Gluecon 2011: Changing the Game

November 2, 2010     |     posted by gluecon

Gluecon is unlike any conference I’ve ever run before.

Because it’s aimed at developers, the topics are far more technical than my feeble marketer’s brain can easily comprehend. And because Glue isn’t defined as “a cloud computing” conference, it’s not caught in the echo chamber of “defining” this, that and the other thing. Glue seeks to explore the connective “tissue” of the web and IT infrastructure. That connective tissue can be called a lot of things: service oriented architecture, web services, APIs, cloud computing, etc. But call it what you will, developers know that it’s not the name that counts, it’s the building of the application, and the underlying infrastructure that supports it.

In that context, my goal with Gluecon is really simple: Make it THE gathering place for developers in the API/Cloud space.

With that goal in mind, we’re setting out this year to change the game for developer conferences. And the only way that I know to change the game is to open things up in such a way as to get maximum involvement from the community.

As such, I’m extremely happy to announce that Alcatel-Lucent is signing on to be the Community Underwriter and Partner Sponsor of Gluecon 2011.

Yea, but what the hell does that mean?

It all started with Mike Maney coming to me and asking, “hey, what if we wanted to underwrite the ability for 15 companies to have demo pods at Glue in 2011? What if we wanted their participation to be based solely on merit, not the ability to pay for an exhibit?”

That question has led us to today.

As part of Alcatel-Lucent becoming the Community Underwriter for Gluecon, we’re announcing that 15 companies will be selected to have completely free demo space at Gluecon (i.e., the demo pod includes passes to the show, signage, internet — everything you need; just show up with a laptop).

How are you selecting the companies?

To select the companies, we’ve put together a selection committee that consists of:


Chris Shipley (Guidewire Group)

Mathew Ingram (of MESH and GigaOm)

John Musser (Programmable Web)

Laura Merling (Alcatel-Lucent)

Alex Williams (ReadWriteWeb)

Jeff Lawson (Twilio)

Jeff Hammond (Forrester)

Ian Glazer (Gartner)

Ben Kepes (

Krish Subramanian (CloudAve)

Vinod Kurpad (Best Buy)

Seth Levine (Foundry Group)

(and we’ll probably add a couple of more folks)

The process will be simple: we accept applications for the 15 spots, every person on the selection committee gets to vote for their favorite 15 companies, and the top 15 vote getters have a demo pod.

Does Alcatel-Lucent get a say in who gets a demo pod?

Yes, but no. They have a vote (technically, 2 – since Programmable Web is owned by Alcatel-Lucent), but not nearly enough to swing a decision. To their credit, the primary concern of Laura, Mike and the gang over at Alcatel-Lucent from Day 1 of our discussions has been about maintaining the credibility and neutrality of Glue. To that end, I’ve gone out and chosen analysts (Guidewire, Gartner and Forrester), journalists (GigaOm and ReadWriteWeb), managers inside of large corporations (Best Buy) and even other company CEOs (Jeff Lawson of Twilio) to help us run through this process. Neutrality and integrity of this process is the name of the game.

Does Alcatel-Lucent have any editorial control over Gluecon?

Absolutely not. Alcatel-Lucent’s involvement here is altruistic: enlarge the size and interaction around this developer community, and everyone benefits.

Are you still selling other exhibit space?

Of course. We’re actually getting ready to announce our first raft of exhibitors for Gluecon 2011.

What else does this Alcatel-Lucent sponsorship mean?

Well, for one thing, we’re going to be doing some awesome things leading up to Glue — things like, holding hackathons around the country and then flying the winners into Gluecon to participate in a major league hackathon at the conference. And that’ll just be the beginning – stay tuned.

Why is Eric so damn excited about this?

I’m excited because I feel like we have the ability to really change the game with this one. If you take away the company specific conferences (Google i/o, Twitter, F8), there really just aren’t that many national-level gathering spots for developers in the cloud/API space. There are a lot of “business level” and “workshop” conferences that happen around cloud computing, but we’re talking DEVELOPERS.

And even where there are developer gatherings in the cloud/API space, the ability to pay has always been a limiting factor for startups and companies wanting to show their wares and exhibit.

That ends with Gluecon 2011. With Gluecon 2011, developers in the cloud/API space have the ability to participate in a pure meritocracy. Wow the selection committee, and you’re in.

