No disagreements in what Rob said, just a few additions.

Don't forget that attending the sessions is just part of your overall conference experience. There is networking amongst your peers which has huge lasting effect on your career. I don't think you can underestimate the value because it builds lasting relationships, and provides you with people you can bounce questions off of to help you with a problem, career guidance, or anything else job related. I have meet many fantastic people at COMMON, who started out as just a co-worker, and now they are great friends. We help each other out constantly. Speakers are peers as well and they certainly lend a helpful hand to you during and after the conference.

I am not going to get into which is a better conference, although as President of COMMON, I might be *slightly* biased to COMMON. In addition, I speak at both conferences, and I would say their target audience are different. The IBM tech conference does give you a full breakfast & lunch each day if that is important to you, COMMON has lunch in the expo and reception in the expo that can be considered dinner with the amount of food per person (Just on the Expo days to be clear, which is Sunday and Monday night, and Monday and Tuesday lunch).

My last comment is about price. I never judge a conference on the cost, I judge it on the value I (or my employees) will receive. When I send my guys to conferences, we look at what we get back from the conference, to me that is much more important than the cost. It costs money to be out of the office, travel, and attend a conference, it "costs" even more to have employees who don't know what they are doing, or doing something wrong. I value my employees, they provide value to my company and my customers, and they must be trained to provide the highest level of service. For that reason, I look at the value I receive from a conference.


Pete Massiello
iTech Solutions

-----Original Message-----
From: MIDRANGE-L [mailto:midrange-l-bounces@xxxxxxxxxxxx] On Behalf Of rob@xxxxxxxxx
Sent: Wednesday, September 03, 2014 7:17 AM
To: Midrange Systems Technical Discussion
Subject: Re: IBM tech conference

I would evaluate each conference myself before relying upon any references. Check out each conference's agenda and see if it meets your needs. While some conferences may have a huge diverse audience maybe, just maybe, their sessions will fit your needs if you actually plan your time out while there scheduling each open time slot with a session that meets your needs. For example if some conference is only 30% IBM i based but still leaves you with a full schedule of desired sessions, and some sessions that are hard to come by via other venues, then what does it matter that it's only 30% IBM i? You have to try a little harder to find the right people to network with while enjoying cocktails at the expo?

And some things change over the years. I knew of one gal formerly from our LUG that preferred the IBM Tech Conferences because, well, she wasn't the most physically fit person you ever met. She liked it that those conferences were all in one hotel while COMMON (at the time) was stretched out over 2-3 buildings. That and the IBM Tech Conference provided all the lunches and dinners so you didn't have to go out on the town to eat. Which often caused issues at COMMON when 3,000 people hit the lunch counter in the lobby all at once. COMMON does a much better job with some more of the meals at the expo than they used to.

People like Larry Bolhuis and Pete Massiello have awesome sessions but I would definitely not consider them developer sessions. My LUG is mostly developers and have expressed little interest in their sessions.

I'll admit that I have some preconceived notions about the latest versions of the IBM Tech Conferences. Like, is the cost really higher than COMMON?
Is it that way because System Z goes also and everyone assumes that anyone using System Z has unlimited pockets?

Rob Berendt
IBM Certified System Administrator - IBM i 6.1 Group Dekko Dept 1600 Mail to: 2505 Dekko Drive
Garrett, IN 46738
Ship to: Dock 108
6928N 400E
Kendallville, IN 46755

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