DDD8 – post-event commentary #DDD8

On the 30th of January 2010, the eighth DeveloperDeveloperDeveloper (DDD8) took place at Microsoft’s Reading Campus.

20 sessions over four session rooms – it’s an event that attracts a lot of attention, both from speakers and attendees.

For example, DDD7 in November 2008 attracted 79 session submissions (100 inc. grok talks) gathered over a period of 3 months. DDD8 attracted 79 session submissions over a period of 3 weeks. For us, this was the quickest DDD that we’ve organised so far!

From an attendee’s perspective, DDD7 saw 350 registrations within 4 hours, after which a waitlist kicks in. DDD8 saw 360 registrations within 15 minutes of the registration page going live. A further 200 waitlisted places were recorded inside the next 15 minutes. Over 100 of the waitlisted places were processed and converted into full registrations – kudos to the attendees for actively managing their registrations. By cancelling your registration, you allowed a waitlisted delegate the chance to become an attendee! Further DDD stats can be found here.

So, we have enough session content for at least three days worth of conference. And we have demand in excess of 700 delegates. It’s a problem we have been aware of since the DDD3 (remember these photos and this blog post?). But it’s a problem we really struggle to solve, partly because to solve the problem would involve a combination of many things. We could change the venue. We could run the event over two or more days. Both of these affect the “make up” of a DDD event, not to mention the financial cost. As organisers, we don’t mind giving our time for free. Many speakers don’t mind giving up their time either – for many speakers, we would like to think that DDD provides a relaxed start to a career on the speaking circuit. We are open to suggestions as to how we can move the event forward – there will be a DDD9 and there will be regional DDDs, please, tell us what we can do to make DDD better for you!

Who said that?
In the week after DDD8, much was written:

@irascian Ian Smith wrote this piece – thanks Ian!

@RTPeat Richard Peat wrote this piece – thanks Richard!

@joblogs83 Johan Gant wrote this piece – thanks Johan!

@nhaslam Nick Haslam wrote this piece – thanks Nick!

@martinpeck Martin Peck wrote this piece – thanks Martin!

@markhneedham Mark Needham (speaker) wrote this piece – thanks Mark! Mark’s slides can be found here and a video of his session here.

@robashton Rob Ashton (speaker) wrote this piece – thanks Rob!

@mikehadlow Mike Hadlow (speaker) wrote this piece – thanks Mike.

Tim Ross wrote this piece – thanks Tim!

@chris_alexander Chris Alexander wrote a couple of pieces, here and here. Oh, wait, there more here! Thanks Chris – you were, ahem, taller in real life than in your Twitter picture!

@guysmithferrier Guy Smith-Ferrier wrote this piece – thanks Guy!

@pcurd Peter Curd wrote this piece – thanks Peter!

@tentonnebaby Oli Francis wrote about it here – thanks Oli!

@danielrmay Daniel May wrote this piece – thanks Daniel!

@cargowire Craig Rowe wrote a piece here – thanks Craig!

@Cranialstrain Ian Battersby wrote this piece – thanks Ian!

@philpursglove Phil Pursglove wrote his piece over here – thanks Phil!

@pkiddie Paul Kiddie wrote this piece over here – thanks Paul!

@hahughson Hamish Hughson wrote this piece – thanks Hamish!

@JohnnoNolan Johnno Nolan wrote this piece – thanks Johnno!

@silverSpoon Andrea Magnorsky wrote this piece – thanks Andrea!

@calcock Chris Alcock wrote a good round-up post for The Morning Brew (if you haven’t subscribed to this, you should! It’s followed by the likes of @shanselman, it’s a must read!)

There’s a little bit of content over at slideshare. And @chrisntr Chris Hardy has added some content here.

Happy Birthday…
Some folks even had a birthday celebration at DDD8, @ben_hall: http://vimeo.com/9238695

And Barry…
But, for one person, this was the end of an era. For eight DDD events in a row Barry Dorrans has made it on to the agenda – and if memory serves me, he has always been very high in the voting. Well, except once, when he had to bung me a grand to nobble the votes, but we don’t talk about that, much. Barry is now in Seattle (we have photographic evidence to prove this) working for Microsoft – working for Microsoft almost excluded him speaking at future DDD events. Although I have hinted that if he makes a celebrity appearance, we might let him in…especially if he brings Scott Guthrie and/or Scott Hanselman with him! Other Microsoft celebrities do exist; I merely used the two Scotts here!

