Reflections on PgConf.US 2015

Saturday the 18th of April, I woke up to the following:
 

It was one of those moments that you realize just how blessed of a life you have. A moment where you stop and realize that you must have done something right, at least once. I was with my all of my ladies, there were no other people at the camp site, the weather was clear and it was set to hit 68F. The only sound was the gentle lapping of water and the occasional goose.

It was at this time that I was able to finally take a step back and reflect on PgConf.US. This conference meant a lot to me professionally. I didn't organize it. I only spoke at it, Command Prompt sponsored, and I occasionally offered feedback to the conference committee (as it is run by PgUS) via PgUS board meetings. This conference has become everything (and more) I tried to make the United States PostgreSQL Conference series. It is a conference of the best, the brightest and most importantly the users of our beloved elephant. In the United States, it is "The" PostgreSQL Conference.

That isn't to say there aren't other PostgreSQL conferences in the states. There are at least two others that run, but somehow after this latest conference I feel they are destined to niche attendance. There is nothing wrong with that and frankly we need the niche conferences. They fill a hole, else people wouldn't attend. It is just that experiencing the level of effort and greatness that was created by Jonathan and Jim was truly something awesome to behold.

They aren't paid to run these conferences. They do it because they want to help our community. They do it for free and speaking as somebody who has run more PostgreSQL conferences than any other current PostgreSQL conference organizer in the U.S., it is a thankless job. It is a volunteer effort that everyone should take a moment to thank them for. Jonathan, Jimmy: Thank you for all your efforts. The community could not have had such a great conference without you.

I have only two constructive feedback points for the organizers:

  1. Do not allow tutorials based on sponsorship. Allow them based on merit. You will get a much more positive return from them.
  2. Move the cocktail party offsite where there will be full food available at a more reasonable price.

I have three constructive feedback points for other sponsors:

  1. Plan your events in conjunction with the conference. Don't take attendees away from a conference for your invitation only event.
  2. Don't over staff your booths. Even a large both (10x10) only has room for ~ 3 people.
  3. Lighten up. This is supposed to be fun.

Other than that, I have only praise for the conference. Command Prompt has already made back all of the money it spent on sponsoring and traveling. We acquired quite a few new customers and are exceedingly happy with the result. Expect us to sponsor again.

You should also expect that I will speak again. I gave away three excellent bottles of whiskey to attendees of my presentation. I enjoy speaking at this conference because this conference understands what a conference is really about.

What else would I say about the conference? I had a blast. I would definitely go again. I will do everything I can to help the excellent organization team grow not just 25%, but 50% next year. What if the community stepped up and planned on attending "PgConf U.S." in 2016? The community should step up, promote and advocate throughout every community they are involved in. It's worth it.

Let's get more of everyone involved and save them from the nefarious reaches of those "other" databases.