This is one of the oddly handsome organizers of the exceptional conference I recently attended last weekend in Jacksonville, Fl. I would have put a photo of them both up, but I am uncertain they would both fit on the page.
LessConf was an idea conceptualized by Allan Branch (pictured to the right) and Steven Bristol. Both are extraordinary Ruby on Rails programmers, making some of the webs simplest apps. You can find them both on www.lesseverything.com. Within a month or so, they managed to put together one of the most informative conferences I have attended in the recent years.
One of the things I truly dislike about some events, are the speaker lineups. Many of the speakers are usually just chums with the organizer, and kind of get to speak out of friendship. This was certainly not the case at www.lessconference.com. The lineup was purely picked on knowledge and interest alone. Personally there was only one speech I got bored of and walked out on, to catch up on some work. Other than this one, each speaker taught me something that I can take back to my own business.
Since I do not want to point out this one speaker, I will try not to mention all the others I enjoyed, so that there is still some space for mystery. Des Traynor and Eoghan (pronounced Owen) McCabe from Contrast.ie blew me away. Their speech was entitled How to be awesome!, and after about 117 slides, I felt like even I could make things on my site more awesome. These two guys and their company are on the list of guys to keep an eye on. I am pretty sure you will be hearing about their accomplishments in the news often.
Although I have seen Mike McDerment from Freshbooks speak at what seems like every conference, each time I hear him I am reminded why his company is such a success. If there is one single company I could point to, who get customer service and retention, it would have to be Freshbooks. Each time I hear about things they did for their customers, it just blows me away. You can read some of their antics here.
One of the sponsors, Storenvy, also managed to show us how innovation is still alive. Their new site enables anybody who wants to sell t-shits the ability have their own store and sell their products free of charge. Cannot wait to try this out.
Allan and Steve, I am utterly amazed that you were able to pick a lineup that was so perfect for the crowd. There was minimal self promotion from the speakers and the crowd, and it just make for a marvelous weekend. Haven’t questioned myself once for taking the trek all the way up there. Would gladly do it again, and I look forward to next years events.