Live in San Francisco? Going to be in the area for JavaOne? Then be like Ian, Bryan, Simon, Lauren or any of the other cool kids and get yourself to the RedMonk track at CommunityOne. You have questions, naturally, so let’s do a quick Q&A.
Q: What is CommunityOne and why should I care?
A: CommunityOne – at least as far as I understand it – is a free and open conference that immediately precedes JavaOne (May 7th). Apart from the RedMonk track, which will be as good as we and all of you can make it, there are lots of other content to pick from – some Solaris stuff, some Java stuff, and so on. If you want a flavor of the JavaOne experience, but can’t swing a ticket and/or don’t want to bother, this is the conference for you. It’s also a good chance to meet either the RedMonkers or any of the other sharp technical folks that will be in attendance in person. It’s not often, after all, that we’re all in the same place.
Q: Does it cost anything? Do I have to register?
A: With regard to the first question, no, it doesn’t cost you a dime. As far as the second, I think Sun would like you to register (here), but I think you can probably show up and do it on site if you’re a procrastinator like me.
Q: Where is it?
A: The Moscone Center in San Francisco.
Q: There are no sessions listed – what will be discussed?
A: The initial plan for our track was fairly traditional, I understand: a structured and pre-planned agenda that covered a couple of mainstream topics. Given my preference for the more liberal and inclusive unconference approach, I pushed for that instead and I’m happy to report that that’s the approach that’ll be taken. If you’re unfamiliar with this approach, in short it means that the agenda and subject matter will be decided by the participants, that day. So rather than us guessing what you want to talk about, we’ll talk about whatever you want to talk about. And not just us – you’ll be participating as well.
Q: So anything is fair game?
A: Sure. We’re constrained by the available timeslots and room (we’ve only got one), but as far as we’re concerned anything and everything is fair game for discussion. Want to talk Eclipse? Ask Ian to lead a session. Apache? Maybe one of those folks will show up. The purpose of an unconference is to talk about what’s on your mind, not what we think is on your mind.
Q: Will there be schwag?
A: I need to check in with Cote on this to get the latest, but the tentative answer is that yes, there will be schwag. This could be your big opportunity to stock up on RedMonk shirts, stickers and coffee mugs. That stuff’s like gold on eBay.
Q: How did this come about?
A: I don’t really know what the origins were, as the initial discussions transpired during a period of heavy travel for me and I missed them. But I’m very pleased that Sun is offering us the opportunity, and hope that it’ll be of benefit to many of you that want to explore subjects beyond the boundaries of Java and other Sun related technologies.
Q: Do you have any examples of potential subject matter? I can’t decide if this will be relevant to me.
A: Absolutely. James lists a bunch of them here, and the wiki’s open for suggestions (reg req’d, sorry – it’s a spam thing). Even better, we’ve already been contacted by a handful of people that have ideas for sessions and/or want to lead them: IBM’s Lauren Cooney, for example, wants to help lead a session discussing Community/Bottom Up marketing, and is recruiting some very knowledgeable attendees. But it’s important to emphasize that the panel selection process is entirely democratic: whatever the attendees want to talk about will be talked about. In other words, the sessions will be as relevant as you want to make them.
Q: What are the potential conflicts?
A: The most notable one for me is Startup Camp, which I’m bummed to have to miss as it conflicts with CommunityOne. I actually recommend that anybody not attending our sessions head to David Berlind’s Startup Camp; I went to the first one, and it was outstanding. Fortunately, everything’s relatively accessible, so if you want to attend Startup Camp or any of the other CommunityOne tracks in between RedMonk sessions it should be fairly easy to do.
Q: I can’t make it during the day, is there some sort of RedMonk afterparty?
A: If you know any of the folks that work with RedMonk, you’ll know the answer to that: of course. The only complicating factor is that we have a mandatory analyst dinner that night, so we may be forced to head for a beer, take off for an hour or two, and then rejoin you. But we’re all about socializing, so expect us to come up with something. It won’t be a $40,000 catered party, but we’ll have some fun somewhere, rest assured. We’ll try to figure something out ahead of time and let you all know.