Why I Won’t Be At OSCON This Year

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For the first time since 2005, I will not be attending OSCON.

I am aware that there has been some controversy around the conference’s lack of a harrassment policy; I want to be clear that my absence is not related to this. We at RedMonk have known Tim O’Reilly for almost a decade and many of the organizers and conference chairs like Edd Dumbhill for nearly as long. Nothing in our experience with O’Reilly Media has demonstrated them to be anything but an organization with great integrity. We do believe that everyone has the right to attend a conference – OSCON or otherwise – and feel both safe and respected, but in our experience, O’Reilly always tries to do what is right. I have confidence that that will continue to be the case here.

I am unable to attend OSCON this year instead because of a health issue involving my wife. If you follow either of us on Twitter, you are already aware that she has been dealing with a severely herniated disk in her back; a herniation between the L4 and L5 vertebrae, more specifically. This herniation has been debilitating and degenerative, and after meeting with a specialist this past Friday morning at the Spine Center in South Portland, the recommendation has been made for surgery. The good news, for all of you that have expressed concern via email or Twitter – and we both thank you for that – is that the prognosis for recovery is promising and the surgery itself relatively straightforward.

While we have no guarantee that she will be slotted for the procedure this week, she is in enough day to day pain that she must take the first available opening. I therefore cannot take the chance of being caught 3100 miles away in the wrong Portland while she undergoes a procedure that involves general anesthesia. Which is why I apologized and informed O’Reilly first thing this morning that I was now unable to attend.

This was an easy decision for me on the one hand because my wife comes first. Easy in spite of the fact that she has been trying to talk me out of cancelling all weekend. It is a sad occasion still because OSCON is the conference I look forward to most every year. It is the only conference I will travel to during the summer months because of the content and the people. This is the only opportunity per year I have to meet with many of my friends from across the industry.

I will miss all of you that will be there, and I hope that you will all have a beer for me at the Kells at some point this week. If you can, come to the Monktoberfest in October; RedMonk will buy you an even better beer, and we can catch up here in the other Portland and talk social/tech.

In the meantime, I wish O’Reilly and all the attendees of OSCON an excellent week. I look forward to seeing everyone there next year.

One comment

  1. Stephen,

    The best to you and wishing your wife a speedy end to pain and rapid recovery.


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