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Related Articles:

Top Ten Sessions Cut from the 2006 FileMaker Developer Conference (August 2006)

Top Ten Things to Do at Devcon (September 2000)


August 2005

A Rogues' Gallery of FileMaker Developer Conference Attendees
by Brian Dunning

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Every year, FileMaker Inc., like many major software companies, has its annual Developer Conference. You may have attended in years past, or this year may be your first. If so, I've put together this guide to help you get to know some of the friendly faces you're likely to meet this year. Coincidentally, they are the same friendly faces you're likely to meet at any other software or technology conference. They are the universal icons of the conference phenomenon.

The Corporate Line Puller - He's young, handsome, smart and articulate, and the only subject he knows is his product. Everything reminds him of it. The thought of his product delights and invigorates him. He hasn't heard any of your references to bugs or complaints about his product, but he'll take them under advisement and mention a few great new features in the current release. Often a keynote speaker and headline session presenter, he is the darling of the corporate overlords. Since he knows the product better than they do, they, and the conference as a whole, are heavily dependent upon him. Most people want to punch him in the face, so don't feel like you're all alone.   The Let's-Talk-Business Guy - This is the guy who will follow you around most of the week, convinced that there's some synergy between your company and his. He'll sit next to you in all the sessions, and constantly whisper how "that's something we can really use!" in his proposed collaboration. He'll set up meetings with people you don't care about. He'll wave you over when he's on a cell phone call to talk with his prospects. He'll introduce you as his partner. You'll want to kill him sometime by the middle of the third day. Beware of his requests to borrow money.
     
The Drunk Conventioneer - This guy may or may not be left over from the conference that was here the previous week. Most of his friends are people he sees once a year at the Developer Conference. He has been known to upgrade his room to a suite and tend bar the entire week. Most of the stories told in later years will be connected with him somehow. He is a central figure in any incidents that involve hotel security, police, or angry residents from the vacation cottages. Like the jock who peaked in high school, the Drunk Conventioneer peaks once a year in August.   The Hot Sales Girl - This poor woman is plagued 24 hours a day by guys with "sales questions" or "issues they want to raise" or - anything. Can she make an onsite sales call next week? Wrong territory? Well, I'll be in your town next month - maybe we could get together. For the Hot Sales Girl, the week of the conference would be a good time to schedule that root canal, or maternity leave, or anything that could get her out of it. Recognize her by the V formation of developers following her around.
     
The Nerdy Foreign Guy - He's quiet, friendly, unassuming, and doesn't know anybody else in the country so he needs you to be his friend. He engages you in long conversations in broken English, and you're never quite sure what the subject is, or what he wants from you. It's not quite clear what country he's from. He's got some products that you may be interested in, but none of the documentation is in English yet. At night on the patio, Nerdy Foreign Guy can always be found at one of the tables with others of his ilk - usually separated from everyone else by an empty table or two.   The Famous Geek - Tickets for his rockstar sessions are scalped outside the conference at high prices. The Famous Geek is a major draw, both among fellow geeks who worship him, and among regular attendees who have heard his name so often that they have to see what all the fuss is about. Generally his pants don't fit very well but he's always entertaining. He's often hard to find at the conference when he's not on stage; no doubt hiding from all the autograph hounds.
     
The Serious IT Guy - He wants nothing to do with your toy Macintosh or Linux machine. He's a Microsoft certified engineer all the way, and he'll stand for no tomfoolery. If you're experiencing any kind of a problem or you have a question, it's your fault for not following strict Microsoft security guidelines, and published Best Practices. Since nobody actually does all of those things, nothing is ever his fault. Despite his permanent Get Out of Jail Free card, the Serious IT Guy never seems to be very happy. Maybe it's because he secretly yearns to be like Drunk Conventioneer Guy.   The Grand Old Dame of Data - For years she has been a fixture in the community. Everyone has read her books and articles, taken her training classes, and hired her at some point over the past decade. You'd think she'd have made a ton of money over the years, but still she's never gotten around to getting a half decent web site built. Or hiring a decorator for her office. Or getting herself fixed up at the salon, or buying new clothes. Probably what you see is just a front: when out of her customers' eyes, she drives a BMW and lives in a classy neighborhood where she's quite the playgirl.
     
The Educational / Government / Non-Profit Attendee - At first she is heavily courted by all the developers and consultants, at least until they hear the words "educational", "government", or "non-profit". At that point they scurry away like roaches when the light comes on. The corporate salespeople love her, however, since she always buys about ten thousand volume licenses. She received her conference registration through a lengthy three year process that involved numerous purchase orders, vouchers, budget reviews, administrative approvals, and check requests.   The Hot Hotel Employee - Though technically not a conference attendee, the Hot Hotel Employee always manages to have a dramatic and lasting effect, and stories are told for many moons to come. You can overhear guys talking about what days she works and what her hours are. She gets to listen to the same tongue-in-cheek pickup lines from the same dorks night after night. She doesn't mind this one bit. When you count up her tip income for the week, she's made more money than anyone else at the entire conference.

Browse Mode
Jan 10 Solving Performance Emergencies with FileMaker Server
Aug 06 Top Ten Sessions Cut from the 2006 FileMaker Developer Conference
Jul 06 Who's Driving This Thing, Anyway? Or, How Marketing and Engineering Buried the Hatchet (Warning: Contains a Curse Word)
Nov 05 Shingle Grandiloquence
Oct 05 In Celebration of Geek Magnetism
Aug 05 A Rogues' Gallery of Devcon Attendees
Mar 05 Lies, Damned Lies, and Project Specifications
Feb 05 Pick the Right Tool for the Job
Oct 04 Home Media Server Requirements
Jul 04 Leveraging Your FileMaker Lingo
Apr 04 Technical Support Redux
Mar 04 Enforce Seats in FileMaker 7/8/9 Commercial Solutions
Feb 04 Reinventing the Wheel
Oct 03 WAP: The Technology That Wasn't
Aug 03 Brian Dunning's California Governor Election Platform
Jul 03 Sex and the Single Software Developer
May 03 XSLT: Creeping Out of the Closet?
Feb 03 A Consultant's Guide to Traveling
Nov 02 Adventures of Bat Magnum, FileMaker Consultant
Sep 02 FileMaker at Area 51
Aug 02 FileMaker Terminology
Feb 02 Computer Shunts
Dec 01 Aquabase Alpha & the Consultant's Challenge
Aug 01 It IS the Size That Counts
Jun 01 On the Trail of Sasquatch
May 01 Spring Cleaning
Feb 01 FileMaker Mobile Survivor Challenge
Jan 01 Letter from Nürburg
Dec 00 Performance Anxiety
Nov 00 Objection, Your Honor
Oct 00 Leveraging Convergence: Jargon for the 21st Century
Sep 00 Top Ten Things to Do at Devcon
Aug 00 Aesop's FileMaker Fables
Jul 00 Ten Commandments of FileMaker Pro
Jun 00 Explats Cross Examined
May 00 iMac, Therefore iServe
Mar 00 Valley of the Dollars
Jan 00 Are You Up for a Review?
Nov 99 Tales from the Script
Sep 99 Tech Support Revisited
Jul 99 Moderns vs. Classicals
Mar 99 Nashoba, We Hardly Knew Ye