Free Events Deserve Your Respect

TL;DR Version

By registering and not attending people disrespect event organizers, sponsors, and fellow attendees by not showing up and creating added cost, wasted food, and taking seats of others that would have liked to attend. Show some respect: Cancel your registration if you can not make it and don’t just show up if you didn’t register.

The Long Story

The local tech community is very fortunate to have a number of very active groups organizing a large number of free events. These include monthly evening meetings as well as special full day gathering at various venues across the region. In addition to the great content being presented, attendees are quite often provided food and beverages free of charge. Websites like meetup.com make it much easier for organizers in Raleigh/Durham to promote their events which has helped to grow the awareness and attendance at these events.

Obviously these events don’t just magically happen on their own. Each requires a certain amount of planning, coordination, and typically sponsorship to make the event happen. Speakers are scheduled, venues are booked, and food is ordered. None of these are done in a vacuum. Speakers and topics are selected based on attendee interests, venues based on location and space required, and food based on expected attendance. The last two are based heavily on the organizers ability to project the expected attendance of the event.

Sites like Meetup, Eventbrite, and Event Day provide organizers with a way to list events and allow attendees to quickly and easily register or RSVP for the event. Unfortunately it may be too easy to register for an interesting event without a lot of thought or effort. With meetup, a single click lets an attendee say yes I’ll be there. That single click lets an event organizer know how large of a space is needed and how much food to order. Often when the number of attendees reaches capacity of a venue organizers will either put in the time and effort to find a larger location or cap the registrations creating a wait list potentially excluding some that would like to attend.

This all sounds great until we face the reality that a lot of people will register for an event and not show up. There’s no doubt that unexpected events happen in life beyond our control, but this post is not about that. It’s about people that register and forget, change their mind, or some other excuse and do no update their registration to reflect it. By not updating their intentions that acts of finding the correct size venue, ordering the right amount of food, and enabling all of those that what to attend becomes much more difficult. Guessing at the number of no shows creates a risk of estimating too low and getting too small of a space and not enough food, or estimating too high and having waster food, needless expense on larger venues, and potentially needlessly turning away attendees that would have shown up. If sponsors see their contributions being wasted they are going to be much less likely to contribute to future events.

leftovers

[The left overs]

In the end this boils down to respect. Respect for the event organizers, the sponsors, and your fellow attendees. The small act of keeping registrations accurate has huge ramifications on these events which people need to understand. While it’s one recent event that was likely needlessly moved to a larger venue and plenty of food wasted because of registered attendees that did not show up, we see it happen over and over again at monthly meetings, Code Camps, etc resulting in added cost and waste.

Before organizers are forced to stop offering or start charging for these events, please ensure you are giving these events the respect they deserve and registering responsibly. Cancel your registration if you can not make it and don’t just show up if you didn’t register.

For Event Organizers

This is an issue for all of us that is not going to change over night. It’s something that we all need to work at to improve. Here are a few practical steps I think we can take:

  • Verify registrations at events, make drop-ins aware of the need to register and track no-show culprits
  • Share no show and waste information with attendees
  • Don’t allow registrations to early before an event
  • Send multiple reminders as events approach reminding people of the event and asking them to confirm their status
  • Don’t bother with benefits like food/beverages for attendees

For a number of events I know the solution has been to simply start charging attendees to attend which results in fewer people just not showing up.

Unfortunately there is no simple answer and a solution is going to need to involve everybody involved.

 

Great .NET Conference Opportunity

Go to the DevTeach site

 

In early December Montreal is hosting an exciting developer conference covering a
wide range of topics from some of our industry’s leading presenters. The 3 day conference
is packed with information in 136 sessions. Pre and Post conference sessions are also
available to increase your learning potential at the event. Attendees will also receive
over $1000 in free software!

The fun starts Tuesday December 2nd with a key by Ted Neward. See you there!!!

http://www.devteach.com

 

PDC Content Comes to the Carolinas!

Did you miss PDC? Want to see some of the latest content relating to Cloud Computing,
Silverlight 2, and the future directions of ASP.NET 4? Links are below for your FREE
invite!

