Final day and still in Palm Springs
Well the final day was interesting – I was tired and feeling a bit burnt so I didn’t really attend any sessions. Instead I went to lunch with Kerry, Anne, and Jeremy and had some interesting non-GIS discussions. Unfortunately I had gotten the Jamba juice with the performance boost which turns out to be not a good idea for my stomach first thing in the morning. We came back just in time for the Q&A session.
Nothing earth shattering was revealed there except there was very much the sense that ESRI was reaching out for developers to partner with them. They are also looking for good people to hire (Jack mentioned something like 500 open positions at ESRI currently). There was a suggestion to have ESRI expand the blogging – which got cheers from the crowd. There was more discussion on the pricing for server. There was also a request to have sessions and spread the conference out combined with more hands on work, such as pre-conference 1/2 day and full day sessions . I recomended a hands-on-lab with preloaded data and software so we could go and try some of the code we just saw in a session or we could pull someone from an island to help us out.
On the pricing issue I recommneded that ESRI look to MS for it’s ability to push into the small business marketplace. MS has done a great job of owning the small business space with aggresive pricing. Our company has quite a few seats of Arc desktop products at various levels and a few server products. But if I went to them and said how about 30K more for another server product I think there would be some serious pushback. On the other hand we have entered in various levels of MS enterprise licensing. ESRI should look for some small business enterpise licensing model. Help us to spread GIS around our organization and we are more likely to spread it outside the organization as well.
Overall I think the developer summit was the hawesome. As primarily a developer, I will not be attending the UC any more but instead be focusing on this conference instead. I get to meet ESRI developers and developers who use ESRI products. The discussions are right where I want them to be and focused on the issues I have to deal with. The feel of the conference is definetly much more developer friendly. The only reason I would not reccomend it is purely selfish: I do not want it getting so big that it becomes gigantoid and more impersonal.
I had two major goals when attending – more geodb and more .NET. I am now ready to go home and hit the ground running.
Improvements: They really need to do a better job with the food for vegetarians. While wireless was generally good overall, there were a few times when connections were spotty. More power outlets in the session rooms. The conference should be one day longer and the sessions should be shorter. I think 30-45 minutes is a better length. It would focus the presentations and it would be easier for me to not feel overwhelmed. ESRI should encourage more birds of a feather sessions so developers can interact more with each other.
If you are thinking that you want to grow your developer community then do not base your product decisions off the people who show up at the conference. While it is important to gauge support from your current user base it is also important to gather information from people outside the community. So asking at the closing session how many people are interested in a .NET or Java connector verus a C++ connector is sure to get a you an overwhelming response for .NET or Java since 95% of the audience members program in that language. Biased survey techniques give you very biased anwers.
The second part of my title comes from the fact that my flight to Sac got cancelled last night. Matt and I were on the same flight to Phoenix and when we got there we soon realized there were some delays. Because of delays into phoenix I would have missed my connection to Sac and would have been stuck looking for a hotel in Phoenix at 10pm last night. . So I spent another night in Palm springs. I am not sure what Matt chose to do but there were quite a few unhappy U.S. Airways people last night.