We announced a while back that we were going to continue the traditional MySQL conference in Santa Clara, because O’Reilly wasn’t doing it anymore. But we haven’t given an update in a while. Here’s the current status:
It probably won’t surprise you to hear that we’ve been learning a lot. For example, we had a few rough spots with the conference website; this is a much harder task than it seems. But that’s under control.
Fortunately, we have three great people here at Percona working on this. There’s Mauricio Stekl, the webmaster. Kortney Runyan is our fulltime conference director, and if you went to our New York or London Percona Live events you saw her in action. And we have our new Chief Marketing Officer, Terry Erisman, who has experience running big events at his previous employers such as DotNetNuke. Terry and Kortney have assembled a team of service providers to help line everything up. The staff at the Santa Clara Hyatt have been invaluable, too.
The result is that the conference is going to be very similar to O’Reilly’s. The A/V and room layout teams, for example, have a lot of experience from previous events, and they’re setting things up identically. We have the same rooms for the sessions, the same expo hall, the same layout, the same stage, the same A/V, and so on. Our guiding principle is that there should be no surprises when you show up in Santa Clara. O’Reilly did a great job with this show, and we think it’s hard to go wrong imitating it.
Now, to make a conference succeed — and I think we all agree that everyone needs this event to succeed — we need a few things. We need attendees, sponsors, exhibitors, speakers, and content.
This is where you come into the picture. If you can help us promote the event, please do. Tell your friends; put promotional banners on your blog; and most of all, help us get great session proposals.
What is a great session proposal? First of all, a great session proposal is audience-focused. Your audience is dual: the people who come to hear you speak, and the conference committee. Submit a session that’s focused on the needs of the attendees, but make sure that it’s also understandable to the committee, who have to assess and vote on the submissions. Make sure that after the committee approves the session, attendees who are browsing through the event program will understand whether the talk is appropriate and interesting to them. There are several good blog posts on how to write a good proposal.
What kind of content do we need? In previous years, I think we had some assumptions that we didn’t recognize. The community submitted a wide variety of talks about interesting things such as how they scaled MySQL, how they abused it in ways its creators didn’t intend and got good (or at least interesting) results, how to do super-advanced and extreme things with MySQL, how to use MySQL for a Ruby on Rails application with MongoDB and Redis too, and so forth. The commercial vendors submitted talks about their solutions and how they can benefit MySQL users. And I think we always just relied on a cadre of the core MySQL developers to submit talks about what is new in MySQL, the MySQL roadmap for the future, and bread-and-butter talks about topics such as how replication works, new features in the query optimizer, the storage engine architecture, and so on. The point is that this year, we need to make this assumption explicit: we need full coverage of the breadth and depth of topics, not just the mad scientist topics.
So, please get your creative juices flowing, and submit those session and tutorial proposals on DRBD, partitioning, community toolkits, security, using MySQL with NoSQL, geospatial functionality, cloud computing, Cluster, search, sharding, memcached, high availability, DevOps, Big Data, SSD storage, data warehousing, and all those other great topics. If you need inspiration, look at the schedule for previous years.
The most important thing is that you share what you know — even if it doesn’t seem conference-worthy to you, trust me, it is. All you have to do is show up and tell a story. Stories win, every time. Your story doesn’t have to be extreme, or expert, or hardcore, or funny, or charismatic. It just needs to be real. It is so much better to listen to someone who’s just a DBA at a company somewhere, telling about his experiences setting up replication, than to come to a session with someone who’s trying to impress you. You’ll be among rock stars who’ve built huge systems with MySQL — don’t try too hard, just be yourself and try to be helpful to your audience.
And please blog, tweet, retweet, tell your friends, tell your local user groups and meetups, and otherwise help spread the word about this event. We’ll see you in Santa Clara in April!