Performance Blog

Velocity 2011

Posted on: June 20, 2011

Yet another year has gone by marked by yet another Velocity conference last week. This year the crowds were even bigger – if this conference continues to grow in this manner, it will soon have to be held in Moscone!

I gave myself the week-end to sleep over this instead of rushing to publish ASAP so that I could gather my notes and reflect on the conference.

The high order bits

Mobile

For me, the best day was the workshop day on Tuesday, specifically the mobile workshops in the afternoon.  I did not attend Maximiliano’s session last year so I am very glad I did this year. I learned a ton and hope to put it to use as I increase my focus on the mobile web. It was clear from this as well as the earlier session by Ariya that the Velocity audience has not yet started to grapple with optimizing the mobile experience.  Lots of very useful, meaty information in both these sessions, so check them out.

Statistics

It was refreshing to see the emphasis on statistics with the two sessions by John Rauser of Amazon. John is obviously a very seasoned speaker and his workshop was very well received.  It would be great to see a workshop next year that takes this a step further into a practical workshop on  how to apply statistics in analyzing performance data, including a discussion of confidence intervals.

I would be amiss if I did not also mention the Ignite session on Little’s Law. It was a great way to present this topic for those who have never heard of it, so do check it out.

Dynamic Optimization

It seems the list of companies and products entering this market is growing day by day. These products optimize your site using a variety of technologies. Last year, Strangeloop led the pack but this year there were many more. I was particularly impressed by Cotendo. The company seems to have made a rapid rise in a very short time with advanced functionality that only very large sites have. Ditto for CloudFlare – I liked the CEO’s Ignite talk as well. If you are in the market for these type of products, I definitely recommend checking them out.

The low order bits

Sponsored keynotes

The myriad sponsored talks. It is one thing to have a sponsored session track (in fact many sessions in this track were well worth attending), but another to have them be part of the Keynote sessions. Considering that keynotes took up half the day on both days, I found a big chunk of them were worthless.

The language

This conference also gets a low score for language. From when did it become okay to use foul language in conferences and especially in keynotes that were being steamed live? It seemed to start with Artur Bergman and many speakers after that seemed to think it was okay to drop the f-word every few minutes.

The number of women

If you looked around the room, there were very few women – I would estimate the female audience to be well less than 10%. I counted exactly 3 women speakers. At the Velocity summit earlier this year, the claim was that they wanted to increase the participation of women and minorities; I can’t help wonder what steps were taken to do that. With the new standards for foul language, good luck in pulling more women in.

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