OzFox 2007 - Conference with good ideas
I was visiting the OzFox 2007 Web site the last couple of days because I am trying to figure out if I can some how attend the conference. I think it would be cool to blog live from down under. Right now it is a matter of arranging my schedule and determine if the business model works.
Craig Bailey has done a real nice job with this site. The only thing it is missing is the hotel cost, which I understand will be added soon. Looks like Craig is doing some things I think are important for future conferences to include or adopt:
- Promote new speaker talent. OzFox is looking for local talent from Australia and New Zealand. Whil Hentzen was well known for doing something similar years ago with GLGDW. He took risks and grew the speaker pool and thus broadened the materials presented at FoxPro conferences. I have always been grateful to Whil for taking a chance on a punk from Sterling Heights Michigan back in 2000. Last year Bob Kocher dragged Craig Boyd from his basement in Minnesota to participate in the Southwest Fox Keynote and now he is a rock star, and this year Kevin Cully based the entire FoxForward conference on volunteers and introduced the community to some rising stars with Kevin Ragsdale and Bo Durban getting some serious buzz on their sessions (to mention only two). This is tough to balance because speakers and their topics are the number one draw to a conference.
- Building community - Craig has been banging the Fox Community drum down under for quite a while with his participation in the OzFox Rocks Podcast with Scott Scovell, plus organizing OzFox Lite and previous OzFox conferences. I recall the days when Microsoft held special meetings for user group leaders at DevCon, and Whil had a special dinner where he organized a user group leader dinner at GLGDW. Whil and Bob Kocher offered discounts to user group members.
- Networking - based on strong feedback from the last OzFox, attendees want more time to network with each other. OzFox will have a session dedicated to networking. I have said for years the in between session material/discussion is as valuable as the conference sessions. While I am not sure a session has to be dedicated to the topic, I think conference organizers need to innovate ideas on how to enhance the networking experience. Interesting decision and hopefully one to start other ideas flowing.
OzFox sounds like a great conference. If you live anywhere within an earshot of Sydney you need to register right away. There are nine days left to take advantage of the least expensive registration cost.
My first crack at airfare on Northwest was taking me from Detroit to Sydney east over the Atlantic instead of directly west. Three days and four or five stops and US$10,000. I laughed until I had tears in my eyes. I would have literally seen the world from 38,000 feet.
All I have to do is see if I can jam a week out of my schedule, possibly work out some resource issues with one March deployment, and see if I can convince the other shareholder to spring for the expenses. Fingers crossed this all works out, but I am realistic when I review all the work I have to do in the first quarter of 2007. If not, I will be reading some one else's blog to hear about all the cool stuff I missed.