MAX is always fun. DevCon under Macromedia was fun too.
Sessions: Too many. There’s having choice, then there’s having choice paralysis. Particularly when said choices might be across the entire McCormick from each other. Some one said that on Tuesday, the 1:30pm had 51 sessions. 50! I’m thinking it may be time to split out some of the tools into their own events, make MAX longer, or be more selective of speakers. Something’s gotta change it’s just too hard to learn something when you’re sitting in a session, debating internally whether you should stick it out and see if it’s worth your time, or bail and walk somewhere else to try another session. Which of course could mean a 10 minute walk, to a session that’s full. BTW this time, there was no wall sitting allowed, what’s up with that?
Parties: Of course the parties were great and fun, and free beer and wine, and yummy food, it’s hard to go wrong. I was a little surprised that the keynotes had no "big name" talent to talk or entertain, that was kind of a let down, I’ve come to expect that sort of thing. The "Adobe Event", but also not what I was expecting. It was fun, but it was onsite, and just a party. I’ve also become accustomed to the parties of the past, typically offsite (I know 4,000 people, but hey, you get what you want. the 4,000 attendees was a goal) and typically pretty swank. This year it was neither.
People: 4,000 people is a lot. Like a crazy a lot. Thankfully the McCormick was so spacious that it never felt too crowded, even at meal times. It was often tough to find people you knew, but in a sea of 4,000 developers and designers, only Doug McCune stands out. Few sessions I attended were too crowded, though I was a little bummed that the full ones, i couldn’t just sit against the back wall (Where the Electrical power was) and enjoy, I had to squeeze into a seat in the middle somewhere… weak.
Internet: I noticed on the first day that the access points in the 170-180 blocks weren’t that great, handing out local IPs, with no internet. I had hoped that by the 2nd or 3rd day, that would be fixed, it didn’t seem to be. Also the hotel rooms…. WEAK (At least at the Hyatt attached to the McCormick). 9.99 a day…. oh wait 4 day pricing…. 9.99 * 4. No discount! I know that’s not something Adobe had direct control over, but come on, pay a bulk rate or something… and no WiFi..? WTF isn’t the McCormick supposed to be new? or at least newly renovated? wired internet with a 3 ft cord…. That’s craptastic.
Vibe: huge. impersonal. With so many sessions, so many people, such a huge space. I’m not sure what "community" aspect was being hyped, but I didn’t feel it. I know the "Community" helped schill registrations, maybe that’s it. With such an enormous affair, the only community that came to mind for me was an ant hill. I think it’s hard to have a community vibe with such a huge event. That’s like saying downtown Denver is a "Community" I suppose it depends on the definition, but I wasn’t feelin’ it.
This all said, will I be in San Francisco in 2008 for MAX? Yeah probably. The networking opportunity (when you can find the people to network with) is great. The sessions are for the most part good. Jun’s on Optimizing AS3 was super swell! If nothing else, MAX is fun to reconnect with friends, party, maybe see a session or two, party some more…
See ya in San Francisco!