May 24, 2010
I spent two days last week at the Purple Systems user conference, the biggest one ever in the history of the company. I remember early on when it fit into one room in a hotel convention center and everyone listened to the same presentations; now the general session fills a ballroom and there are three or four concurrent tracks of breakout sessions. I hadn’t been in a few yearsâ€”back when the company was small, the user conference was pretty much an “all hands on deck” situation, but in recent times the development staff participation has been scaled way back, as we know have legitimate departments for sales, marketing, and implementation that have been able to handle things. With the higher attendance by customers and prospects this year, and the fact that it was being held in metro Detroit rather than far from the office, more developers were invited. While schmoozing and socializing are not my biggest talents, it was good to take a break from my normal routine and chat with the people who pay my salary (and in the case of prospects, people who might).
At the end of the conference, t-shirts were given to attendees who completed a survey. This year’s design sparked much discussion. Some thought the silhouetted figures of a man and a woman would be perfect for an ad for an erectile dysfunction drug, especially since it wasn’t clear if these figures were wearing any clothes (other than capes, which sort of blended into the logo behind them). The female figure reminded some of the mudflap girl, which is maybe not the thing we want our company associated with. The pink (not one of our company colors as far as I know) put some people off, guys especially. So many attendees didn’t take shirts that there were plenty left at the end of the day for employees, so I now have one of my own. Maybe I’ll make the people outfits to wearâ€”I could stick them on with Velcro or something.