By Aino Vonge Corry | July 13, 2009
The JAOO and QCon conferences have always been by invitation only. This means, that we have a Programme Committee for each conference that decides whom to invite and who invites the proposed speakers. Sometimes they accept, sometimes they don’t, but that is a different story. The story I want to tell today is the one of the solution tracks; When we have sponsors and exhibitors at our conferences they want to be able to talk about the products that they sell.
In the beginning this was done as a show in the exhibition hall. This was not fortunate for many reasons, one of them being that at our biggest conference, JAOO in Denmark, a whole kindergarten would sometimes pass by in order to see a show in other parts of the conference building (since this was also the music hall of the city).
Later we shuffled the speakers into a small room and started calling it the “Solution Track”. It was evident in the schedule that these product descriptions could turn into sales pitches and they did not get a lot of attention nor attendees.
Then suddenly, one year, we had so many presentations from the exhibitors and sponsors, that we were able to create a mini-schedule for them with themes and abstracts and we gave them some more attention. This resulted in a lot more attendees and happier sponsors and exhibitors.
This is a solution we have been practising for a few conferences now, and it works well. The presentations in the solution tracks get good evaluations, both because they actually send good speakers to the conferences, but also because the expectations of the attendees are set for product descriptions, and that is what they get.
So, except for the fact that these tracks will never really be respected by the Programme Committee :-) (which is a bunch of snobbish people like myself) the solution tracks are a great success. Last year, one of the presentations in the solution track was in the top 5 of presentations.
This year, one of our solution tracks focus on Spring technology. As can be seen, part of the speakers on that track are also in the technical program and thus, also invited by the Programme Committee.
But how should solution tracks look like in the future? What kind of presentations would you like to see in a solution track? Speakers that have been developing the products, users of the products, salespeople, CTOs from the companies that create them?JAOO | Tags: JAOO, QCON, Solution tracks | No Comments »