A tale of 2 conferences – Business of Software (Boston) and JavaOne (San Francisco)

Attending TWO very different shows in successive weeks is an interesting experience.

Business of Software in Boston is a small, intimate conference of a few hundred people, with the tag line ‘building successful, sustainable software businesses‘. It has some very successful entrepreneurs candidly sharing their experiences with their peers and speakers include Dharmesh Shah, Jason Fried, and Laura Roeder as well as experts like Paul Kenny giving advice of key topics like sales. It is very carefully organised and the organisers go to a lot of trouble to make the event run smoothly for all attendees.

Just one of the sights in Boston and is Business of Software Conference

Just one of the sights in Boston and is Business of Software Conference

Business of Software is a very non-hierarchical event, with the stars mixing freely with the attendees and keen to swap notes. If you are ‘building a successful, sustainable software business‘ it is a must attend event (although be prepared for some introspection and soul-searching).

By contrast, JavaOne has about 11,000 attendees and is part of the larger OracleWorld event. It has all the hallmarks of a ‘mass event’ from the queues for registration to the daily lunch in a plastic box. One advantage of size is scale is that it has a very wide range of topics and a really good concert (Sting and Gwen Stefani played a concert in the San Francisco giants stadium on the final night).

JavaOne also had a exhibition hall, where I spent most of the conference talking to potential clients.

JavaOne/OracleWorld is also more hierarchical, with VIP tents at the concert and many people spending their conference in meetings rather than hanging out with others.

As a Java Software company aiming to build a sustainable business we needed to be at both in 2016. Both are amazing locations to spend a week. But I personally enjoyed BoS much more as an event to attend. What are your experiences of conferences?

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Mark Stephens

System Architect and Lead Developer at IDRSolutions
Mark Stephens has been working with Java and PDF since 1999 and has diversified into HTML5, SVG and JavaFX. He also enjoys speaking at conferences and has been a Speaker at user groups, Business of Software, Seybold and JavaOne conferences. He has a very dry sense of humor and an MA in Medieval History for which he has not yet found a practical use.
Markee174

About Mark Stephens

Mark Stephens has been working with Java and PDF since 1999 and has diversified into HTML5, SVG and JavaFX. He also enjoys speaking at conferences and has been a Speaker at user groups, Business of Software, Seybold and JavaOne conferences. He has a very dry sense of humor and an MA in Medieval History for which he has not yet found a practical use.

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