If 80's movies have taught me anything, it's that any good story needs to have a video montage with Journey playing in the background. With that in mind, I'll start this blog post with a glimpse of HostingCon 2012:
HostingCon brings the hosting industry together every year, and the conference winds up being surprisingly similar to classic 80's "coming of age" movies:
- "Geeks" are among the main characters.
- There's always a "funny guy."
- At some point, the geeks attend a party.
- The characters learn more about themselves and others over the course of the movie.
- As the credits roll, everyone is inspired ... Ready to take on the world.
With that in mind, HostingCon 2012 in Boston was a veritable John Hughes flick. There was no shortage of geeks, we hung out with one of the funniest people in the country, we threw a massive party, and we learned a ton. Without a doubt, attendees returned home with their intensity and enthusiasm cranked up to eleven (another 80's reference).
The expo hall was abuzz with activity — albeit after a lull in the morning following the aptly named "Host Me All Night Long" party — and we enjoyed the opportunity to catch up with current partners and customers while meeting and speaking with soon-to-be partners and customers. While running a highly competitive Server Challenge, we were still able to dive deeper into partnerships, the build v. buy decision, branding, and launching a product when attendees visited our booth after hearing from our team in conference sessions and panels, and those conversations are what keep us coming back to HostingCon every year.
As a "veteran" of the hosting industry (assuming seven years of experience qualifies me), I've learned a great deal about the dynamics of the hosting industry from events like HostingCon over the years. On one hand, many of the attendees are "competitors," and on the other hand, we're all trying to make the industry better (since "a rising tide lifts all boats"). As a great example, look at the Internet Infrastructure Coalition (i2C), a trade association of companies with the shared goal and purpose of representing the industry in Washington, D.C., and beyond.
As it turns out, that unity flew out the door when attendees stood face-to-rack with the Server Challenge, though. Unlike our experiences at more general "technology" conferences, the components in our competition needed no introduction, and participants were particularly driven to best their peers ... not only for the iPad, but for the pride of owning the Server Challenge title at HostingCon:
- Darin Goldman - 0:59.28
- Devon Hillard - 1:01.58
- Ijan Kruizinga - 1:01.83
- Jon Basha - 1:03.02
- Sean Whitley - 1:03.06
As you saw in the video, Darin Goldman had the luxury of not needing his second attempt on the final day of the conference to secure a victory, but we were glad he let us record his "Breakfast Club" fist-pump to share with the world.
Don't stop believing (in hosting).
P.S. I recorded the first few minutes of Ralphie May's set, but the adult language-ness of the content makes it a little more difficult to share with the world.