Less than a month left to the APEX Alpe Adria 2018 conference. This is going to be a wonderful event for european APEX community since it is taking place in the very heart of Europe in Graz, Austria. The conference claims to be a conference for everybody, but still I think it is mostly for APEX, database and web developers. Here I am to tell you what I personally expect from this conference, why I am going there and why I recommend you to join me.
I am not paid for what I am saying in this post. All the opinions and thoughts about the upcoming conference and other things, which are expressed here, are mine and only mine. I am not advertising anything, just recommending and it is totally up to you to follow my piece of advice or not.
What this conference already has
You can get introduced to the conference agenda anytime using the official page. And as you can find out, it is nothing, but awesome! It is a mixture of Oracle ACEs of all ranks as speakers with only APEX-related stuff from widely known companies such as FOEX, allAPEX and Oracle itself without a piece of rubbish. Two different sections are there for us and it is up to you where to go!
This all appears to be really inspiring - and it is the first thing I expect from the conference - the inspiration. I mean, I am not a guru in APEX yet (yes - yet), but what can make me or somebody else the one - is deep interest in the technology and confidence in fact it is there for us for long. Otherwise, it is very risky to dedicate our precious time to it in this so-fast-changing world. So, I am looking forward to get charged with all this energy and positiveness the speakers could bring to us.
As I already mentioned above - the conference is taking place in Graz, Austria. This is in the very heart of Europe and is equally easy to reach from almost everywhere in EU as you can find out on this map, stolen by me from Joel Kallman's blog :
I personally can add this is far more reachable even from where I live now - from Siberia, Russia. Especially when compared with such conferences as kscope which take place in the US.
In fact, I am combining business with pleasure by attending the conference during my short vacation in Austria. And here we have come to the second thing I expect from the conference and the visit in general - the new experience. Being an open-minded person, I am always ready for new things to see and new people to meet. I am eager to know where other database and APEX developers live and how they feel about being there. You know, we always look for a better place to be.
And, of course, I am hoping for a much nicer weather than we have right here now.
Without a doubt, when it comes to a conference, it is all about community. Conferences are fuel for IT-communities and #aaapeks18 is not an exception. So, last, but obviously not the least expectation of mine for the conference is introduction to the community. There are legends about great APEX community, and I am looking forward to get to know people from it closer. I am dying to make new contacts, friends and soulmates. And maybe a golden opportunity awaits me there.
How could I forget about the afterparty? I did not! Afterparty is a really good place to relax, have some drinks and informal talks. Definitely a must!
As a bonus to main program, the conference offers an opportunity to have your old questions be answered by real professionals in APEX, ORDS and Oracle Database on the Ask An Ace session on the evening before the actual conference. I also started the #AskAnAce hashtag on Twitter to create an opportunity for attendees to ask some questions to ACEs in advance and give them a chance to prepare better answers for us. Be free to join!
How it could be improved even more
This is, actually, none of my business, but if you asked me how to improve the conference experience even more, I have a few ideas in mind.
The main idea is that it definitely needs more interactivity to be added. Unfortunately, the only way now to be in touch with other attendees is the official #aaapeks18 hashtag in Twitter. But first - this is not a proper way for a rather small group of people to connect (I am talking about the conference attendees), and second - it is so much hidden in the official website, so even I did not manage to find it from the first sight (and I wanted to, believe me). No surprise, there is only a little activity on this hashtag by now.
But you would slap me in the face right now and say 'Hey, man, don't come to us with problems, come with solutions!' and here they are:
Make the official hashtag easy-to-see on the website. Seriously, look at the official #orclapex hashtag - it is everywhere, and especially on the official page.Done! It is right in the header of the official site now. Throw interesting activity on the conference's Twitter account and hashtag to inspire people to follow them. Look, people need to remember it is useful to read news there. And when people got used to it, they are bound to start using the hashtag to share their thoughts and opinions too. Have a look at the #codefest hashtag - the official one for CodeFest - a conference which took place on the previous weekend in Novosibirsk, Russia - they told stories about the speakers and presentations for severals months before the event. And this was awesome!Done! The #aaapeks18 thread is thrilling now!
- Create a proper place for people to connect. Twitter does not fit here. However, this is one of the main purposes why people go to conferences - to meet new people and make new contacts. To find a new good job opportunity, finally. But how to do this if it is so hard to see in advance who also goes, hard to connect with attendees and keep in touch with them after the event has ended? There are several good options how to fix it:
- Create an official LinkedIn Group. We are all professionals here, why not to use a social network for professionals then? This will not just allow attendees and organizers to connect to each other, but also to talk in threads discussing the conference speakers and presentations. Another good built-in feature - is ability to share jobs right there in the group - come on, just admit the fact that conferences partly exist to find new employers and employees.
- Create a Facebook Event page. This option will also give people a chance to connect and talk in discussions. And this format is ideal for a conference - you can add there the conference schedule, a link to the tickets and so on.
- Organize a section on some forum. This is an old, but still good way to stay in touch. The conference organizers even have their own forum engine built with APEX which they are going to present during the conference. However, this way is not quite preferrable, since only very active conference attendees would use a forum (at least if there are other ways to stay informed).
- Combine several solutions from above. Why only one? For example, LinkedIn group and a Facebook event page would work great together (with cross-links to each other).
And whatever is chosen (if any), it is should be kept in mind, that this new public channel must also be announced on the official website using really big letters somewhere in the very center. And it is also good to remind about it in Twitter several times.
Where to sign up?
Well, in case I was inspiring enough to join me at this conference, do not hesitate to do so. If not, add the ticket price into account and rethink the idea.
Having made up your mind, you can find the tickets section just in the right top corner of the official website. Book your seat and do not miss such an opportunity. See you right there on #aaapeks18! And be sure to see a detailed report here some while after the conference has ended!