RICON. RICON was a distributed systems conference hosted by Basho Technologies and the event sponsors. The event was, hands down, a smashing success.
Yes, the conference was put on by a software company, but this was different than most conferences put on by a vendor. RICON was clearly a conference put on by people who love building distributed systems. All of the talks were given by people building distributed systems in the wild. There were no marketing talks, but there were talks about new features, new ideas, and new products all viewed through the lens of distributed systems.
Both Adron Hall (@adron) and Dan Ostrowski put together good write ups about the talks that they enjoyed. If you want to know more about the talks themselves, check out their posts or start reading the presentations while you wait for the videos. The quality of the presentations was incredibly high and I was not disappointed.
What made RICON great was the focus on the attendees and the community. It was clear that the organizers went out of their way to make sure that attendees had a great time. From the custom hoodies and beautiful signage to vegan meal options and amazing vendor-sponsored party I felt like I was at something bigger and better than a conference. This felt like an inclusive social event where I could learn with and from my technical peers, make new friends, and feel like the dumbest person in the room in the best way possible. It’s not every day that you get to go to dinner with the keynote speaker, a distributed systems researcher, and a team of engineers building a distributed monitoring platform for distributed systems.
RICON drastically changed my reading list. While it’s never been a short list, I’ve re-organized it to help fill up the gaps in my knowledge that this event pointed out. The reading isn’t just about distributed systems – I’ve added reading about databases, programming, networkings, and even from the humanities. In short – RICON did more than get me thinking about distributed systems can solve the problems I see regularly. RICON got me thinking.
Was the conference worth it? Heck yeah. I got to meet up with old friends, make new friends, and learn a lot about a subject I’m passionate about. I’m happy that Mark Phillips (one of the organizers) reminded me that I should buy a ticket before they sold out (the conference did sell out, by the way). I’m happy that I got a chance to go. And I can promise you that if there’s a RICON 2013, I’m going to try to be the first person to buy a ticket.