All day, we did nothing to Barry. Even when Barry discovered @plip‘s laptop unlocked and started tweeting from it, we did nothing! I have a spot of video footage of @plip and @blowdart at the point of realisation… We did nothing until the start of his session. Barry thought he was playing a prank on @ben_hall by getting both Chicago 1 and 2 to sing happy birthday, little did he know what we had planned for his session!

Video for the bulk of Barry session can be found here: http://vimeo.com/9241853 This video also carries some content from Barry’s appearance on Crystal Maze: “You’re going to need these bellows!”

The interuptions, which Barry kindly documents here are also available:

Phil Pursglove, the man who sourced the Crystal Maze footage of @blowdart, created a Twitter list for DDD8 speakers – good work!

Through the lens
And many folks published their photographs:


Caught on the HDD of a Camcorder
Mixing functional and object oriented approaches to programming in C# – Mark Needham
Barry Dorrans hijacked encryption session at DDD8
Real World MVC – Ian Cooper – Developer Developer Developer 8
Multi-tenant ASP.NET MVC Projects(Or 30 very different customers and a single codebase) – Rob Ashton
Commercial Software Development – Liam Westley
C# on the iPhone with MonoTouch – Chris Hardy

Phil has more video content over at his Vimeo page.

What’s Next?
May 10th 2010 is DDD Scotland. This is the third such event to be held in Glasgow that carries the DDD “brand” into the regions!

June 5th 2010 is DDD South West.

March 27th 2010 is, still TBC, rumoured to be a date worth keeping free. Whatever is happening you should be following @plip on Twitter!
SQL Bits are busy planning “data” versions of DDD – sign up over at http://sqlbits.com/ to keep up to date with their free events!

Plans are underway for the next DDD event in either Belfast or Dublin – follow @developerday to be kept up to speed about that!

And if you are “down under”, check out DDD Melbourne, organised by DevEvening‘s @alexjmackey – author of Introducing .NET 4.0: With Visual Studio 2010

Who makes DDD possible?
A huge number of people make DDD possible. It would be very difficult to name everybody (although technically, it is possible!), so here’s a high-level overview, in no particular order after the first two:

  1. Attendees. Without attendees, none of this would be worth it. We love seeing rooms packed, like this one for Jon Skeet. It’s great to see 325 folks enjoying themselves whilst getting some technical knowledge too! Thanks are due to all the attendees for making it the event it was and is!
  2. Speakers. These folks rock – without their session submissions, there would be no DDD! Speakers give up their time to prepare and present, we are hugely grateful to them!
  3. Microsoft Events staff. These ladies are the backbone to the whole event!
  4. Microsoft Communities staff. Another critical part of the equation are the folks at Microsoft who say “yes”, you can have the campus on a Saturday. These folks also make sure that the catering requests are made, such that you get fed and watered at the right moments!
  5. Microsoft Campus Security staff. Whilst these chaps might not like you taking photographs of the glass roof in Building 4, they do a great job making sure you and your swag is safe!
  6. Microsoft Catering staff. You like the bacon rolls, yes? You liked the brown bag lunch, yes? All that coffee and biscuits? These backroom folks deserve a massive thank you for their efforts!
  7. And we can’t forget to thank the a/v guys who do a great job making sure all the projectors are working, etc. They also ensure that microphones work in the rooms they are meant to work in, or not if we choose to hijack other rooms for birthday wishes!
  8. Room Monitors. Whilst the role is very informal, having a room monitor is important when the need arises! Thanks to all of you who volunteered!
  9. @zimakki deserves huge thanks for making the Geek Dinner happen, and happen with the elegance that would have impressed The Queen. Every year Zi performs magic making 60 people enjoy Pizza Express! Check out this photo if you don’t believe me! This year, because of the popularity, I believe other dinners were also taking place – there’s something for everybody here at DDD!
  10. Sponsors. DDD doesn’t happen without a huge amount of support from Microsoft – we are naturally indebted to them for their support! However huge thanks are also due to SQL Bits – they sponsored the coaches (which around 35% of you used!) from Reading railway station to TVP and back again. The NxtGenUG chaps threw in 100 chocolate bars – thanks guys – if you’re looking to join a user group, these guys rock! And last, but by no means least, Developer Express provided licenses for their products – huge thanks to @rachelhawley for making this happen!

Most of the folks you saw wearing blue sweatshirt/polos at DDD8 have e-mail aliases at developdeveloperdeveloper.com – if you’d like to chat to us (Ian, Phil, Zi, Craig – more to be added), please feel to drop us an e-mail using first-name at developerdeveloperdeveloper.com! Or catch up with us on Twitter!

If you’d like your DDD8 content included here, please let me know either by e-mail or by leaving a comment+link below!