With HostingCon less than two weeks away now, we’re mostly past the point of reminding you to sign up (though, by all means, if you have yet to sign up, please head over to the registration page – don’t miss out on what we expect to be the best event we’ve put on to date) and now we want to do what we can to help make sure you have the best possible experience at the show.
In the many years I’ve now been attending HostingCon, I’ve become kind of resigned to the fact that I’m never going to get to see absolutely everything I want to see. But by focusing a little bit on the best ways to benefit from attending the show, and highlighting the key pieces for me, I find I can squeeze in a little more than I otherwise might.
In the interest of helping with your planning, here are some of my thoughts on the best ways to get the most out of your HostingCon experience.
1) Get Educated
I may be personally biased because of my involvement with developing the program, but in my opinion, the number one reason for attending HostingCon is the size and quality of the educational program available at the show. And I firmly believe that this year’s is an improvement over any we’ve had in the past. While last year, we expanded the “sales and marketing” program into a full three-day track, this year we’ve further divided the program along what we consider to be key role-related lines. That is, in addition to marketing, we’ve created a “management” track, along with making our “technical” track truly technical, designed to benefit engineers and admins. We’ve also added the classroom training and certification track to the program, a pilot project that has been very successful in terms of fully booking the limited space that was available to us this year. To plan out the sessions you want to attend, make sure to check out the program prior to heading to Boston this year.
2) Get Involved
One of the great strengths of HostingCon is the fact that it is a community event, and an opportunity to drive some of the projects that are of particular importance to the hosting community. We’ve tried to ensure that there was more community-focused material in the program this year, including the Wednesday-morning “unconference” session for small hosting providers – a wide-open and collaborative session designed to offer smaller hosting providers to share and collaborate around some of the issues most important to them, or look for input on some of the biggest challenges they’ve faced. What’s more, our closing keynote on Wednesday is an all-star panel of folks who were on the front-lines of the SOPA/PIPA fight last year, and who are attending in order to help the hosting industry find its voice in the future iterations of that fight. Attending the closing keynote could mean a lot for providers who want to know how they can get involved.
3) Get Connected
For many of you, the biggest benefit to attending HostingCon is the opportunity to network face-to-face with the companies on hand, whether to share ideas, establish partnerships, look for customers or any other reason you might want to chat with other attendees. We’ve added lots of new facilities for that into the show this year, including the expanded networking lounge, sponsored by the WHIR and Web Hosting Talk, and the re-launched HostingCon Connect application, available through the HostingCon website, and designed to help you set up meetings with the people you want to talk to, but don’t necessarily know in person. Don’t know who or what you’re looking for? Have a look at our long list of this year’s exhibitors to see who is definitely going to have people at the show. To pull all of this together we launched HostingCon Mobile to help you plan your conference experience and connect with attendees on-site at the show. Check it out on your mobile device at http://m.hostingcon.com.
4) Get Paiiiiiiiiiiiiid
Well, not “paid,” exactly. But have a look at that list of exhibitors up above, and remember that most of the booths at HostingCon will be trying to draw in visitors with an amazing array of prizes and giveaways. Personally, I’ve always been very excited by the prospect of winning some kind of fabulous prize at an industry event, however, I’ve never really managed to do it in more than a decade covering the hosting business. Unfortunately, as one of the organizers of the show, I’m not really eligible to win them anymore. But my personal advice is to bring a stack of business cards, get out there, and win your kids an iPad. If you want to give your old one to me, I’ll consider that a “win.”
5) Get Down
Every year, the HostingCon program includes a series of official parties, designed to take advantage of the fact that the community has come together, and make sure there’s some fun to be had. This year, we have a series of receptions and cocktail hours planned around the show that are free for conference attendees. You can find out more about the officially sanctioned events on the HostingCon site. Of course, as with every year, some of the best parties are the events held by sponsors off-site. We have a partial list of those available on the HostingCon site, but make sure to keep an eye out before and during the conference and you’ll be sure to hear about the rest.
Thanks, and I’ll see you in Boston.
HostingCon 2012 Co-Chair