I love going to JavaOne, I used to do it every year and it’s loads of fun. I’ve been speaking on a regular basis at JavaOne since 2008 and got a rockstar award a while back. Two years ago we purchased a booth to promote Codename One as well.
Last year we skipped the show and it has been so great we decided to skip it again.
While JavaOne is loads of fun it does nothing to the bottom line even if you have a booth in place. We had many meetings, talks & introductions. These resulted in very little in terms of revenue or traction shift.
The reason for this is pretty core to what Codename One is, to adopt Codename One you need to make an effort. You need to write code or make some form of commitment. People coming to conferences want to learn about new technologies but aren’t necessarily willing to go to extremes for a new technology…
Furthermore, the demographic of JavaOne is heavily biased to JavaEE by a big margin. That meant that 90% of the people I spoke to would be completely irrelevant as mobile is not within their responsibility.
There are exceptions and we met a lot of great developers at JavaOne, but going to that expense to reach those developers seems redundant. Over the Internet we reach people when they are ready to make that commitment not at an arbitrary point in time.
Conferences probably work for smaller solutions that require a lesser commitment than Codename One does. They might be more relevant when we grow further but right now they place a heavy strain on our limited resources.
Will we go Back?
Currently we have no short term conference plans, we found that promoting over the Internet is far superior in terms of return.
From talks with a lot of Java developers I’ve met over the years it seems that JavaOne isn’t as important as it used to be either. Most developers seem to prefer the smaller substance driven conferences which we might choose to attend as we grow.
I think the biggest hindrance to JavaOne is the lack of Android content, without that there are no mobile developers in attendance and this makes our attendance pointless. Other conferences didn’t make that mistake and are far more relevant to us as a result.