Last year a new brand of conferences started namely Voxxed Days. They are quickly conquering the world with conferences from Europe to Dubai. This year they already planned fourteen conferences. Most of them are smaller one or two day conferences mainly organized by locals for locals. The organizers get help from some of the familiar faces from the Devoxx family like Mark Hazell and Stephan Janssen
I’ve had the pleasure to present sessions about ‘The Internet of (Lego) Trains’, ‘Advanced Akka features’, ‘REST no more, use an actor’ and ‘Conquer the Internet of Things with Java and Docker’ at four of the Voxxed Days this year: Berlin, Bristol, Vienna and Bucharest. In this post I will give my impression of those conferences.
The Voxxed Days conferences I attended had around 200-400 attendees. This allowed for a few (mostly three) parallel tracks giving you enough options to choose from. I believe this size also gives the conferences a somewhat more laid back gathering of friends feeling. Another thing I noticed is that the food quality is better than that of most bigger conferences. Probably because it’s a lot easier to provide food for around 300 attendees than for a thousand or more attendees
The Voxxed Days conferences have some of the more familiar big name speakers like Ted Neward, Josh Long, Juergen Hoeller and Simon Maple (please don’t feel offended if I didn’t mention you here :)). Next to that they also offer a stage to some of the less known (local) talent. I actually liked seeing some new (local) faces and they provided some really good quality sessions. Some of the new speakers were actually mentored by more experienced speakers. I think that’s a good way to introduce new talent into the conference world and we try to do the same thing for our colleagues that want to start speaking in public.
The price for Voxxed Days conferences is around 75 euro per day. That actually gives you a lot of value for your money. Compare the price of around seven sessions of quality content for 75 euro against attending a course for a couple of hundred bucks. Included in the price are not only good sessions but also really good food, interesting discussions, (new) friends and mostly a beer or two :).
Most of the Voxxed Days are organized in cinema’s, hotels or conference venues. I especially like the cinema locations as it gives all attendees the best view. Although the other locations were very good as well. Most conferences are held in major cities making them easily and relatively cheap accessible from abroad. It also gives you the opportunity to spend some more time in a nice city.
Speaking at Voxxed Days
The organizers take really good care of the speakers. They organized some very nice speaker diners and try to do their best to fulfill all our wishes. We had a bigger setup that took some time and space to setup but all the organizers helped to plan it at a proper time and provide us with the necessary equipment.
Some tips for speaking or visiting (Voxxed Days) conferences
- Do not forget your power converter. I forgot to bring one when visiting Bristol, thanks to John Bradford I could still power our Lego train setup and present our session.
- Take into account that not all conferences/sessions are in English. I heard that some Voxxed Days have other languages than English as the default language for sessions.
- Some hotels offer smoking rooms. If you want a non smoking room, make sure you reserve one.
- Plan some time for sightseeing and meeting other people!
Some improvements that can be made
I’m from The Netherlands and we always need something to complain about so here we go. The Voxxed Days are relaxed and give you a laid back feeling. However for someone who is a bit of a control freak like me that can be a bit frustrating now and then. For instance when speakers aren’t notified that their session is over and they continue talking during lunch or while another speaker wants to setup his/hers stuff. Also some of the Voxxed Days failed to send decline messages during the call for papers which is a bit annoying for potential speakers. Next to that sometimes there could have been a bit more food, but at least the food was always very good. But if you take into consideration that most organizers never organized something at this scale before they did a remarkable job. If possible I would love to attend every conference again in the future.
I can really recommend you to visit or speak at some of the ‘smaller’ conferences like Voxxed Days. The conferences are great and have a bit more of a cozy/family atmosphere than some of the larger conferences. Next to that they give you the opportunity to attend excellent talks from some of the less known local speakers. Don’t get me wrong, I also like bigger conferences, but they give you another kind of experience.
The last thing left for me is to thank all the organizers, attendees and speakers. See you all next time!