Today was the last day of a truly awesome Ruby convention in Pittsburgh (pronounced "Pittz-burf" by someone potentially brilliant) dubbed: Steel City Ruby Conf. Otherwise known as "SCRC". Of which I thought was a motorcycle group, but as always, it is good to be wrong. At this conference, along with Greenville Grok the focus was put on the 30 minute inbetween sessions.
This meant that although the speaker line up was potentially insane at
SCRC, the organizers put a large amount of weight on the
human interaction between the talks. I find there to be a few problems
with this model, especially in light of the kind of people who are in
attendance at a
broprogrammer conference...we are mostly awkward OK! So why
force us into a 30 minute "mingle tarcks" with no Internet, little
coffee, and definitely NO beer?
Not challenging yourself to meet people at conferences is a terrible way to go through something potentially awesome. However, forcing people into these (30 minute tarcks) isn't going to lead to anything impressive. Yes, a few intermission tarcks are great. We as nerds should be ripped from the confort of our mechanical keyboards and Aeron chairs and forced to interact with other like minded fools. It is just 100% more productive when a lubricant is involved. This could include mini coding sessions, pairing games for future hackathons, tiny code challenges, beer drinking, anything!
Keeping these times open and only for 30 minutes makes us realize how little we can dive into a person's life (if they even let us), before we are ushered back to another talk. The moral? If you are starting a conference, think long and hard about the mingle tarcks. They are invaluable; however, if poorly managed, a definite: stagnant nightmare. Be brilliant and assist in the breeding of said genius.