A tech comm conference doesn’t have to be boring. It’s not always a bunch of disinterested people who doze off waiting for the next coffee break. Actually, people can be excited about learning new stuff and networking. And that’s what MadWorld is all about. This year, we had a chance to participate in this event and we came up with five reasons why you should attend next year.
#1 – Venue
Who wouldn’t like to go to sunny California? Probably, most of us would love to do it.
San Diego is a beautiful green city that has a lot to offer for tourists. You have everything – modern skyscrapers, museums, lots of food places, beaches, and parks.
But that’s not everything. If you want to enjoy mountains, no problem. Just move a few kilometres outside the city. If you’re up for it, make sure to reserve a day or two for hiking. Mission Trails Regional Park is one of the interesting places to visit.
If you prefer cycling, you’re also in the right place. You can rent a bike and ride along the coastline, for example, to Carlsbad.
If you’re a beer lover, you’re in the right place too. It’s easy to find a good pint because craft breweries are scattered all over San Diego. You can try Mission Brewery, located in the East Village. They have very good IPAs on tap.
But let’s get back to the conference itself. This year’s edition was held at Hard Rock Hotel, located in the historic Gaslamp Quarter in Downtown.
The conference rooms were spacious and the hotel staff provided excellent service and great food. Breakfast and lunch were served on a rooftop terrace so we could catch some sun while enjoying our meal.
#2 – MadWorld Hospitality Lounge
Which translates into a room full of experts who know MadCap products inside-out. You could just talk to them about your doubts, challenges, and about the features you would like to see in the upcoming versions. It was also a good occasion to meet people from the support that you knew only from emails.
The lounge was open for three days, so there was plenty of time to get an appointment, although sometimes the waiting line was quite long. The folks were friendly, understanding and patient. Even after a good hour of our nagging, they still wanted to talk to us 😉
The chance to meet the experts in person is definitely one of the key elements of the conference. Some of the attendees even admitted that access to the lounge alone is worth the price of admission because they can solve their problems instantly.
#3 – Presentations
The conference schedule was fully packed. We got two days of presentations. Each day offered five sessions with four different tracks. Sometimes, it was really hard to decide where to go.
As with every conference, some presentations are more useful than the others depending on your background and expectations. But with such a wide selection to choose from, it was hard not to learn something new. And the learning process wasn’t that painful because a great deal of presentations included a practical demo showing how to put theory into practice.
This year, we could expand our knowledge, for example, about CSS, Global Project linking, content re-use, proxies, MadCap Mimic and Analyzer, templates, and JQuery plugins. The list goes on almost forever. 🙂 At the end of each day, you had a feeling that your brain was about to explode from all the knowledge that you absorbed.
#4 – Advanced Workshop
Presentations are the core part of the conference and the Advanced Workshop is the icing on the cake. It’s one additional day of intensive hands-on training. This year, the participants dug into CSS, optimizing performance of the HTML5 output, the TopNav design and had an opportunity to prepare for Flare certification. The organisers provided very practical sessions that contained useful examples and presented real-life use cases. No froth, pure facts.
#5 – Networking
MadWorld attendees had plenty of occasions to make new friends. Every day ended with a networking event with food, drinks, and games, like bag throwing or garden Jenga.
One evening, the organisers took us to a nearby country bar where we could learn American line dancing. Even the shy ones got into it. 😉
Networking was also easier because of the conference app. It was like Twitter on steroids – we could check the agenda, mark sessions we wanted to attend, post pictures, add comments, rate events, follow other people, etc. The app really caught on – the attendees were posting pictures and commenting on presentations all the time making the conference more lively.
It all looks cool but is there a catch?
Of course there is, and it’s quite big – once you feel the MadWorld vibe, there’s no turning back. You just “go Mad” and you really want to come back to the conference. The MadCap team, who is very welcoming and approachable, does a really good job and you can feel it.
If you’re a MadCap Flare user who enjoys using this software and wants to dig deeper into it, there’s no better conference to attend than MadWorld. So you better start getting ready for next year’s edition. 🙂