Gluecon 2011: Changing the Game

Gluecon is unlike any conference I've ever run before.

Because it's aimed at developers, the topics are far more technical than my feeble marketer's brain can easily comprehend. And because Glue isn't defined as "a cloud computing" conference, it's not caught in the echo chamber of "defining" this, that and the other thing. Glue seeks to explore the connective "tissue" of the web and IT infrastructure. That connective tissue can be called a lot of things: service oriented architecture, web services, APIs, cloud computing, etc. But call it what you will, developers know that it's not the name that counts, it's the building of the application, and the underlying infrastructure that supports it.

In that context, my goal with Gluecon is really simple: Make it THE gathering place for developers in the API/Cloud space.

With that goal in mind, we're setting out this year to change the game for developer conferences. And the only way that I know to change the game is to open things up in such a way as to get maximum involvement from the community.

As such, I'm extremely happy to announce that Alcatel-Lucent is signing on to be the Community Underwriter and Partner Sponsor of Gluecon 2011.

Yea, but what the hell does that mean?

It all started with Mike Maney coming to me and asking, "hey, what if we wanted to underwrite the ability for 15 companies to have demo pods at Glue in 2011? What if we wanted their participation to be based solely on merit, not the ability to pay for an exhibit?"

That question has led us to today.

As part of Alcatel-Lucent becoming the Community Underwriter for Gluecon, we're announcing that 15 companies will be selected to have completely free demo space at Gluecon (i.e., the demo pod includes passes to the show, signage, internet -- everything you need; just show up with a laptop).

How are you selecting the companies?

To select the companies, we've put together a selection committee that consists of:

Myself

Chris Shipley (Guidewire Group)

Mathew Ingram (of MESH and GigaOm)

John Musser (Programmable Web)

Laura Merling (Alcatel-Lucent)

Alex Williams (ReadWriteWeb)

Jeff Lawson (Twilio)

Jeff Hammond (Forrester)

Ian Glazer (Gartner)

Ben Kepes (Diversity.net)

Krish Subramanian (CloudAve)

Vinod Kurpad (Best Buy)

Seth Levine (Foundry Group)

(and we'll probably add a couple of more folks)

The process will be simple: we accept applications for the 15 spots, every person on the selection committee gets to vote for their favorite 15 companies, and the top 15 vote getters have a demo pod.

Does Alcatel-Lucent get a say in who gets a demo pod?

Yes, but no. They have a vote (technically, 2 - since Programmable Web is owned by Alcatel-Lucent), but not nearly enough to swing a decision. To their credit, the primary concern of Laura, Mike and the gang over at Alcatel-Lucent from Day 1 of our discussions has been about maintaining the credibility and neutrality of Glue. To that end, I've gone out and chosen analysts (Guidewire, Gartner and Forrester), journalists (GigaOm and ReadWriteWeb), managers inside of large corporations (Best Buy) and even other company CEOs (Jeff Lawson of Twilio) to help us run through this process. Neutrality and integrity of this process is the name of the game.

Does Alcatel-Lucent have any editorial control over Gluecon?

Absolutely not. Alcatel-Lucent's involvement here is altruistic: enlarge the size and interaction around this developer community, and everyone benefits.

Are you still selling other exhibit space?

Of course. We're actually getting ready to announce our first raft of exhibitors for Gluecon 2011.

What else does this Alcatel-Lucent sponsorship mean?

Well, for one thing, we're going to be doing some awesome things leading up to Glue -- things like, holding hackathons around the country and then flying the winners into Gluecon to participate in a major league hackathon at the conference. And that'll just be the beginning - stay tuned.

Why is Eric so damn excited about this?

I'm excited because I feel like we have the ability to really change the game with this one. If you take away the company specific conferences (Google i/o, Twitter, F8), there really just aren't that many national-level gathering spots for developers in the cloud/API space. There are a lot of "business level" and "workshop" conferences that happen around cloud computing, but we're talking DEVELOPERS.

And even where there are developer gatherings in the cloud/API space, the ability to pay has always been a limiting factor for startups and companies wanting to show their wares and exhibit.

That ends with Gluecon 2011. With Gluecon 2011, developers in the cloud/API space have the ability to participate in a pure meritocracy. Wow the selection committee, and you're in.

At the end of the day, what I want to see is 500+ developers coming to Gluecon to build apps, figure out cloud infrastructure, scaling, security, and solve the tough problems around API construction, usage and maintenance.

So, how do I apply?

It's easy. Start here.

And if we'd rather have a bigger exhibit space than the pod (ie, a tabletop or booth)?

That's easy too - just ping me (enorlinATmac.com).

Will this be a one-off deal? Or is Gluecon here to stay with this?

My first statement to Alcatel-Lucent when we started these discussions was "doing this for one year gets us nowhere." They agreed. We're here for the long haul, people.

Gluecon 2011 is going to cover an amazingly broad spectrum of cloud/API topics that matter to developers. From Hadoop to Clojure to Active API event processing to Cloud Scaling to Big Data databases (of both the NoSQL and SQL variety) to web protocols (activity streams, PUSH, etc) -- we're going deeper, getting more technical than ever, bringing in a 3rd day of workshops, just generally stepping up and kicking ass.

Think you can hang with the big boys and gals at Gluecon? Apply for a demo pod, and prove it.