I've just got to come out and say it. Yes, I hate BlogWorld LA. Here's why:
• Hundreds of experts speaking. You always tell people you come to events like this to learn, but... It is a bit intimidating to be hit with new concepts, tech and research issues that you didn't even know existed (but should have), and some synergystic concepts within the first couple of hours. Then, to have someone explain a complex problem and give you a quick way to deal with it, well, enough of those "Doh!" moments start to hurt.
• Speakers that actually mingle and engage with attendees. Let's face it, at most conferences the big-name speakers (and quite a few of the small) hide out in the green room or speaker's lounge and away from the riff raff they are there to address. Having them come out, talk, engage, well, it's just not right.
• An exhibit hall with a lounge attached, and power at the tables in the lounge. Exhibit halls are meant for pushing people through, not for having them mosey, sit, talk, and spend time in. This truly is against the natural order of things.
• Reasonable space. Conferences should either be crammed into a small area so you can hear multiple presentations at once, or in a too-large space so you bounce round like a pea in an empty C5 and need shuttles to get from one session to the next. Having good space, reasonably spaced-apart facilities, and room to grow, well, it's disorienting. I would suggest to the BWE staff that getting Segway as a sponsor might not be a bad idea at the current rate of growth, however.
• Business Hours. Okay, so a good conference or trade show should be a 12 hour day. Do you have to make it 15-17? You have pre-opening networking, keynotes, all-day sessions, working dinners, and then evening/night networking events. When you add in the informal networking events that happen after (and because of) the "official" networking events, it is a 15-17 hour day at best, and I suspect some just gave up on the idea of sleeping. Not fair.
• Troop support. Not the flashy showy kind, but the real thing that permeates all levels of an organization. From programming, support of the military track, to many other ways of showing support and care -- don't they realize that we aren't used to that and are much more used to dealing with hostile crowds and words, even if this isn't Berkeley?
• No cloning and memory re-integration. Okay, this is and has been for some time my biggest beef with BWE. If you are going to have this many good speakers (200?+?) and panels, the least you can do is have a cloning booth along with a re-integration facility so you can get to all of them. To not do so is just taunting and mocking.
Yeah, we are having a horrid time out here. Marcus, Rachel, Mandy, Kristina, and a number of veterans are also upholding tradition and closing down, er, making the most of all events. Think the motto may well be sleep, what's sleep? Those of you who are missing this, you've missed a good one.