content on a broad range of topics. We constantly deflect neat ideas that don’t align with our mission.
  • Content selection committees that have sifted through hundreds of submissions each year to distill out amazing material. We’ve had between 600 – 800 submissions the last five years and that’s an incredible amount of work and stress to deal with!
  • World-class speakers who donate their time. (CodeMash’s financial model doesn’t enable us to cover travel expenses or stipends. Speakers are losing money while at CodeMash, although I’m proud that unlike many larger conferences we do cover speakers’ hotel nights.)

CodeMash isn’t unique in those things; however. There are larger conferences that have professional full-time staff. They plan and execute their conferences flawlessly with a great lineup of content presented at cool venues. What makes CodeMash truly different?

THE ATTENDEES.

We’ve been blessed with a core of amazing attendees who bring great passion, true passion unlike the asinine “passion” marketing blabberspeak facile crap, to the conference. Attendees who spend as much time on the couches in the hallways talking in tiny groups as they do in breakout sessions with 120 folks. Attendees who honestly care about productive, not divisive, discussions with geeks who live and breathe in different platforms. Attendees who take what they’ve learned at CodeMash and return to work and life re-energized and willing to try a few new things.

It’s YOU who make CodeMash so great.

Thank you for all you’ve given me. It’s dwarfed what I’ve given.

So long, and thanks for all the fish. Or bacon.

1 Comments:

Blogger Calvin Allen said...

I've never had the pleasure to attend CodeMash (would have been this year, but had a baby :)), but I follow you on Twitter and I see the amount of time and effort you put into it.

Whether or not everyone agrees, I am grateful for your efforts all these years for the sake of the community!

1/13/2014 10:26 AM  

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