Introducing the MSDN Southern Fried Roadshow:

 

The MSDN Southern Fried Roadshow is a  ¾ day, free developer event with
a southern flair where you will learn about some of the latest developments in Microsoft
technologies. For this edition we will cover a broad range of the latest Microsoft
Technologies:

· Take a tour of Microsoft’s cloud computing platform and the services that
make it easy to give your applications the most compelling experiences and features. 
Explore the journey a developer takes, from writing a service to launching that service
in the cloud. Learn about the cloud services that enable developers to easily create
or extend their applications and services.

· Microsoft Silverlight provides a powerful platform for building the next
generation of rich interactive applications on the Internet. In this session, we take
a look at the programming model and tools that developers and designers can leverage
to build these true next-generation experiences for consumers and business, and demonstrate
building a rich interactive application (RIA) using Silverlight and Microsoft .NET.

· ASP.NET is evolving a very rapid pace, come explore all the latest features
of ASP.Net such as Dynamic Data, MVC, and even take a sneak peak at the upcoming features
in ASP.NET 4.0!  We’ll look at some new features such as taking control of your
Control IDs, using the DynamicImage control, and ViewState management options.  
We’ll spend plenty of time talking about MVC and creating applications based on this
framework, so if you’re wondering how to leverage MVC in your web applications, this
talk is for you!

 

12/2/2008 — Charleston

12/3/2008 – Wilmington

12/4/2008 – Raleigh

12/5/2008 – Charlotte

 

Karl on Metadata

In a recent blog
post
, Karl takes us on a journey to Metadata Island. (From the pictures,
it looks like a place I would like to visit frequently!). Though his post and accompanying
Silverlight videos he brings up a number of very valid points regarding the use of
existing metadata to make development faster.

A big pain point in development is duplication of efforts, and even in simple cases
it can eat up a lot of time very quickly. Consider creating a simple database entry
form. We’re first creating a database table with field names, we then construct a
data layer of some sort to read and write to those field names, we then add textbox
(or other) controls to a form facilitate the data entry/edits, and then usually create
labels (again using the field names), tools tips are added, data validation. To Karl’s
point, all of this information lived in the database already, or possibly even in
a specification document prior to the database being created.

More tooling support would be great. Or at least some consistent tooling, as I know
we’ve all written code to do a variety of these tasks in the past, but never really
in coordination with VS.

[Karl's form generator]

[Karl’s form generator]

As we go forward, I hope that we see a lot of innovation in this space. I think there
are a lot of opportunities as WPF and Silverlight push into line of business applications.

 

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Charlotte Enterprise Developers Guild: Spring Code Camp 2008

Bill and the gang down in Charlotte have opened up registration for their spring Code
Camp on Sat May 17th. A number of people from the Raleigh area are thinking of carpooling
down, and a number of us are speaking at the event. I will be presenting a session
on Silverlight 2 control customization.

Code Camps are a great way to get training on a variety of topics, as well as to meet
peers in the community and benefit from the energy and excitement that goes hand in
hand with these events.

To attend this event you must pre-register: http://www.developersguild.org/Default.aspx?tabid=240 

 

Code Trip’n

One of the fun parts of Mix08 was seeing the Code
Trip
bus set sail on it’s voyage around the western US. It’s a bunch of Microsoft
DE’s and prominent members of the developer community that will be holding a series
of events as they travel from city to city. I look forward to seeing the bus again
at it’s final destination at the MVP summit in Seattle in April. 

The Code Trip site has a listing of the events
taking place, real time bus GPS tracking, and a travel
log
. Anybody recognize the two in the preview image?

 

image

Happy trails Code Trip Team!!!

 

Congratulations New Microsoft RD’s!

I’d like to take this opportunity to say congratulations to two very deserving friends
of mine that were recently awarded Regional Director status by Microsoft, Daniel Egan
and Jim Duffy. Without going into all the details, (You can learn more here)
but let’s just say it’s a pretty big deal and these guys should be feeling pretty
good about their accomplishments. Good job guys! You both deserve it!

Jim received a big round of applause at the Raleigh Code Camp when our DE Brian Hitney
made the big announcement. Below is Daniel after receiving the email following an
INETA user group presentation he gave in Florida.

MicrosoftRD

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