At the end of the day, what I want to see is 500+ developers coming to Gluecon to build apps, figure out cloud infrastructure, scaling, security, and solve the tough problems around API construction, usage and maintenance.

So, how do I apply?

It’s easy. Start here.

And if we’d rather have a bigger exhibit space than the pod (ie, a tabletop or booth)?

That’s easy too – just ping me (

Will this be a one-off deal? Or is Gluecon here to stay with this?

My first statement to Alcatel-Lucent when we started these discussions was “doing this for one year gets us nowhere.” They agreed. We’re here for the long haul, people.

Gluecon 2011 is going to cover an amazingly broad spectrum of cloud/API topics that matter to developers. From Hadoop to Clojure to Active API event processing to Cloud Scaling to Big Data databases (of both the NoSQL and SQL variety) to web protocols (activity streams, PUSH, etc) — we’re going deeper, getting more technical than ever, bringing in a 3rd day of workshops, just generally stepping up and kicking ass.

Think you can hang with the big boys and gals at Gluecon? Apply for a demo pod, and prove it.

Gluecon speaker slides

June 5, 2010     |     posted by gluecon

I’m collecting the gluecon speaker sessions/slides as I see them (or receive them). Here’s what I have so far:

Dwight Merriman on NoSQL

Ross Turk – Smarting the Dumb Pipe

Doug Crockford – Gluing Together Wet Cats in a Crowd

John Willis – Configuration Management in the Cloud

Chris Messina on XAuth

Aaron Fulkerson – Web Oriented Architecture

Jon Meredith – Riak in Ten Minutes

Nishant Kaushik – Federated Provisioning and the Cloud

Jeff Lindsay on Webhooks

Jeff Lawson – Hacking Cloud Communications

Monica Keller – Building real-time updates for the Graph API

Mitch Garnaat – AWS by the Numbers

John Musser – Open APIs: State of the Market

Rick Nucci on Looking Between the Apps

Darren Wood on Scaling the Social Graph in the Cloud (video here)

I’ll continue to collect links here as they show up — and if there’s a particular speaker/presentation you’re looking for, please reach out to me and I’ll work on getting it for you.

In the meantime, a HUGE thank you to all of the gluecon speakers. You guys and gals kicked ass.

The Soundtrack and Save the Date

June 1, 2010     |     posted by gluecon

The dust is settling. We’re still something semi-human, so don’t expect much on this end for a few days, but I wanted to get the “save the date” message out, as well as publish the soundtrack (which is in demand).

Gluecon 2011: May 25-26 at the Omni Interlocken Resort (back bigger, badder and better than ever).

And the soundtrack (AC/DC songs missing because iTunes doesn’t carry them, include “Shoot to Thrill,” “Have a Drink on Me,” and “Hell Ain’t a Bad Place to Be”):

Guest Post: BlankSlate

June 1, 2010     |     posted by gluecon

[Note: This is a guest post, cross-posted from BlankSlate.]

The Gluecon conference was held this week and included a Hackathon which BlankSlate sponsored. It went from Wed night at 7pm to Thurs at noon. Even though it wasn’t a lot of time, a long night with APIs that do a lot of the heavy lifting for developer’s proved enough for some great apps to be created.

There were three sponsors in all – Twilio, PayPal, and BlankSlate – and the contest was set up like this: each sponsor judged the submissions independently and awarded their prize to the app they felt was the best use of their API.

In the end, there were two winners: one for Twilio and one for BlankSlate and PayPal.

The BlankSlate / PayPal winner was Text It Off and was made by Clay Loveless, the CTO of Mashery. Text It Off is a social app where you send a text of what you eat throughout the day. If the food is “good,” e.g. something you should be eating, you get paid by the people playing with you. If the food is “bad,” you pay your people. When you text your meals to Text It Off, it texts you back “good” or “bad” with the food’s nutritional info from the USDA — and then it makes the appropriate payments to or from your account. Maybe a future version of the app will be able to tell if you are lying and deduct from your account!

Other entries that we liked included:

Broadcaster by Dusty Candland from Red 27 Consulting. Broadcaster enables you to create an account, add as many phone numbers as you want to it, and then send a text which is then broadcast to all the numbers in your account. A great way to get the word out.

