# Monday, February 23, 2009

I received an email from the Mix registration group that my 3rd night at the hotel will be free. Good marketing tactic on the Mix team’s part, this will help people justify the travel if the travel expense is lower. Many have argued that the live in-person event is dead, due to a sharp recession and free ways to learn like web casts and blogs, etc.

I think reports of live events death are incorrect. Humans are social and need interaction. We need to go to events to talk to each other, complain about Microsoft’s data access strategy, and see if speakers will embarrass themselves. But I think that the days of the large industry trade show (CES) and large industry events (PDC, TechEd, Mix) are numbered. What will replace them? Code Camps.

The NYC .NET User Group that I am a co-moderator ran a Code Camp in January. There have been several other code camps in the past few months and they have all been very popular and well attended. Code Camps started as a way to supplement the monthly user group meeting. They are community driven. Now people are attending in larger numbers since they can’t justify a travel budget. What I also found what attendees liked about code camp was the ability of the Code Camp to present some alternative points of view (we had some open source sessions and some sessions that would never make it to TechEd since they may have said a bad thing or two about MS in the session.) The attendees also liked the agility of the event, open spaces, and discussions.

Emerging markets are now doing Code Camps. I just attended and spoke at the Cairo, Egypt based .netWork’s code camp last week. Based about 45 Km out of Cairo, about 500 people took off work and traveled to attend the free event 2-day even. Four international speakers came as well as several local speakers. It was a great event and run at a very low cost. Even better is that it got technical education to people who desperately need it.

I think that in a down economy, Code Camps are going to be more and more important and continue to evolve. Industry events will not die, but they will change in size and scope to be smaller and more agile. Code Camps will force “Conference 2.0.” As a conference speaker myself, it will be great to see what that looks like.

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