One of the beautiful things about a small conference is feeling less like I’m lost in a crowd. I spent three days in Nashville at ZertoCon with a few hundred other attendees. A smaller conference meant smaller queues for food and less walking around the conference center. A smaller crowd also meant that after chatting with the person next to me in a line, I saw them and talked with them again the next day. It is quite a different feeling compared to the massive conferences I often attend. There was also some lovely personal touches such as having Zil (a Zerto staff member, or Zertonian) play guitar for the opening keynote and again at the customer appreciation party. The crowd at the party really appreciated the Zertonians who performed when the house band took a break. I went to more sessions at ZertoCon than I have at any conference since my first VMworld. Both those sessions were good with knowledgeable presenters in rooms that were small enough that questions didn’t feel like an interruption. I also had a one-on-one briefing as well as easy access to talk to Zerto and sponsor staff to answer questions.
I liked the center of Nashville too, although it will be more pleasant when the construction right next to my hotel is finished. The bottom of Broadway is quite a sight, three or four blocks of wall-to-wall live music venues. Even on a Monday night everywhere had live performance and many bars had multiple bands playing. One bar we went to was four floors with three different groups performing. I was surprised that almost all of the music was classic rock covers, not a lot of anything country or western.
My favorite part of all of the conferences that I go to is catching up with my community friends. Ariel and Edgar were there before me and won the hackathon by adding Zerto components to their vDocumentation tool. I caught up with Nick Scuola, Shannon Snowden, and Justin Paul, who are all Zertonians, along with Kaitlyn, who was my host for the event. I also got to hang out with Eric Siebert properly for the first time.
Small conferences are very different from large ones. There was more focus on education and technical content at ZertoCon than at the massive vendor conferences. ZertoCon felt personal and the Zertonians I met wanted to have real relationships with attendees rather than simply to make sales.
© 2019, Alastair. All rights reserved.