Conference Phone Survey by Eugene Osovetsky, the CTO of Webservius. The app enables conference attendees to call a number, enter their rating of the conference on the keypad, and then leave a comment which is transcribed to text. Then, both the rating and comments are published to the web. A great substitute for filling out a survey form!

The Friday Before

May 21, 2010     |     posted by gluecon

It’s the Friday before Gluecon (next wednesday-thursday), which means that the next time you’ll likely hear from me will be from the keynote stage at the show.

We’ve got an absolutely amazing group of sponsors, an out of this world agenda, and a list of gluecon participants that is shaping up to be the highest geek genius factor that you’re likely to find at any event this spring. The excitement is building all across the twitterverse, and between Cloud Camp, the sessions, the evening reception, the hackathon and more sessions, well — I think you’re all going to be quite pleased (if you’re coming that is).

If there’s any doubt in your mind, join us. Use the discount code “twit2″ for 10% off — but remember: discount codes are NOT valid onsite, and prices go up to $795 the day of the show. So save yourself some greenbacks and get registered for Glue!

Gluecon’s Hackathon

May 20, 2010     |     posted by gluecon

Alright, you’ve got your gluecon ticket in hand (and if you don’t — I mean, really — why not?), and you’re wondering how your day 1 will end. I have the answer for you.

After a day that’s jam-packed with awesome, participatory sessions, you’ll find yourself at the gluecon evening reception (open bar, of course). That goes until 7:15pm. At which point, the Gluecon Hackathon will begin. The hackathon is sponsored by BlankSlate, PayPal and Twilio (thanks guys!), who will be there to assist you in your quest to build the next big thing (in one evening). In addition, Mashery is stepping up and offering to buy everyone wearing a gluecon badge drinks at the hotel bar from 9:30-10:30pm that night. So, if you need a cold, frosty one to keep those engineering wheels spinning – fear not, you’re covered!

I hope all of the developers in the house will join in the hackathon. I know I’ll be curious to see what comes out it!

OpenID Connect and Gluecon

May 17, 2010     |     posted by gluecon

There’s some news floating around this morning about David Recordon’s proposal to rebuild OpenID on top of OAuth 2.0. I can’t say that I have an opinion on this yet (first off, being a non-engineering guy, I have to get David to explain it to me). I’ve been a partial critic of some OpenID things in the past, and a pretty public fan of OAuth, so at first glance, rebuilding OpenID to sit on top of OAuth sounds like a interesting idea. I’ll be curious to see how we (the community) identify any pitfalls around tying authorization and authentication closely together.

The really good news is this: Nearly all of the prime movers around this (David Recordon, Chris Messina, Brad Fitzpatrick, Dick Hardt, etc) will be at Gluecon in 9 days. So, let’s just say you wanna start sorting this out (or even working on it with David et al)….well, you know what to do.

11 Days and Counting

May 14, 2010     |     posted by gluecon

In 11 days, the “clouderati” will descend on the Omni Interlocken Resort in Broomfield, Colorado. People that are normally hard to pin down at all of those massive Silicon Valley tech conferences will be hanging out, having drinks, hacking apps, and talking glue stuff. Gluecon will be taking over the resort, so every where you turn, you’ll be bumping into alpha geeks.

If you’re in Colorado, I really hope you don’t miss this one. Use the code, “twit2″ to take 10% off of the registration price — but don’t wait, onsite registration is $100 bucks more than the current price (and no discounts are accepted onsite).

I’ve been running conferences for a long time, and I don’t think I’ve ever been happier with how a show has come together. Gluecon is gonna knock the cover off of the ball. Join us.

Starting with the Why

May 11, 2010     |     posted by gluecon

I was going to write something this morning about how Glue’s right around the corner, and how you should come, and how great it will be. And then Brad went and posted this talk by Simon Sinek. Go watch it, I’ll wait (see you in 18 minutes).

You didn’t watch the whole thing, did you? Okay, I don’t EVER tell you to go watch videos. Seriously this is good stuff – go watch it (I’ll be here).

See? If you’re like me, your mind’s spinning on “the why.” Why do I do what I do? How do I do it? What do i do?

I don’t think I have this verbalized yet, but when the hell has lack of clarity ever stopped me from blogging something.

If you ask me about “the why,” my gut immediately comes back with 3 sides to an answer:

1. I truly believe that when people meet face to face, in the right space, with the right ingredients, something magical can happen. There are connections that get made in “meat space” that can simply never get made in “virtual space.” And those connections can not only alter an individual’s entire life, they can alter and create entire industries.

