Concerts, Conferences and TelerikNEXT

On my 18th birthday, my girlfiend took me to my first ever REAL concert. It’s hard to believe, but up until this point I had not been to a real concert. Sure, I had been to smaller venues before to watch some terrible local band play, or even to play in one myself – I was a bass player in the legendary local Houston band, 57 Farmdogs.

Here is a track off of our debut album. I cannot convey strongly enough my recommendation that you should NOT press play.

Jo Hand from 57 Farm Dogs on Myspace.

You pressed it didn’t you. I warned you. It was 1997 and we were in high school. Ska was big. Don’t judge me.

The Real Deal

Being the moody high schooler that I was, my favorite band was The Smiths. Running a close second was The Cure. In my overly sensitive (and honestly pretty emo) 17 year old world, these bands were definitive. Unfortunately, The Smiths were long gone by the time I found them, and the only remnant was a sad reminder in the form of a solo act.  I realize that my musical taste might not have been par for the course with my peers…

Cause it was Bell Biv Devoe on the radio, and I had Wu-Tang Clan living in my stereo

Mat Kearney – Just Kids

Well, you may have been listening to Wu-Tang clan, but I had Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me living in my stereo.  That’s why my first concert, on my 18th birthday no less, was The Cure.

Now judgments on my musical taste aside, there is obviously no comparison between the 57 Farmdogs and The Cure in concert. One is an event, and the other is an experience.

I tried really hard to find a good video of The Cure performing live. Unfortunately, the band hasn’t aged terribly well and it just wasn’t really helping the point I’m trying to make here. So instead, here is Coldplay doing an epic “Sky Full Of Stars” live. You get the idea.

Conferences And Concerts

Unfortunately, I don’t go to very many concerts anymore. My last one was Warped Tour this past summer where I was the oldest person by about 10 years.

I do, however, go to a lot of conferences.

In fact, I would event classify myself as a connoisseur of conferences. When a large chunk of your day job involves attending tech conferences, you very quickly become an astute observer of the nuances of conference life – a “conference groupie” if you will.

You can imagine how floored I was when Todd Anglin told me at the beginning of 2014 that Telerik was planning it’s first ever US conference.

The Birth Of A Conference

Now going to conferences is one thing, planning them is an entirely different animal altogether. Ask anyone who has ever been part of planning a tech conference, and they will tell you that it’s just like riding a bike.  Only the bike is on fire, and you’re on fire and and everything is on fire and you’re in hell. It is not for the faint of heart.

Fortunately, I happen to work with Brian Rinaldi.

A Man Of Many Virtues

As the Content and Community Manager here at Telerik, Brian wears a lot of hats. He is the Editor And Chief for this site, the Telerik Developer Network. Anything that you see here is edited, cleaned up and professionally formatted. I assure you, that is not done by the authors; that is done by Brian.

Brian also manages all of the User Groups out there that Telerik supports. By the way, if you run a user group, Brian would love to hear from you, so please drop him a line.

Brian knows a thing or two about conferences as well, having originally created and organized RIA Unleashed, which is now known as Web Unleashed and run by FITC. That’s a really good thing, because I know jack squat about organizing events. The only event that I ever organized was a party at my house that nobody showed up to. Do you have any idea how long it takes to drain a pony keg all by yourself?

With Brian in the driver’s seat, we got to work planning our first conference. We wanted to create an experience, not an occurrence. We’ve already discussed how hard it is to create an experience, but that’s what we do here at Telerik. We develop experiences. Go big or go home right?

A successful event is defined by five criteria:

  • Name
  • Venue
  • Date
  • Content
  • Price

Name: TelerikNEXT

Oh the naming conundrum. If you have children, then you know what it’s like to bikeshed a name. The name you give something is going to be the first impression people get of your event. You cannot get this wrong.

After much discussion, we decided on the name TelerikNEXT. With products like the Telerik Platform and NativeScript, we’ve really been pushing the edge of the next big trends in app development. The focus of the conference is going to be on these emerging trends and the next generation of Telerik application development tools and platforms.

Venue: Boston Harbor Hotel

The venue is critical. I once stayed at a Howard Johnson’s that had a conference room. I’m fairly sure that’s the most depressing thing I have ever seen.

After much soul searching, Brian finally decided on the Hyatt Boston Harbor Hotel in Boston, MA.

lobby

I love this hotel. Right on the Boston Harbor waterfront, it is a thing to behold, with views that blow my mind. I looked on their website and there was a picture of a whale!

whale

Does that mean there will be whales in the Boston Harbor? I don’t think so, but it’s happened before.

