Novell Cancels BrainShare Conference After 20 Years

by Ostatic Staff - Dec. 17, 2008

Novell's Senior Vice President and Chief Market Officer, John Dragoon announced today that it has cancelled its annual conference, BrainShare, after more than 20 years. In an open email to Novell's customers and partners, Dragoon says the move is in response to industry-wide budget tightening and a generally sluggish economy.

"I also know that our customers and partners always look forward to this conference. Despite this, many of you have indicated that because of the current economic climate, you are under increasing pressure to reduce travel and other controllable expenses and are hesitant to commit to attending our BrainShare 2009 conference," says the email.

Instead of the traditional in-person conference originally slated for March of next year, Novell plans to offer online classes and virtual conferences to make education and training available to more people at a lower per-head cost to companies.

Though the cancellation of BrainShare after 20 years will no doubt come as a surprise to many people, I hope is a harbinger of things to come. While I know there is tremendous value in educational conferences, there are so many these days -- many that simply regurgitate the same information to the same attendees -- that their value is quickly becoming diluted.

Furthermore, tech workers are no longer concentrated in Silicon Valley and other urban areas. Yet the east and west coasts are the primary hosts of these important events, making them largely inaccessible to the busy developers and engineers they're meant to attract.

Some may see the cancellation of BrainShare as a sign of doom and gloom. I see it as a response to the changing needs of companies, developers, and the open source community at large.