Sunday, August 23, 2015

MWLUG 2015 Summary and Beyond

As we wind down MWLUG 2015, I want to express a few thoughts.

My goal each year has been to create a unique and fun event that provides the best of the best in educating and collecting our community regarding our incredible technologies that we have built our careers around. Each year we try something different making the experience a memorable one. This year we had it in the Ritz-Carlton with the Thursday evening event at the Shakespeare Tavern Theater. Unfortunately, I went to the washroom when the best entertainment was on stage. Damn anybody have pictures.

Time to time again you will never see many of the MWLUG sessions at IBM Connect/Lotusphere/IBM Connect ED. The more out of the box from what IBM is telling you the better.  I don't care if you are new to speaking.  If you can communicate and have a topic that would be interesting to the community, then you will be selected. We all have to start from somewhere. Truly great speakers practice and learn from their experience.

Louis Richardson who spoke during the Thursday Keynote contacted me right after his session to see if he can see the video of himself so that he can improve on it.

For myself, I am not a good speaker because I do not practice enough and ad lip too much. But over the years I have improved. Starting from my first presentation in front of management where my knees where shaking so much that I almost fell down to speaking in front of all of you.

This has been the most successful MWLUG conference we have ever had.  This truly is the result of great support by the community. I want to give a special thanks to Lisa and Darren Duke for making this happen.  It takes a lot of work and risk to create such a conference. Each year I have to personally guarantee the hotel. So the support of others in the community is extremely important. Ray Bilyk and I worked on the secret surprise for close to a year and it turned out great.  Ray had to try a couple of times to get it right the way he wanted.

When Gregg Eldred and I conceived MWLUG in 2008, our goal was to create a local Midwest conference to help connect Midwest members of the ICS community together, learn, network, and have fun. Over the years I have connected to other community members that I would not have ever met many who have become good friends.

Over the years, participation in MWLUG has been growing outside of the Midwest region. So when we were looking at MWLUG 2015, we evaluated each city based on the voting and the possible participation and local support. The success of the conference relies on significant support by the local community members along with all the sponsors, speakers, and volunteers.

Many have commented on how come Atlanta was chosen this year for MWLUG.  It is technically not part of the Midwest region of the United States. Of all the cities we looked at not only did Atlanta receive the most votes, but the local support was truly solid.

The success of MWLUG 2015 I would say without a doubt was the result of receiving help from Lisa and Darren Duke. Without them, I would have not consider organizing MWLUG 2015.

So as I evaluated whether we should have MWLUG for 2016, local support was my number one priority.  My participation for MWLUG in 2016 needed to be reduced since I need to spend more time on other things. I provided feelers out there based on five cities and Austin was just a thought and was not even a significant consideration. However, as I talked to individuals from Texas, they were not only enthusiastic but they were willing to step up to the plate to give me the support. The same enthusiasm that Lisa and Darren Duke provided for MWLUG 2015.

So as we wind down this years event. We decided that MWLUG 2016 will be in Austin, TX. So if we continue MWLUG into 2017 and you want your city to be the host city, then start telling us why we should have MWLUG in your city and what you are willing to do to help.

I already have in my mind a few surprises that we have never done before. So stay tune.

Highlights of MWLUG 2015

  • Meeting everyone in the community, that is what it is all about
  • Fitting 54 sessions in less than 3 days
  • William Malichsky in a bow tie
  • Surprise on Devin Olson's face when we pulled out the secret gifts of MWLUG 2015, MWLUG Beer
  • The mystery flasher at the Shakespeare Tavern Theater
  • The mystery flasher at the CGS
  • Presentation by Professor Katherine Rhodes Fields and learning why uppercase and lowercase are called that way
  • Tony Holder and Ulrich Krause stepping up to help us to get non-urine beer
  • IBM getting us the additional funds that we needed to add additional attendees after we had no more funds
  • Ritz-Carlton have amazing bathrooms in the Ballroom
  • Meehan's where majority of us hung out in the evenings
  • Louis Richardson's presentation
  • And finally the most important thing being with my family. Without them it would be hard to get this off the ground.

See everyone in MWLUG 2016 in Austin Texas


Unknown said...

You went where you had support and the conference benefited from it. It was a great conf with great sessions and a great turnout; I'm looking forward to next year's. Well done Richard, the Dukes all support, as well as the sponsors.

Unknown said...

Richard, Lisa, Darren, the sponsors, and everyone else involved: Thank you for a great conference! I was fortunate enough to attend MWLUG for the second year, and all of us in this community truly appreciate your efforts.

Darren Duke said...

Richard has a typo...where he says "flasher" he means "male model"

Unknown said...

Just saw the highlights list, Richard, absolutely my pleasure, and the easiest way, to help! :-)

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