Why I’m not (yet) planning to attend ADHOC

For months now, Eric has been bugging me to attend ADHOC, aka MacHack. I’ve been thinking of going for a few years now; probably would have last year if I hadn’t been unemployed and/or moving at the time. So when he suggested that I’d better register soon, since the registration fees were increasing in a few days, I figured I should head over to the Web page and figure it all out.

They could hardly have designed a Web site better-suited to making me not want to attend. I started my browsing session planning to give them $450, and ended up deciding to at least postpone my decision for a few days. Honestly, the experience has me leaning towards not going at all.

First, the site is badly organized. The site calls itself the “AdHoc Blog”, and it has an accordingly unprofessional feel. Half the information is obscure or out of date (since it’s an “older entry”), and a lot of the links don’t work; they take you to the wrong pages, or don’t take you anywhere at all. There are links to online registration forms that don’t list prices, or list only student rates ($50 is a lot cheaper, but I’m sure I’m not eligible!) Hardly the best way to collect my money…

Eric was still trying to convince me to attend, so I figured I’d at least figure out what airfare and a hotel room would cost. Which is when I discovered that the Web site does not tell you when the conference is. Oh, sure, it says “July 21-24, 2004.” But for an event that purports to have a “24 hour nature,” that’s less than helpful. Am I supposed to arrive the night of the 20th and leave on the 25th? Or do I show up on the 21st and leave on the 24th? I’ve been to events that work both ways, and so I was expecting to find an hour-by-hour schedule that would tell me when I was expected to show up and leave. Instead, I found less than the bare minimum of information. Certainly not enough for a hotel or flight reservation.

It’s obvious to me that ADHOC has no interest in helping newcomers like myself (and I’ve known about MacHack for years!) attend, so I therefore have no interest in attending. I’ve been eyeing the Treo 600; maybe I’ll spend my $450 on that instead.

P.S. Eric has also written about this. His weblog gets more traffic than mine, and since he’s attended and spoken in the past, maybe he has more influence with the ADHOC folks. If they clean up their site and make it clear that they are actually running a professional conference–I should point out, by the way, that I’ve been to plenty of $50-$100 events that appear better organized than this $450 conference–then maybe I’ll think about going. I still regret never having attended a MacHack…

6 thoughts on “Why I’m not (yet) planning to attend ADHOC

  1. > Half the information is obscure or out of date

    Could you be specific here?

    > and a lot of the links don’t work

    Could you point to examples, please? I’m one of the people who could fix the busted links, but not if I can’t find them, and I can’t.

    As for the “not saying when the conference is” complaint, that should be addressed in the FAQ later today. The registration is done by a third-party, and we’re working with them to sort it out.

  2. For example, the “Attendee FAQ” says “Go to the registration URL (coming soon)”, with no link. It appears not to have been updated to reflect that registration is now available. Similarly with the “we’re putting together a FAQ for managers” non-link.

    Various pages disagree about fees and deadlines. The Call for Papers says that registration is $450 until 4/15, the Registration page says 4/16. The Call for Sessions page says that speakers get a $100 discount, when the Registation page lists the discount at $75 (prior to 4/16).

    The Registration page has a link at the bottom titled “Reserve your space”, but when I click it, I just get taken back to the registration page. The Hotel Information page has similar issues with its “register now” link.

    Eric referred me to last year’s MacHack FAQ, which seems well-written and comprehensive; I’m surprised it wasn’t carried forward and updated. Everything in the “Location & Transportation”, “Conference Facilities” and “Logistics” sections is vital information that should have been on the current ADHOC site.

  3. Thanks for the specifics. I’ve dealt with those I can (nobody seems to be clear on when the price changed, so I’m not going to try and change that, especially since it’s already in the past).

    As for why content wasn’t carried over from last year, the main reason is that nobody took on that responsibility. Aside from Expotech handling the big details, all the work is done by volunteers, and if someone doesn’t volunteer to do something, it doesn’t get done.

    Yes. The conference looks amateurish because of that. We’re amateurs.

  4. No offense, but amateurs wanting folks to spend $1,000 or so (registration, hotel, airfare) to attend their conference need to put extra effort into making it look professional.

    That’s not to say your efforts aren’t appreciated, but your attendance will eventually drop off if you don’t make it professional and work well. I’m sure attendees will put up with some bumps here and there since you are amateurs, but if there’s not a certain level of smoothness to operations, folks will choose to spend their $1,000 elsewhere.

    I hope you’ll take this in the way it’s intended – constructive.


  5. Your comments are appreciated.

    Mike Bentley
    Sessions Chair
    ADHOC / MacHack 19

  6. Pingback: Eric's Weblog

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