Is Gnomedex more like cheese or fine wine?

So nerd camp is over for this year, but why do I get the impression that I got more out of this year than I did last year? A few have said that the conference was better this year, but I think my personal gain in value might have had more to do with this being my second year. Now don’t get me wrong, I had fun last year. Last year was so good that it convinced me I should go this year. But I sincerely feel like this year I got way more value than I did last year. This is despite the schwag not being near as cool (gold water bottle anyone). Heck, there was even a communication error between the company that printed the official Gnomedex shirts and the Gnomedex staff, and they ended up with a massive shortage of shirts for us heavier set geeks. (Chris said that he will take care of us left without a shirt) So way less schwag, and no shirts that fit me, but yet it was better?

Some people that I met in very quick passing last year, ended up being great contacts this year. This has less to do with how the conference is run and more about it just being my second time. So Gnomedex is something that grows in value with each year you come! If it is just ok your first year, it will be great the next, and even better on the third I have been told. So get your tickets now because they are already going quickly!

Another thing that added value for me was when one of the speakers that gave a talk on something I am extremely passionate about. I passionately disagree with one of his points and that opened up a great debate between the two of us. It is not only growing into a mutual respect but also a friendship (despite one person being offended). Maybe not something most Gnomedexers will experience, but it made things better for me. Of course there was also the hotel situation that I already talked about in another post that made things better for me as well.

The final thing that added value to the conference for me was not ending so early on a Saturday night. Last year it was kind of annoying to be somewhat stuck in Seattle with nothing to do. It was so much better to end the conference with this great open bar party. It let us all say goodbye to Gnomedex for the year, increased the chances for face to face interaction (the real value of the conference), let things basically end on a Sunday morning where it’s less stressful to leave Seattle, and just gave the event more proper closure. This way I just added another day of hotel and left more relaxed. Last year my wife had to come pick up my stuff at 8 in the morning, hang out for 10 hours, and then leave the most insane part of Seattle on a Saturday night! This year was way better and I hope the plans are to continue this for Gnomedex 10. Much improved I say, open bar or not.

So what made the conference better for you? Does Gnomedex get better with each visit? My wife knows more about cheese and wine, but I know it got better for me. Now to keep this thing from getting too long, I am going to continue my review of Gnomedex with a second post later. see you all next year?

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