RubyFringe was Profitable, People are Happy, and the Sky Didn’t Fall. What Now?”

by Joey deVilla on July 31, 2008

Collage of images from the RubyFringe summary article at \"Rethink\"

Over at Rethink, the blog of Accordion City-based development shop Unspace, Pete Forde shares his thoughts on the RubyFringe conference in an articles titled RubyFringe was Profitable, People are Happy, and the Sky Didn’t Fall. What Now?”.

The article covers all kinds of things including:

  • A loving poke at RailsConf (“A 400 person conference doesn’t become better with 1600 people, but if you’ve already done the hard work, why not scale up?”). That’s a reference to RailsConf 2006 and 2007.
  • The number of attendees (something that I’m going to cover in an article very soon)
  • Why they might not do another RubyFringe (think of all the movie sequels you’ve ever seen)
  • Women and tech conferences
  • You can hold a conference without sponsors (well, Engine Yard helped foot the bill for a party)
  • Consider going with just a single track
  • Just as Obie said that you shouldn’t undercharge for your services, you shouldn’t undercharge for a conference. Charge what it costs, and deliver real value
  • “Great food is important, because nobody can focus for fifteen hours on cold boxed lunches.” And RubyFringe had great food.
  • Care about the details! “This cannot be overstated, and the key word here is care.”

Meghann Millard of Unspace
Meghann Millard, RubyFringe cat herder supreme.

Pete said it in his article, and I feel it bears repeating: Meghann did an amazing job herding cats for RubyFringe, and if you attended RubyFringe and have a little cash to spare, it might be a nice idea to send her some flowers (or an Amazon gift certificate) for all the work she put in. I owe her big-time for thinking of me when she was looking for a host for the Friday night opening events as well as an emergency host when FAILCamp needed one. Thank you, Meghann! I salute you with a filet mignon on a flaming sword!

As for Pete thanking me for the RubyFringe guides and notes from the conference: it was my pleasure. I believed in the event from the get-go and was only too happy to apply the Burning Man ethos to this event (“There are no spectators, only participants”). Besides, that’s what we in the Accordion City tech community do!

If you’re thinking about putting together a tech conference, you should steal as many ideas as you can from RubyFringe, and Pete’s article is a good starting-off point.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

1 colin roald July 31, 2008 at 3:02 pm

As far as “no spectators, only participants” goes, WorldCon got there thirty years before Burning Man.

2 joey July 31, 2008 at 3:09 pm

@Colin Roald: Good point! I’d forgotten about WorldCon, which is a bit of a shame, because I’ve been to one! Burning Man did make more of an impression.

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