In case you haven't heard, there is no Kentico Connection conference this year. 2016 will be the first time that Kentico does not throw global events in multiple regions around the world to talk about everything Kentico related. Instead Kentico has decided to push its comfort limits by taking a bit of an out of the box approach to its annual conference. This will be the first year for a new conference dubbed, 404.
The goal of this new event is to open some eyes to the human factor of web development and digital marketing and show attendees what happens when a project fails, highlight crucial mistakes of those failures, and turn the lessons learned into valuable shared experience for all. It will be the only event of the year for Kentico, but the key takeaway is that this event is different than past Connection conferences. 404 will focus on general web development and digital marketing (in two main tracks). The 404 conference is slated to be thrown in Las Vegas, at The Mirage, on November 2nd - 4th.
It took me a second to really wrap my head around this new concept as I was a huge fan of the Kentico Connections events, especially because of the fact that I really look forward to speaking at these national and international events. However, as the concept has taken shape, I can now appreciate what Kentico is trying to achieve. I'm also now excited about the new additions to the conference and what it has to offer.
Below are the expectations I have for the new 404 conference:
- Talent a Plenty - I expect to learn some new things from the keynote speakers on the future of digital marketing. I think this is one of the main benefits of changing the conference approach. Instead of having keynotes 100% delivered by key Kentico executives, the conference now features industry experts outside of Kentico and the Kentico partner community. Ann Handley is the headline speaker, along with Scott Liewehr from the Digital Clarity group. Both bring a depth of industry knowledge and expertise to the table.
- Connections Will Still Happen - I expect to still connect with my friends and colleagues in the Kentico Partner and Developer Community. Over the last six years I have really come to enjoy the renewal of relationships that happen at the Kentico events. It is a great chance to sit down and speak with people around the country, and now the world. I love conversing on issues attendees are having, how they are handling those issues, and how they are learning to be better.
It also doesn't hurt that Kentico never disappoints with the social events it throws during the evenings that we are all together. Oh and did I mention the conference is in Las Vegas? For those of you that know me, Vegas can be a dangerous place because it is my wife and I's favorite vacation spot (read: second home). I have never met a roulette table that I didn't like.
- Busy, Busy, Busy - I expect to be busier than ever. I am honored to be selected not only once as a speaker, but twice at the 404. I have double duty in both the web development and digital marketing tracks. I'm already hard at work on the topics and pretty excited to showing off some of my own failures and what they have taught me over the years.
- Kentico 10 - The first day of the event, or really the pre-conference, is still targeted at Kentico 10. I expect to be able to share my thoughts on Kentico 10 with the attendees. I have had my hands on it for a bit now, and am really excited about the performance increase in the core platform, the advances in ASP.NET MVC support, and other new features. I am also very interested to see if Michal's calculations of EMS supporting 100,000,000 contacts are true. (More on that to come in another blog post).
100 000 000 contacts. That's a lot of zeros. #Kentico 10— Michal Kadák (@MichalKadak) September 8, 2016
As with any change, there is some apprehension about the new 404 event. Will it deliver as much value as before? Will connections still happen among the community? What's up with the crazy name? It has all been talked about it throughout the year as the planning has progressed for the event. Believe me, it has been talked about a lot. But it is always exciting to get your hands on the newest version of Kentico, learn from other smart people, and have great conversations around a world class venue. I'm excited to be a part of it.
As it stands today, and as you can tell from the 404 event's web page, the event itself is really shaping up to be well worth the time. That is why BizStream will be there, I'll be there, and some of my clients will be there. I know I have talked to many other people who plan on attending.
So if you are on the fence about attending, I would say this, the 404 conference is all about rising from the ashes of failure. While it may not be perfect, yet, and in my opinion no conference ever is, it should still deliver the impactful learning experience that many digital marketing and web development conferences provide. See you there?