2. I’m a startup guy. Part of the reason I’m a startup guy is that I think in the right situation incentives align. That means that I believe with all of my heart and all of my soul that a small team of people running a tech conference who —  don’t take salaries, get paid based on what the conference makes, and have zero ability to “pass the buck”  – will simply put on a better experience than a team at a company that’s salaried, does 12 shows a year, and has someone else they can blame for a screw-up. Sorry — nothing against those teams of people (a lot of them are my friends); it’s not that the individuals don’t care, it’s just that the incentives aren’t aligned.

3. You start any conference with the topic. You have no idea how many conferences I’ve decided NOT to start. There was the one about podcasting, the one about disrupting the DEMO show (oh yea, I shared that idea with Arrington back in 2005), the one about this, the one that, the 1400 ideas that have been pitched to me. Why not those shows? Because it’s all about the topic.

When I make the decision to start an event, I know that I am *personally* committing (not on a financial level, on a whole person level) to spending the next 5-7 years of my life exploring this idea. In other words, I better a) think it’s a game changer and b) be completely fascinated, in love with and obsessed with exploring it. If that’s not there, there is no conference. The idea of Defrag (how data is changing everything) fascinated me from the first time Brad blogged about it. The idea of Glue (the technical underpinnings that move us past SaaS and Cloud) hooked me immediately. The idea of Blur (playing with new ways of interacting with computers) turns me into a kid again.

Contrast that with how a lot of technology conferences get started. The conversation goes like this: “Wow that X market is gonna be big.” ” Lots of money, lots of vendors.” “We should tap that market and start a conference.” Now look at some of the most successful conference of the past 25 years — Esther Dyson’s PC Forum, Tim O’Reilly’s events and TED. All started by someone who was just in LOVE with an idea. They started those events because they wanted to solve a problem and tell the world.

Okay, I’m rambling – and my “why’s” are shifting into “how’s” and “what’s,” but bottom line….

Why? To solve a problem and tell the world. Because connections in the right setting can be magical (and change lives). Because the power of a small group with incentives properly aligned can whip the ass of a large group improperly aligned every time.

Wanna see it live and in person? Come to Gluecon.

The Cloud Top 3′s

May 10, 2010     |     posted by gluecon

Rackspace’s earnings report prompted a Twitter exchange between myself and Michael DeSilver (of LTech) that seemed interesting enough to report here.

Rackspace reported year over year growth in their cloud business of 77%, and sequential growth of 13% — all on $19 million in revenue (for the cloud biz). This prompted Mike and I to start down a path of “who are the top 3 cloud guys by revenue?” Here’s what our twittering resulted in (guesses — with the exception of public companies):

IaaS: On the Infrastructure as a Service side, the top 3 seemed the most obvious…

1. Amazon Web Services: did 350mm last year, expecting to do 600-700mm this year.

2. Rackspace: 19 million

3. Who is in 3rd? Terremark? Saavis? A startup we don’t know about? Someone’s gotta be doing 5-10 million in the IaaS market….question is: who are they?

Notes: The shocking thing here is the gap between #1 and #2. I’d imagine that gap lessens over the coming years, but who knows…

PaaS: In the Platform as a Service space, the top 3 also seem fairly obvious -

1. (and the platform).

2. Google’s App Engine

3. Microsoft’s Azure

Notes: (My thoughts, not Mike’s) It occurs to me that someone like Intuit might also crack this top three. And as we were twittering, Etelos raised their hand as being in the number 3 spot. Etelos is a public company (so is Intuit), so with a a little digging we could suss out, who of these 5 is actually the top 3.

Management Services: This category is a bit trickier. I guess you could really expand it to “cloud services” and really open things up, but originally we were speaking specifically about the consoles, dashboards and interfaces that provide “management” for cloud provisioning, etc. With that in mind, a guess as to the top 3

1. RightScale

2. enStratus

3. Scalr (though obviously Scalr is free, so it’s position here is based on usage, not revenue).

Notes: I think CA probably cracks this list with their recent acquisitions, though it’s hard to know where. And if we actually expand the category to “cloud services” — who knows.

It was an interesting exercise, and one that I’d love to see expanded on and tracked — which reminds me, why aren’t there journalists or analysts doing this job?