Editor’s NOTE: This is a moldie oldie that I pulled from a text dump archive. None of the links will work anymore (or 99% won’t) – but the names and companies have NOT changed.
So now that I’ve caught up with the 300+ emails while I was away at the 3rd annual FileMaker Pro Developer’s Conference (DEVCON) in Monterey – I can sum the experience up in one word: WOW!.
This year’s attendance was AMAZING – over 900 FileMaker Pro fanatics from a dozen countries! WOW.
In years past, I have presented a number of the sessions (4 the first year and 6 last year) – but this year I decided to be just an average shnook attendee. WOW. It was mind-blowing.
I’ve been doing this a long time – but never, never, have I seen 900+ people in one place ALL talking about FileMaker. WOW. I mean it was great – people huddled over PowerBooks and ThinkPads in the lobby, people talking about scripting techniques in the elevators, all 900 people sitting down for lunch to help complete strangers with any advice they could… WOW.
The conference sessions were also pretty good. They don’t quite get a “WOW” – but hey, that’s the way it goes some times. I particularly liked the session by Chris Moyer on “Intro to ODBC” and Rich Columbre and Brian Yoder’s session on “The Business Side of FileMaker”. I also got a lot out of Jay’s session on “WinBatch and FileMaker” – he’s done some AMAZING stuff (even if it IS on the platform controlled by the “dark side”).
Yes, the sessions were good, but the PEOPLE were GREAT. I had the opportunity to meet (and drink heavily with) a bunch of good folks from Sweden, Norway, Australia, New Zealand, and the UK. It turns out that several of these people had even HEARD of ClickWare – WOW! Not only that – but I discovered that they had come up with the same methodologies for the same problems that I’ve faced when doing custom development. WOW.
I also learned that you don’t EVEN want to get into a contest to see who can be the last person standing when it comes to alcohol consumption… OWW… I mean – WOW. Were else could you get the opportunity to talk FileMaker, meet interesting people, have the cocktail of your choice, and wind up talking until 6:00am – EVERY NIGHT? Let’s just say “sleep” wasn’t high on the priority list for the entire event!
People helping people was the overriding theme. I would run outside to grab a smoke, and would wind up talking with 10 or 15 people on everything from the best way to dynamically sort a portal to uses for FileMaker that boggle the mind. I talked with people from Fire Departments, State Legislators, elementary schools, independent developers, in-house developers, hobbyists, first-time users, plug-in developers, and FileMaker, Inc. technical support folks.
I also had the opportunity to get to know several very important (and high-ranking) people from FileMaker Inc. Yes, it’s true! They made themselves available and were anxious to gain input on how to make the product even better than it is today. Specifically, David Aune (Executive VP of Marketing, Technical Support and FSA manager) and Christian Thomas (a FileMaker Product Manager) were extremely generous with their time, energy and efforts in soliciting people’s opinions and gathering input on a wide variety of topics.
Beyond the parties, beyond the actual sessions, beyond the food, beyond the beautiful surroundings, beyond the lack of sleep, the thing that made the conference for me was the people. A true Community. The FileMaker community. All I can say is WOW!