As well as pulling off a great event that ran smoothly and was thoroughly enjoyed by both attendees and speakers alike, the Web Essentials team have done something special: raised the bar for web conferences forever.
Peter, Russ, John & Maxine managed it all – a star-studded speaker lineup (more gender-balanced than most, with a good mix of both international and local talent), comfortable venue, well-catered, great schwag bag. Don’t underestimate the comfort factor – sitting for two days solid on uncomfortable chairs is, umm, a pain in the arse, especially for people with bad backs like me. What is especially amazing is that they did it all without outside corporate sponsorship.
The false alarm evacuation proved that had their been a real emergency, the world would not be down three hundred-odd web developers – a comforting thought. Plus everyone got to flickr and blog it straight away – oh the excitement! The wifi was a bit crap but hey – you can’t have everything.
What was really mind-bending, in a buzzword-twilight-zone kind of way – was hearing about and talking about “Web 2.0”, while simultaneously participating in it. Technorati tags, live blogging, flickr photos, podcasts before the conference was even over – there was more audience participation then you could poke a stick at. Maybe I’m just still basking in the afterglow, but I felt a real sense of community with the other attendees, and I’m not even finished reading through everyone else’s WE05 blog posts.
So a big thank you to all the people who made it happen – I can’t imagine the huge task it must have been. The Webboys I’d met before when they came to Perth to launch our first Web Standards Group event, and also when Russ kindly gave up his time to judge the WA Web Awards, and it was the first time I’d met Maxine (web chicks unite!) and John – but I instantly felt I was among friends. Port80 are hoping to get the Westciver’s over to Perth for a speaking event next year, and Maxine, we have lots of stuff to talk about!
So Peter, Russ, John, Maxine – thank you so much, congratulations, and I keep saying this but I really can’t wait until next year.