With the current trend in unconferences, it seems people have finally become tired of all the marketing hype that drives so many traditional tech conferences. Just thinking about it is giving me flashbacks of sitting in a darkened auditorium for the last session of the day fighting off the boredom as people around me begin drooling out the side of their mouths, dead eyes unfocused on the conspicuously excited spotlit suit and a seemingly endless series of point-form slides and graphs with unlabelled axes. Reminding myself there were crates of beer in ice being deployed out in the hall was the only thing that kept me compos mentis.
Of course, not all conferences are only as good as the parties after hours. And I’m sure I speak for several others when I suggest that it’s a great place to start.
But there seems to be a niche for conferences that don’t suck. A conference by developers, for developers.
When we heard there was a series of conferences coming up that aren’t full of marketing fluff, we were interested in Atlassian being involved. When we heard JetBrains (most Atlassian developers worship at the temple of IntelliJ IDEA), Contegix (these guys do all our hosting) and Jive (we have run the awesome Jive forums for years) were sponsors we knew No Fluff Just Stuff was something Atlassian should be in on.
Of course, when I heard about it I was ready to be disappointed. Being a chronic sceptic my thoughts about the NFJS conference were as follows:
- What the hell is that? The name doesn’t tell me anything.
- Oh I see it’s a conference – yawn.
- “No Fluff” eh? I bet that’s marketing trying to convince me of something I’m least likely to conclude from the evidence – it must be totally full of fluff.
- I wonder if the parties are any good.
- Atlassian are “proud partners” with NFJS. Why are partners always “proud”? Why can’t they be “splendid” or “glad” or “titillated” just for once?
- Laura from marketing tells me “it’s actually good” and I should check the website for myself.
- Oh alright then.
- Hmm… I just read the blurb and my bullshit detector is not going off.
- OK maybe it doesn’t suck.
- Damn. Wish I was in Boston this week.
So the No Fluff Just Stuff conference does seem to be a pretty good Java developer event. They hold it in a different US city every week and I have heard talk of NFJS doing some conferences outside the US maybe next year.
At the actual NFJS conferences we’ve been giving away free licenses to the shiny new JIRA Studio so if you’re a free-stuff person thinking of attending, go and bug our people to find out how to win one.
Hopefully NFJS is the part of a broader movement and more conferences that don’t suck appear.