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MWLUG 2013: The Recap

Sam Bridegroom  |  Posted Sunday, August 25th, 2013 at 09:21:50 PM

After three days of workshops, sessions and beer, MWLUG 2013 in Indianapolis concluded as another successful event. I hope that everyone who made the trip to Indianapolis found the city to be the engaging, friendly place that I call home, and you left a little bit smarter for being around some really smart people. It had been many years since I'd been in Union Station, so it was nice to revisit old haunts with a new look. Barring a few rumbling trains overhead, the location was a great choice.

I know I've said this before, but I'll say it again (and not just because I had a little bit to do with this one): attending these user group conferences are the best values you will find in terms of improving your knowledge of and participating in this ICS community. I heard from several people that Josh Bleill (the OGS Keynote Speaker) would have been a better choice as a Connectosphere OGS keynote than a lot of them from the past few years (and I won't argue with that). Several IBM Champions spoke at this event, and every presenter was there at their own expense. The session content was quite diverse and of exceptional quality. We had a significant presence of ICS management in the room, to spend some time with their customers. There was a significant project/product announcement released during the OGS by Scott Souder (our second keynote speaker). I don't know that anyone can really ask for much more from a conference, especially one that costs $35.

But wait, there's more.

There are opportunities to talk with the vendor sponsors without yelling at each other while being mercilessly scanned, and people actually learn a little bit about how their solutions address business problems. I don't know how the vendors feel about it, but I know as a customer (who has customers that were also there) that this is a much more conducive environment for getting people to invest in solutions. I hope the vendor sponsors find as much value in the event as I did, and continue to participate not just in MWLUG but also the ICON events in the UK and US. Without these sponsors, these conferences don't happen, and they need to keep happening. Being independent, it's getting more and more difficult to justify the cost of the trip to Orlando in January when the return on the time and travel to ICON US and MWLUG is just as good if not better. Chime in if you think I'm wrong.

I had the opportunity to meet and talk with a number of people I've only known through reading their blogs and/or Twitter, re-acquainted myself with a few others, and caught up with old friends who I don't see often enough. In the end, I'm always richer for it, both personally and professionally. These events always have me walking away thinking about how much more I can be doing, and a new enthusiasm to climb into the things that have been intimidating. So thank you to all who contributed - the participants, the sponsors and the speakers.

The vast majority of the credit (as in damn near all of it) for making MWLUG successful goes to Richard Moy and Gregg Eldred (even though Gregg was unable to be there). It's their efforts to coordinate facilities, sponsor participation, sort through abstracts, get things printed and a host of other tasks that make it all possible. My role as the host city "person on the ground" was very small in comparison, so I'm glad I was able to contribute the few items for which I was responsible.

And let me go on the record as saying it's a lot easier to attend these when they're out of town than when you're commuting. That drive home from Rock Bottom infringed greatly on my desire to return to the bar, and frankly I'm a little bitter about that.

I'm looking forward to next year's event, to be held in Beer City USA - also known as Grand Rapids, Michigan. Start your planning to go now, because it's more than worth it. And with the Rock Bottom drive home in mind, learn from me Devin Olson: reserve a room.

See you in Michigan.

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