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36 hours in the life of the Mobile & Embedded Developer Days organizer

Posted by brinkley on November 1, 2007 at 7:26 PM PDT

The last 24 hours have been quite a ride with regard to the Java Mobile & Embedded Developer Days.

Yesterday morning at the beginning of the day there were just around 30 submissions for the conference. There were some really good talks, but still not a tremendous amount of content. I wasn't overly surprised when I got up rather sluggishly and found 5 new submissions in my inbox. What was a surprise was the number of sessions that kept pouring in all day. We must work in a industry of procrastinators because I received over 35 submissions yesterday and I'm talking rock solid presentations.

Knowing that we were going to open the site for registration today there a strong need to have a least 3 technical talks and 3 lightning talks selected by the end of the day. I sent our team of external reviewers the morning list of about 35 sessions. Problem was they kept going to the web page that was being automatically updated and say, "oh, oh, can I choose that one?"

I thought that choosing would be a pretty simple task. I figured this bright group of reviewers would make my life easy. I thought they would be the I Ching of conference selection and give me the "obvious" answer. They did for the lightning talks but my goodness they were all over the board selecting the technical sessions. I couldn't decide if the content was that strong or if I had 10 truly diverse set of engineers on my hands that made obvious choices not so obvious. In late afternoon Terrence and I made a decision, almost totally ignoring the selection's team guidance, and selected what we think are the 3 strongest and surest submissions. You can see our final list here.

After a short evening with the family, I started working on changing the conference web site. How hard can it be to add a "register here" button? It didn't take me long to realize that we need to streamline things and one thing led to another and walla we have a totally new look and ready for registrations. Ah it's 4:30 in the morning. Oh what the hey, may as well do the agenda timeline while I'm at it. The fact that I greeted my wife as she left for work at 6:30 am doesn't seem to matter.

Sleep? Never mind, I'll just go back downstairs. The timeline doesn't look right so I fix it and work on an email to my superiors. It goes something like this:

Yesterday we closed the call for papers. There have over 60 submissions: 33 Technical Sessions; 23 lightning talks; and 6 poster sessions. I'd say that over 80% of the talks are of high quality. 24 of the submission are from Sun but that's largely because the SunSpot team has decided to submit a series of 7 lightning talks instead of one large sessions. Next to Sun Nokia has submitted 4 talks. The lionshare of the talks are from the United States, but Brazil submit 6 or 7 proposals. Europe has about 2 or 3.

After the weekly medd (Mobile & Embedded Developer Days) team meeting at 8:30 I plopped into bed for a few hours of rest. It is what everyone does at 9:20 in the morning, isn't it? You know what I can't figure out is why when you work all night the phone has to ring all day? Where were you people when I was awake and somewhat coherent in the middle of night? Geez!!

At 1:30 I stumbled out of bed and started another day. Over 200 new messages in the Inbox. What do you people do work while I'm sleeping in the middle the day? The gall of it all!

We're still short a key note speaker so we're working on our number one choice. After a lot of back and forth we can now say that James Gosling is going to be the keynote speaker. Yeah...pinch myself to make sure I'm actually awake.

It's now late afternoon and the stragglers are coming begging. "Uh, I missed the deadline! Please, pretty please, I won't do it again. Gravel, gravel, gravel" Right! Three years as a JavaOne track lead. Come on I know better. I wasn't born last night I just worked the night. Everyone knows that there is a hard date for closing submissions and soft date. Besides when JXTA, Intel, Java FX/Mobile, and Netbeans developers come asking are you going to say no? So that ups us to around 65 or 70 talks now.


It's almost the end of the 36 hours. I took the family out for dinner at the local ice cream shop. The eye lids are falling and I'm really ready for the rag bag.

I know that I'm going to have a good nights sleep and dream about selling out the conference on the first day. We've got James as a keynote and the best mobile content ever assembled. So good in fact that a couple of really good talks that would make any other conference might not make it here. Combine that with an excellent format this puppy ought to sell out the limited number of of seats in a matter of hours.

Yeah I know, you think I'm dreaming. Maybe I am! Maybe I was six months ago when I pitched this idea to Terrence and we took it to management. Maybe I was when all our external advisers said do it. Maybe I was when my director finally said do it and the M&E team started October 1 creating this conference. Maybe I was when submissions came flooding in yesterday and maybe I am when I say the auditorium will be completely full January 22 at 9:00 am.

Maybe so...but I can tell you now it is going to be the hottest ticket in town for ME developer and if you miss it....well your going to miss the first and best mobile and embedded conference of the year. Don't wait, register now, register here.

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