FileMaker DevCon Recap 2009: Thoughts for 2010

by Michael Gaslowitz

First and foremost, if you attended the 2009 FileMaker Developer Conference and want FileMaker to know what you thought, liked, or hated about it, make sure you submit your speaker and overall conference reviews. Nothing will change if they do not know about it.

As for me, I only have two suggestions to those planning the 2010 FileMaker Developer Conference:

  1. Have the exhibit/dining hall at the center of conference, and
  2. Record the conference sessions and sell them through iTunes

Layout Mode

This year, the conference was not well laid out physically, with the exhibitor/dining hall placed at the far end of the hotel, away from where any of the sessions were held. I do not know if rooms could have been rearranged differently, or if that was the best the hotel had to offer. I do know the conference felt separated from itself, and that attendance in the exhibitor hall was way down from previous years.

If FileMaker wants to provide a better conference experience next year, they will pick a conference center that can accommodate a large exhibitor/dining hall surrounded by conference rooms. This would give attendees a central place at the conference to regroup between sessions, network with other developers, and talk to exhibitors about their products.

The Conference on iTunes

But the number one thing that FileMaker can do next year, that would be beneficial to everyone on so many levels, is record the conference sessions and sell them on iTunes. Apple already does it for WWDC, so the business model should transfer nicely:

  • Sell E-tickets to the conference alongside full conference passes. Offer a pre-conference price for them, and an option to buy individual development tracks, or the conference as a whole.
  • After the conference, give each paid conference attendee, session presenter, and E-ticket holder an iTunes code for free downloads of all of the sessions.
  • Continue to sell downloads of the conference until next year’s conference.
  • Profit!

Some would argue that offering paid downloads of the sessions would lower conference attendance. While this may be true, lowering the cost of entry to the conference will allow more people to “attend” than ever before. I imagine the number of people buying E-tickets will more than make up for any decrease in attendance revenue. I also believe that a good percentage of those buying E-tickets would begin buying full conference passes in the years to come.

Conference attendees will benefit because they will be able to see any sessions they missed, or their favorite session again and again. To bolster attendance, FileMaker could keep the Keynote under NDA, and not offer it for download at all. Most conference attendees will agree that the real value of the FileMaker Developer Conference is interacting with other FileMaker developers between sessions and in the exhibit hall. However, there is something to be said for getting your money’s worth.

September 26, 2009  •  DevCon, FileMaker  •  Comments Off on FileMaker DevCon Recap 2009: Thoughts for 2010

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