This hotel is just gorgeous inside and out. I’m particularly fond of their ballrooms and conference area.

BOSHA_P121

Of course, having a breathtaking venue in Boston in January isn’t a win. That’s why the next important question to answer is WHEN?

Date: May 3 – 5th

This might be the hardest part. There are eleventy billion tech conferences happening at any given moment around the world. It is virtually impossible to schedule one that doesn’t conflict with another. Fortunately, we were able to find just that window.

The conference will take place on the 4th and 5th of May (Monday and Tuesday), with an optional day of workshops on the 3rd. A beautiful time to be in Boston if I do say so myself.

Content

The next obvious question is, who is TelerikNEXT for? Or better yet, what is the content going to be like?

Telerik has a wide array of products and communities in it’s portfolio. We cover desktop, web, mobile, CMS, testing and ALM just to name a few. If you break this down even further, you get sessions like…

  • Intro To AngularJS
  • Mobile UX Workshop
  • Working With Data in ASP.NET MVC Apps
  • Hybrid vs Web vs Native: Which is right for me?
  • Mobile APIs with MongoDB And Node
  • Building Touch Apps With WPF

As a developer, you can see a wide range of topics here. We essentially have 4 different tracks to choose from…

  1. Mobile
  2. Web
  3. .NET
  4. Sitefinity (CMS)

This allows us to offer some content for everyone, while saving you from having to choose between 12 different sessions. It also means that some content will be specific to technology and some will be specific to Telerik tools. For instance, you’ll find sessions like…

  • Mastering JavaScript

…and you’ll also find session like…

  • A Lap Around NativeScript

…which is a new open source tool for building native mobile apps developed by Telerik. We’ve taken special care to include a great mix of subject matter experts from both Telerik products, and the development community at large. Speaker selection for TelerikNEXT was invite only, and that allowed us to cultivate the most qualified of presenters.

So we have a luxurious venue in the gorgeous city of Boston during arguably the most enjoyable month of the year featuring cutting edge sessions for developers, customers and Telerik partners. The next logical question is: how much does this cost?

Price

I feel like this is the point where I should reveal the price “infomercial” style.

If you actually own a Ronco, you obviously got a steal.

We wanted pricing to be affordable and simple. The early bird price for the conference is $450 through February 28. The workshops are an additional $250. In fact, here is the complete pricing grid from the TelerikNEXT website.

pricing

I just love the price we’re able to offer for TelerikNEXT. Keeping the cost really low helps it fit into everyone’s budget, and at the end of the day, we want everyone to be able to come, not just those who have an employer who is generous enough to foot a $1000 + conference price tag.

And ALSO

What’s a conference without a keynote speaker? We put so much thought into this one. We wanted to do a different kind of keynote than you might be used to seeing or expect from a technical conference.

Who could we get to do our keynote that you would never expect, but who makes perfect sense.

What about the host from one of the most famous “geek” TV shows of all time. A guy who worked for Industrial Light and Magic building effects and models for Star Wars 1, 2, and 3, the Matrix trilogy, Terminator 3 and more. Someone who used to build and compete in Battlebots and even built a robot for Craig Ferguson on The Late Late Show.

Someone who was living at the intersection of engineering and creativity.

Keynote: Grant Imahara

220px-Grant_Imahara_by_Gage_Skidmore

We’re pleased to have Grant Imahara of Mythbusters fame as our keynote speaker at TelerikNEXT. If you’ve ever seen Mythbusters, he needs no introduction. If you aren’t familiar, Grant was a long time host on the popular show which airs on The Discovery Channel. The cast uses engineering and physics to put common myths and urban legends to the test, as well as just blowing stuff up for fun.

I’m incredibly excited about seeing Grant at TelerikNEXT as I’ve been a huge fan of his for a long time.

TelerikNEXT

So to summarize, TelerikNEXT is the first US conference from Telerik for developers, customers, partners and the developer community. It’s taking place May 3rd – 5th at the Boston Hyatt Harbor Hotel. Tickets start at $450 and Grant Imahara from the Mythbusters will be our keynote speaker.

This is going to be an experience, not just a conference. Make sure you head over to the official TelerikNEXT page and get registered.

From all of us at the Telerik Developer Network, we hope to see you at TelerikNEXT for the conference experience of 2015. Register today.

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