Two weeks ago we were still anxious to see if we’ll break even organising #ALE2011. Few days later we knew we’ll end up with a surplus and the most amazing unconference many people have been to for some time.
Last week I read on the Stack Exchange blog that DevDays 2011 was cancelled. I was really surprised. I remember the buzz of the Stack Overflow DevDays in 2009, great feedback they got and excellent presenters who gave memorable talks like the classic “Tony The Pony” from Jon Skeet. I know there is a large community behind the Stack Exchange sites including over 750 thousand users of Stack Overflow.
It was even more striking as we have had, at least at first glance, a similar goal – #ALE2011 brings together Agile and Lean practitioners from across Europe trying to build a strong and working community. DevDays was trying to bring together software development practitioners from around the world and build the Stack Overflow community. We set our price well above the DevDays ’09 $99 and our € 250 ($ 340) was not far off the $499 tag.
How was it, that Joel Spolsky, being a very clever and experienced guy failed while a team of novices managed to succeed? It still baffles me.
Perhaps because, despite several strong signs that we are not going to make it (financially) and thus many sleepless nights for the Money Sofa, we have never even considered cancelling #ALE2011?
Perhaps because Joel was focused on his tried and tested commercial model while we adopted a new and unexplored model of the Anarchy with a Purpose?
I hope ALE community will continue this year’s success. I’m sure Stack Overflow community will have many future opportunities to meet and a great conference next year.
Maybe they could try our model?