We are proud to once again sponsor GDevCon again this year. GDevCon is an independent graphical developers conference held each year somewhere in Europe. This year it will be at CERN.
You might ask why is GDevCon important? We already have NIWeek, NIDays, the CLA Summit, and various CLD Summits and other NI Events. Do we really need another event? Let’s answer that by asking some different questions. Do we as a community really own those events or are they simply NI Events? Do they really serve our interests? Why does the answer to that question matter?
I don’t have anything against NI putting on events. I attend and present at a lot of them. In general, they do a pretty good job. NI Week is always enjoyable. With the addition of the Champions Track (or whatever they are currently calling it) it has been possible to get great technical content and avoid a lot of the marketing hype. The CLA summit is a great place to get lots of highly technical information and have those high-level discussions (if you can get past all the egos in the room). The CLD Summits (when they still had them) were a good place to have some intermediate level discussions. The NI Technical Symposiums (when they had them) were a great way to introduce beginners to LabVIEW. So why do we need an independent event?
There is a downside to NI hosting all the LabVIEW Events. We as a community don’t have much control. He (or she) who pays has the last say. Since NI foots the bill, they get to decide when/how often the events happen, where they are located, and they direct the topics of discussion. They can cancel them at any time for any reason. Some of you may have noticed that the CLD Summits seem to have suddenly disappeared recently. The NITS went away several years ago as well. I don’t begrudge NI for making those decisions. They are paying for and organizing the events. They are a business. They need to align their expenses with their business priorities. That is totally expected and fine, except that it is also the problem. NI business goals are not 100% aligned with our goals as a community, which is why it is important that we as a community have a space where we can have a conference that is 100% aligned with our goals. GDevCon is that space.
There is not an I in GDevCon (read it out loud for full effect). Because GDevCon is put on by the community without any NI involvement, we get the ultimate say over the entire conference (content, format, location, duration, etc.) I say we, but it is really a small select group of people who run GDevCon. I know all of them. They are all active members of the community. They go out of their way to take input from the community and are very transparent about their decision-making process. They do a great job of representing the community and giving us a voice. GDevCon is our space as a community to engage and interact with each other and help each other grow.
Two of our Source Commitments are Community and Learning. We really value the LabVIEW Community and all the things we have learned from the community over the years. As NI is stepping back from the CLD Summits and NITS we believe it is important for us as a community to step up and take responsibility for ourselves and create the kind of events that best serve our needs. This isn’t cheap or easy. It takes a lot of effort and money. NI has a large marketing team and budget to throw at the problem. We do not. We have a select group of volunteers who are willing to put in the effort, but they need financial support. That is why we sponsor GDevCon. We hope that you will consider doing the same.