On Saturday, March 26th, we held our 6th annual Orlando Code Camp at Seminole State College. The event was great, with our best attendance ever, awesome speakers and sponsors, and unbelievable support from our volunteers and ONETUG board. This is my recap from the event, as seen from the organizer’s perspective.
This was definitely the most organized Code Camp that I’ve been a part of. We had a lot on our plates, starting with an overwhelming amount of sponsors. Our Director of Marketing, Brian Mishler worked throughout all of last year building relationships with our sponsors and all of that hard work paid off when it was time for our Code Camp. We had a lot of responsibility to these sponsors to make sure that we did all we could to get them exposure for their great support. JT (our treasurer) made sure of that with signs, staying in touch with sponsors, and managing the money so that we spent it wisely. John Smith, our VP, took care of our website (along with our Silverlight SIG), speaker glasses, plaque, bags, and a ton of other stuff. I took care of shirts, schedules, communications, shopping, and again, a ton of other stuff. Our Silverlight SIG (Z, Bob, Brian, and Joe) really came through for us on the website and the awesome WP7 app. We have a great foundation to build on, and we should have more and better features, along with a revamped UI at our next event.
This year we decided to have the party at Liam Fitzpatrick’s in Lake Mary. It was my first time there and I was thoroughly impressed with it. They gave us the outside patio, which was awesome and our speakers really liked it as well. The food and drinks were perfect and networking/conversations were even better!
The event was a huge success, we had over 600 people there and we had a packed house of speakers and sessions. Everyone kept talking about the high quality of the presentations that were given at the event. We had so many great speakers that it was tough to decide which session to go to. The Showcase room was great as it gave people the ability to sit in one room all day and get a little bit of everything.
We were even able to get a personalized greeting from Scott Guthrie, courtesy of John Papa. I can imagine how busy he must be, and the fact that he took time out of his day to do that for us speaks volumes of Microsoft’s commitment to the community!
The food that Lou brought was awesome as always. The one thing that we missed is getting extra coffee, but we’ll fix that for next year. I ended up returning about half the water that we bought…so less water and more coffee.
We tried something new this year by lowering the bar for sponsors to get a booth and it completely paid off. Having so many sponsors there really gave the event a bigger feel to it and both sponsors and attendees greatly benefited by being able to be face to face with each other.
Of course, like every big event, we hit a few snags, but we were able to recover from them really well. We had great volunteers always willing to step up and help.
I gave a presentation on Continuous Integration with TFS, and I got great response from it. It was a close call, as I lost all my code and realized it on Saturday morning, but I managed to get it all back in time for the presentation. It is always great to show people how TFS is a lot more than just a VSS replacement and I think that was conveyed pretty well.
This year, we went back to Route 46 Entertainment District, just like last year. They treated us great and everyone really enjoyed it.
Overall, I had a great time. I met some great people, bonded with friends, and watched a ton of people get excited about .NET and our community. It was a great way to showcase what our region has to offer.