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Joel on Software

Conferences in New York

by Joel Spolsky
Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Andrew emailed to ask why we don’t have a StackOverflow DevDays day in New York City. That’s a fair question! There’s a big software development community here.

There are two reasons New York is low on my list. The first is cost. Hotels, venues, and catering are prohibitively expensive in New York. At a medium-class hotel, say, the Marriott on the East Side, giving everybody one coffee break with coffee, tea, soft drinks, and nothing to eat costs $23 per person [PDF]. It’s simply impossible to do a $99 one-day event in New York.

The other reason is attendance. I don’t know why, but techies in New York just don’t turn out for events at the same level as other cities. When we did the FogBugz world tour we had three times as many attendees in London as New York. Maybe New Yorkers are extra busy. But turnout is always surprisingly thin in the city.

It’s a particularly bad place to do tech conferences, too. Hotels are $600-$700 a night. Everything about putting on a conference is remarkably expensive. And half of your attendees wander off to visit the Statue of Liberty when they should be in your Python tutorial meeting.

Have you been wondering about Distributed Version Control? It has been a huge productivity boon for us, so I wrote Hg Init, a Mercurial tutorial—check it out!

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About the author.

I’m Joel Spolsky, co-founder of Fog Creek Software, a New York company that proves that you can treat programmers well and still be highly profitable. Programmers get private offices, free lunch, and work 40 hours a week. Customers only pay for software if they’re delighted. We make Trello, which lets you organize anything, together, FogBugz, enlightened issue tracking software for bug tracking, and Kiln, which provides distributed version control and code reviews. I’m also the co-founder and CEO of Stack Exchange. More about me.

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