2015 Penguicon Review, Part 1: The Sales Guy Learns Something

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Originally posted 2015-04-29 06:41:07. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

This past weekend, Dave and I spent every waking minute at Penguicon.

And not to turn this into a clickbait story headline, but something happened that I never expected – I learned a lot about myself this weekend. I realized that my world is much bigger than I ever anticipated….

Before we get any further and you are wondering what Penguicon is, here is a quick video.

I have found a complete group of people whom I have rarely interacted with before and has to be, as a collective, one of the most thoughtful, caring, nice, and inclusive group of people I have ever met.

bobvennI found myself in the dead center of the Venn Diagram for geeks. On one end, is the geek community; at the other is the non-geek community. I grew up on a 300 baud modem, I had every Star Wars action figure known to man, I’ve had close to every gaming system known to man, I’ve been working in the IT industry since 1997, I worship Flash Gordon, but at the end of the day, I am the outside of the onion to this community in terms of geek cred.

The first thing I noticed when I walked in was this poster and one word jumped out at me.

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(photo courtesy of Scott Kennedy)

Consent.

I’ve never been to any conference, show, etc. where that was a thing. I look at Dave puzzled, “Consent?”

You see, I’ve never really been exposed to people with social anxiety disorders, or that I never took the time to notice it around me. I’ve been a sales guy since the age of 18 and my peer group has always been mega Type-A personalities.

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(photo courtesy of Scott Kennedy)

I usually just walk up to anyone about anything, so I really wanted to make sure my “in your face” attitude didn’t put someone off.

The other thing I noticed almost immediately was the sheer thoughtfulness and time spent to make sure not one stone was uncovered. To ensure this was a safe-zone for all attendees. And to make sure there was a track, event, or show to include the wide spectrum of the geek community. Don’t believe me? Check out the programming track!

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(photo courtesy of Scott Kennedy)

Everything was simple, flowed well, was over the top organized, and everyone, from the volunteers, to the organizers, to the attendees were nothing short of polite and remarkable.

Usually, when you put something like this up as an event coordinator, you cringe. Because you know you are opening yourself up for a can of worms complaint-fest. But Pengiucon is different; they actually take things like this seriously and are always changing and innovating. As I mentioned, inclusion is very important to them and they all take this stuff very seriously.

Speaking of seriously…

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(photo courtesy of Scott Kennedy)

We ran into a Yip Yip during the open floor hotel party. Listen, I am 41, I have been to and thrown hotel parties my entire life for the most part, but I’ve never seen anything like this. Suites transformed into discotheques, karaoke rooms, a room dedicated to Scotch, a “Rock Band” room, a suite full of kegs, food, and nitrogen ice cream, and our room…with a little Bluetooth speaker, a case of Valentine Vodka, and a keg of Falling Down Beer (we need to step up our game for next year).

But again, what conference can you go to that people open up their rooms to others, to share in a drink, story, or whatever. On top of that, everyone we met was amazing and the conversations were spectacular.

So from the bottom of our hearts Penguicon, thank you. Thank you for the amazing time, thank you for having the faith in IT in the D to deliver relevant information in our five panels we were involved in, and thank you for creating a safe zone for those that might not otherwise have one.

We seriously cannot wait for next year.

You can read Dave’s take in part two here: http://www.itinthed.com/17054/2015-penguicon-review-part-2-the-geek-goes-home/

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