IndyTechFest was back for a third edition on May 22nd, 2010 with sessions in seven tracks, plus an all-day Open Space and Lunch & Learns on topics of interest to professional software developers, architects, and database administrators.

Over 400 pros attended and participated. They asked pointed questions and discussed dozens of topics that are the daily domain of those in the application development profession. We expect many of the presentations to be available on SlideShare. We will post links as they become known.

We send a special Thank You to the sponsors, without whose support we would not be able to deliver a day of learning and discovery and casual networking at no fee to attendees.

Thank you to the two dozen volunteers, 37 speakers, and 18 prize sponsors. The day was hosted by IndyNDA and IndyPASS.

Finally, we appreciated the insights provided by Jesse Liberty in his keynote address and packed session. Double duty, and appreciated by all!

Keynote:
Are My Three Screens Cloudy?
Jesse Liberty

Thinking Faster: The tsunami of new interlocking technologies introduced in the past 36 months.
Thinking Wider: Is Silverlight / Win Phone 7 the flag-bearer for the revolution?
Thinking Deeper: Agile, test-driven, nimble, decoupled, component based.
Thinking Weirder: TransMedia – don’t just shrink your application; complement it.

Jesse Liberty, Silverlight Geek, is a Developer Community Program Manager for Microsoft Silverlight.net. Lately he has been focused on Component-based, Test-Driven, Cross-platform line-of-business application development for both the Web and the Windows Phone Series 7, and he continues to lead the development of the open source  Silverlight HyperVideo Platform. Liberty is the author of over two dozen books, and his blog  is a required resource for Silverlight programmers. His twenty years of programming experience include stints as a Distinguished Software Engineer at AT&T; Vice President of Human-Computer Interaction at Citibank and Software Architect at PBS/Learning Link. He can be reached at jliberty@microsoft.com

 

Download a printable version of the IndyTechFest Agenda
 
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Evaluations are a valuable aspect of IndyTechFest. Your frank input helps us determine tracks, topics, and speakers for IndyTechFest 2011. Download the detailed results.

Here are a few Top 10s:

Most Attended Sessions
1
10:00 AM
Visual Basic 2010 Overview
By Anthony Green
2
1:45 PM
C# 4.0 Overview
By Prakash Balasubramanian
3
3:00 PM
C# Tips and Tricks
By Mark Strawmyer
4
10:00 AM
Windows Presentation Foundation for Developers
By Phil Japikse
5
11:15 AM
Data Maintenance Essentials
By Brad McGehee
6
4:15 PM
Application Development with Silverlight 4
By Jesse Liberty
7
1:45 PM
The State of Data Services: Open Data for the Open Web
By Dan Rigsby
8
11:15 AM
Implementing MVVM for WPF
By Phil Japikse
9
3:00 PM
Designing High Performance I/O Subsystems for SQL Server
By Jimmy May
10
Lunch and Learn
Q&A with Microsoft
By Various
 
Top 10 Best Rated Sessions
1
3:00 PM
Open Space Session
Facilitated By Alan Stevens
2
1:45 PM
The State of Data Services: Open Data for the Open Web
By Dan Rigsby
3
4:15 PM
Putting Your Process on a Diet: An Introduction to Lean
By Tim Wingfield
4
10:00 AM
SQL Server Internals and Architecture
By Kevin Kline
5
4:15 PM
Open Space Session
Facilitated By Alan Stevens
6
10:00 AM
Open Space Session
Facilitated By Alan Stevens
7
11:15 AM
Getting Started with Online Mapping Services
By Adam Jones
8
3:00 PM
Designing High Performance I/O Subsystems for SQL Server
By Jimmy May
9
4:15 PM
Professional SharePoint Development
By Rob Bogue
10
10:00 AM
Visual Heads Up Display
By William Steele
 
Top 10 Best Rated Speakers
1
Alan Stevens
2
William Steele
3
Dan Rigsby
4
Jesse Liberty
5
Kevin Kline
6
Adam Jones
7
Hope Foley
8
Angela Dugan
9
Tim Wingfield
10
Dave Bost
 

The Cost of a "No Show"
by Brad! Jones, Cofounder of IndyTechFest

I wanted to thank everyone that attended the IndyTechFest 2010 this year. Based on the reviews, it turned out to be a great conference and a lot was learned! With a "last minute" change to a new, more expensive venue, I think it was pulled off nicely. We did get some feedback from the attendees, but please do feel free to continue to provide your thoughts on the conference so we can make the next one even better. We are already starting discussions, planning, and reservations for 2011!

The one issue that we have to address for IndyTechFest is that of limited registrations and "No Shows". We had nearly 200 people register and not show up to the event. I want to personally thank the dozen or so who informed us that they would not show up as it allowed us to open their spots to others.

While we plan for a certain number of people to not show up, we (the organizers) have to plan for who we believe will show up. We actually have to pay in advance for the number of attendees that will be there. That means that if we planned on 500 people being there, we might register 600 knowing we will have a dropout rate of 100 or more. If only 450 people show up and we planned for 500, then we still pay for the 50 people between 450 and 500 that are not there. This payment includes paying for coffee they don't drink, swag, that they don't get, printing of papers that don't get handed out, meals that don't get eaten, and more.

Additionally, when we have those 50 seats left open, it means that there are 50 others who lost the opportunity to show up. It means that there are people who wanted to come, that didn't get to register because someone else did, but then they could have -- if they had only known that someone wasn’t' going to show up.

We know emergencies happen. That is why we overbook.

What did it cost for those that didn't show up to IndyTechFest? For the 2010 event, it cost around $40 in variable costs for each no show beyond what we expected. For 50 people, that is $2000 in variable costs alone that were spent and wasted. That is a serious chunk of cash for a conference hosted by user groups.

What is the point of all this? IndyTechFest takes a lot of time and money to put on. We are interested in figuring out how to make sure the most people can attend at the least cost. We want to continue to make the conference free; however, if it costs $40 - $50 dollars to have an unfilled seat, then we need to make sure there are no "No Shows". More importantly since we are spending the $40 anyway, we want to make sure someone gets to take advantage of the conference.

It is easy to skip out on something that doesn't cost you; however, I thought it worth noting that it did cost someone. As one of the organizers of IndyTechFest, I can say that as we look to expand this conference in 2011 to be even bigger, the one thing we have to figure out is how to get the no show percentage much lower -- if not near zero.

Thanks for listening to my rant.

Brad!

Of course, one question that might be lingering in the back of your mind is... what would it cost to attend IndyTechFest if it were a business and not something that the founders did as a charity. The ~$40 mentioned above was only the variable cost for each individual attending. Most of the costs assocated are fixed.

My quick calculations put the break-even value of the conference for attendees at $196. That would be the minimum we'd have to pay to cover the time and costs. If we had to pay the volunteers that worked on the night before the show and the day of the show, then the cost would quickly jump well over $200 per attendee. If we had to pay the speakers and the volunteers more "standard" rates (i.e. cover hotel room), the cost would begin to encroach on $250.

IndyTechFest is a pretty good value for free!
 

Attendence at IndyTechFest was at no charge, thanks to the generosity of these fine sponsors.
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