Wow. What a day. It’s taken me almost two weeks to write about it.

I’ve now been involved in five code camps, and these are the highlights of my year. I’m so grateful that I was asked to be a key contributor in organizing the NYC event. And I’m doubly grateful that my wife, Lorri, and her friend Carol Finley were able to help as well.

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Lorri is the adorable one in red.  She took all the code camp photos except the ones at the restaurant for the speaker / organizer dinner, which were taken by me.

Although the code camps put on by my own user group (Fairfield / Westchester) are fantastic experiences, this latest NYC event is the biggest event I’ve had the honor to be part of. And I actually had a chance to see parts of a handful of sessions 🙂

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One of the many heavily attended sessions.

I’ve worked with some terrific people on organizing previous events, but Stephen Bohlen is that rare person who matches my passion and urgency in running one of these. Not to take anything way from others I’ve worked with, because I know that my other teammates could approach Steve’s efforts if they had the time and energy to do so. The motivating factor of working with someone like that is enormous, and I’m very grateful for that.

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Me and Steve Bohlen having a well earned rest, discussing user groups, code camps, their future, and the self-sustaining and perpetuating nature of these communities.

400 people signed up in under a day! On top of that, we had 175 people on the waiting list! Incredible. We should consider having a full weekend in the future. Between the attendee response and the speaker response (we had to cut 75 session proposals down to 40), we’d definitely be able to pull this off.

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Some of our many attendees, reading up on the sessions to attend.

Of course, we’d have to make cloning legal to attend all the great sessions we wanted to see.

This has got to be the most exciting and interesting field. Of course, I’m biased. But I’m so looking forward to the Philly code camp on April 10th as an attendee, to catch up on all I’ve missed out on.

The newly renovated Microsoft offices on 6th Avenue is a great place to hold such an event. We even had enough room to hold repeat sessions for a couple of speakers. Now that we understand the room layouts, we’ll know how to better assign the rooms next time.

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One of our several SRO sessions.  This one was repeated later in the day.

Considering the size of the event (I believe this to be the largest ever held at Microsoft’s NYC offices), it went extremely smooth. We only had a few glitches, and we recovered quickly. I have to give special thanks to Steve Andrews (a surprise visitor who filled in for a last minute speaker cancellation) and his huge catalog of prepared talks, and Edwin Ames. They filled in just when we needed them. Thanks, guys!

The pizza, supplied by Pronto Pizza, was great, and the delivery was very smooth. We’ll definitely get our pizza from them again.

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The standard developer power lunch.

We had a great sponsor for energy drinks – Bawls.  I had six of them before the last two cases mysteriously disappeared.  They tasted great, and were perfect for developers.

We had a wonderful response for sponsors (Lab49, SetFocus, Infragistics, Telerik, Wintellect, JetBrains and SQL Sets).  Without you guys, there’s no way we could have pulled this off. Thanks!

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Our sponsors made it possible to feed the masses with food and swag.

Speakers, without you there is no code camp.  Period.  Your contribution to the community is immeasurable.

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A favorite rest and mingle area for the speakers.

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My favorite hangout spot during the day – the speaker’s lounge.  You learn by osmosis just by hanging around them.

I want to thank the entire organizing team. In addition to Stephen Bohlen, co-founder of ALT.NET, etc., etc., we had great help and input from M&M tolerater, newly appointed Microsoft DE, Rachel Appel, our “always there when you need him” Microsoft DE, Peter Laudati, Mr. Spring.NET himself, Mark Pollack, the world famous BI expert and NYC .NET Developers Group leader, Andrew Brust, long-distant NYC .NET Developers Group leader Stephen Forte (who seemed to be awake 24/7 from Hong Kong, or whatever mountain he was traversing at the time), developer social organizer queen, Sara Chipps, ALT.NET group leader and proponent, and Willie Wonka / Veruca Salt fan, Scott Reynolds, Renaissance man Bill Robertson, and Platinum sponsor Lab49’s own Daniel Chait.  I want to also thank our many volunteers.  I wish I had everyone’s name.

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Volunteer Carol Finley resting up at the end of a hectic day.

One key thing that this event got me motivated to do is plan a (hopefully collaborative with Steve Bohlen) book on running these tech events. I think it could be a good companion guide to Dr. Greg Low’s Rational Guide to Building Technical User Communities.  Not exactly sure when we could start on this, but I’m first going to update not only my post on preparing for a code camp, but also finally update the rest of my series.  We learned a LOT from this code camp, and I learned a hell of a lot from Steve.

Finally, although we gave away a LOT of swag (in record time, no less), there is one prize that nobody claimed.  Sorry Forte – we tried 😉

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