Against All Odds: The Story of RedMonkOne

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Originally uploaded by sogrady.

The question everyone had for us RedMonkers last night at dinner, and the RedMonk sponsored House of Shields outing that followed, was simple: “How’d it go?” The ‘it’ being our initial foray into the world of conferences with the RedMonk track at yesterday’s very successful (3K attendees + first time event = I’m impressed) CommunityOne.

What if I told you that a.) our t-shirts were somehow lost in transit, b.) our venue was right next to the general session room so we were periodically drowned out by thunderous easy listening tracks, c.) the schedule building application used by the conference organizers informed everyone (including the AV folks manning the room) that our track was an hour long, not the full day we had planned? Would you expect it to be a.) a success, b.) a failure, or c.) an unmitigated disaster?

I’m delighted to report that in spite of the various setbacks, RedMonkOne – from our perspective – was a tremendous success. From the content perspective, we had a startling variety of topics to pick from – all of which, importantly, were organized and led by someone from the audience. Not us. I’d assumed that even with a limited number of sessions slots available, we’d have to fill in a gap somewhere and facilitate our own session. Not so; the attendees did a fabulous job of organizing, facilitating and leading sessions that us monks merely participated in. We had panels, we had discussions, we had product demos, we had presentations. Phenomenal.

And speaking of attendees, the numbers weren’t stellar, but were far from awful. We’d gotten word last week that registration for our track was abysmal, and we frankly didn’t know quite what to expect yesterday morning. My worst case predictions were not good. What we got was an audience of 35 or 40 people that showed up, didn’t leave, and engaged. For seven hours. While we very likely could have improved significantly on those numbers if the schedule hadn’t informed would-be attendees that if they missed the first hour they missed the show, I couldn’t be happier with the audience we had.

From our side, there are a bunch of takeaways – not least of which was Simon’s suggestion that we provide more up front guidance as to what’s to be covered – but overall I think it came off successfully. Even if we do suck 😉

There are too many folks to thank individually, but I want to say that I very sincerely appreciate the time that all of our attendees took to be there. And while we obviously appreciate the kind words and emails we received subsequent to the conference, the thanks are misplaced: the success of the day doesn’t belong to RedMonk, but to the folks that made the event a success. The attendees succeeded in making the event a success, against heavy odds (particularly the music, that was a killer).

What a great start to the week.

P.S. Almost forgot: attendees, mail us your address and you’ll get your shirt. Provided that we eventually find them.


  1. Wow! 3K+ attendees for CommunityOne. Thats amazing, I sincerely wish the sessions were recorded or something, so we could see what was going on.

    For an unconference, I think RedMonk did a fabulous job of still getting such numbers. Any chance the “Community Building – A Panel” notes were recorded?

  2. Colin: yes, was hugely impressed with the attendance. lots of action, lots of conversation.

    also appreciate the kind words: we’re very lucky to be able to interact with the people we do.

  3. […] Last year we had a great mix of open source, dynamic languages, development in general, Java, and all of the usual things you’d expect from a RedMonk event. This year I’m planning to have at least one RIA panel (with JavaFX, Adobe, Nitobi, and other folks), hopefully hear from Mylyn/TaskTop’s Mik Kerseten, and I know James and Stephen have been cooking up plenty as well in addition to other topics we and others have been thinking of. If you have one in mine, just leave a comment below or show up and put it on the big planning board. […]

  4. […] you know what? RedMonkOne was – again – a success, in spite of some long odds. At least as I judge such things. Thunderous easy listening […]

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