Friday, August 24, 2007

TechWave 2007 - A few last recommendations

As I've mentioned previously, TechWave 2007 was (IMHO) one of the best TechWave's we've had in years.  Nonetheless, there is always room for improvement.  I've made some specific comments in my previous posts, but there are a few general suggestions that are the most important:


Quite a few Sybase customers are large corporations or government agencies that have long approval cycles for travel.  Sybase could encourage greater attendance at future TechWaves if it got the information about when and where they were occurring out much sooner.  Don't wait for the ink to dry on the signatures on the contract to get that information out to customers.  Too late for this year, but that would be great information to have available at the prior TechWave.

Along those same lines, move up the call for papers so that people can know a lot sooner what content is going to be available at the conference. That's another important piece of information people will need to use to decide whether they should attend or not. As with the date and location of the next conference, the call for papers should open at the end of or shortly after the close of the prior TechWave. Also, when presenting the accepted papers on the registration site, make sure that information on who is doing the presentation is available as well. That's important information used by many people to decide which sessions to attend.

Strut your stuff

One of the reasons that this particular TechWave was so much better than recent ones is because of the amount of "wow" factor built into the technical keynote (and plenary session). Future TechWave's should amp up the volume even more. You've got a captive body of your existing customers, use every opportunity to demonstrate how Sybase has solutions they may find useful.

For example, make RFID equipped badges available as an option to the barcoded variety. To encourage people to use the RFID equipped version, make it the equivalent of a Disneyland FastPass (or more accurately, the Dream FastPass) in that holders of RFID badges would be allowed to enter keynotes, meals, sessions, etc. earlier and obtain preferred seating. People with RFID badges wouldn't have to have cards stamped by vendors in the exhibit hall to enter contests, they would be automatically entered by just walking past the vendors booth. Then use RFID Anywhere powered technology to capture session attendance information for the people with RFID badges.

Have trial mobile devices again, but this time have them equipped with Sybase powered mobile solutions that are actually useful during TechWave (e.g., allowing them to view and update their session information). Sybase could still allow a third-party to handle conference registration and session selection, but require as part of the contract replication to Sybase databases using Sybase replication technology. The mobile devices could then interact with those Sybase databases using Mobilink or similar Sybase technology. Make that same technology available for download so that people who already have compatible devices could simply download and run it on their own devices. Perhaps some of that software could be used during a keynote session to allow attendees to do live interaction (e.g., responding to a poll, the results of which are shown live onscreen as people vote).

Location, location, location

In the future, I'd recommend locations that are:
(a) near a major airport hub so that travel is more convenient,
(b) in a more family friendly environment (Even for those who aren't bringing family along, there are some locations (e.g., Las Vegas) which can make it more difficult to get travel funding approved.)

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