MADExpo Wrap-Up

A couple weeks ago, the Mid Atlantic Developer Expo wrapped up, and I’ve finally had a chance to recover from the event. This was the first time that I’ve been involved in planning a conference of this scale, and while there was a ton of work involved, I really enjoyed the process, and I’m looking forward to starting on MADExpo 2012.

To wrap up the 2011 conference, I wanted to share some links to other folks who’ve blogged about their experience, as well as some selected photos and tweets from the conference as well.

Thank You!

Before I get to links and pics, though, I want to take the time for some thank-yous to the many people who made this event possible:

  • Steve Bodnar – Steve probably didn’t know what he was getting into when he signed on to lead the organization responsible for organizing the event, but he jumped in with vigor, humor, and great experience. He provided the leadership our team needed to accomplish a lot in a short period of time.
  • Sara Faatz – Sara was instrumental, both from a standpoint of identifying candidate venues in the Hampton Roads area, sharing her experience as a sponsor of many events through Infragistics, as well as her experience in event logistics from her time at Wintellect. Speaking of Wintellect, Sara also helped coordinate our keynote from Jeff Prosise, which turned out to be a big hit.
  • Steve Presley – Steve did a TON of work on planning the conference, from selecting sessions and organizing the schedule, to building out the back-end database infrastructure for the web site, to getting the t-shirts and speaker shirts ordered. There are few areas of making MADExpo happen that Steve didn’t have a hand in, and he deserves a great deal of credit for how smoothly the event ran.
  • Kevin Griffin – Kevin, among other things, created a check-in application for MADExpo that allowed us to easily locate and check in attendees using the data from our EventBrite registration site. He also worked with Steve on the speaker and session selection…all while adjusting to being a new daddy (as a bonus, he and his wife brought baby Zack to the event on Friday so we could all coo at him).
  • Pete Brown – Pete took the lead on organizing the demo area for the conference, in which exhibitors could show off robotics, microcontroller projects, Natural User Interface demos, etc. This included reaching out to the various folks who might be interested in demoing, coordinating the space so that everyone had enough room, and even interviewing the high-school robotics team who came to show off their project, along with their mentor from NASA.
  • Kevin Hazzard – Kevin (the other one) organized and ran the first-ever MADKidz, a full-day mini-conference designed to teach children about electronics, programming, and robotics. Among the subjects students learned were basic electronics using Snap Circuits kits (gotta get me one of those), introductory programming concepts using Scratch and Small Basic, and simple robotics using several Big Trak Jr. programmable rovers.
  • Justin Etheredge – Justin took on creating a mobile session viewer for the website, by grabbing our RSS feed, and using jQuery Mobile to make it consumable across a wide array of mobile devices.
  • Rich Dudley, Andy Leonard, Randy Hayes, Joel Cochran, and a number of other folks from the Mid-Atlantic community hopped on conference calls to help plan various aspects of the event, offered advice, helped promote the event, and otherwise lent their support.
  • And of course, MADExpo would not have been possible without the support of the broad developer and user group community, for which we are very grateful.
  • Our sponsors, who graciously stepped up and took a chance on a new conference in iffy economic times. Never underestimate the contribution that these folks make to the developer community…they are all rock stars!
  • I also want to thank our on-site volunteers, in particular Kristy Moon, who was a great help during check-in, and my lovely wife Jennifer, who helped in a variety of ways, including running out on day 1 to grab the signs for all the breakout rooms.


Here are some of the blog posts and photo collections I found from those who attended:


Selected Tweets

One of the things that was very satisfying about being part of MADExpo was watching the buzz on twitter. Here’s some of what the attendees (and others) had to say:

  • “I need to delete my #MADExpo search column… it’s just making me so damn jealous.  Next year…” – benvonhandorf
  • “Welcome to @MADExpo”
  • “Listening to Jeff Prosise talk at #MADExpo keynote. Very cool RC jets. His jet is 6 ft. long. Don’t think I can convince my wife to get one.” – TheRobotGeek
  • “The @MADExpo lunch is awesome. Really glad someone was thoughtful about this. Thanks to all of the sponsors for making it happen.” – vcsjones
  • “Fantastic presentation of #html5 on devices! I knew little about the topic and I feel like I’ve learned alot!! Thanks @toddanglin #madexpo” – creativeheather
  • “So many good conversations & sessions at #madexpo” – ChrisLove
  • “I feel Happy. Enjoying Russ “Toolshed” Fustino’s Windows Phone dev session” – JayGeek
  • “The facility for #madexpo is first rate. This is a GREAT PLACE!” – wbm
  • “Killer 1st day at #MADExpo – hope this becomes an annual #hrva event!” – NULLgarity
  • “Watching the @madexpo tweets and wishing I were there with tech community friends!” – jrzyshr
  • #Madexpo day one a huge success. Great speakers. Lots of knowledge was dropped upon my brain today!” – MikeJRamsey
  • “Fantastic first day and night at #madexpo comes to a close. Thanks to all for the great conversations. Looking forward to day two!” – WayneHRichmond
  • “Learning about human perception and neural function at #madexpo fascinating!” – creativeheather
  • “James Ashley has hacked my brain! (in a good way) #MADExpo” – CraigTucker
  • @jamesashley Nerd Psychology keynote at @madexpo was fantastic! Hope we have more like that next year.” – perryneal
  • “very happy that my kids are learning in very cool ways at #madexpo” – curtis_mitchell
  • “insanely good presentation by @jayharris “Bullets Kill People: A Presenter’s Guide to Better Slides” #madexpo” – JayRWren
  • “Very impressed with the #MADExpo event. While [sic] organized, great content, great location. Well done organizing team, well done!” – robzelt
  • @smichelotti #MADExpo, Great talk this morning; now inspired to evangelize my dept. to work with MVC 3 :-)” – davidjeet
  • “Someone just got sent to time-out in MADKidz (for using a GOTO) #MADExpo” – NULLgarity
  • “Pong using lasers. Just what have YOU made today? #Madexpo” – Pete_Brown
  • “I feel like I just took a semester’s worth of classes in 2 days #MADExpo” – ARidBaby
  • “Thank you #madexpo for a great and distinctive event. It was loads of fun!” – jamesashley
  • “Props and congrats to @SteveBodnar and Company for an awesome first #MADExpo. Great event. Can’t wait until next year.” – JayHarris
  • “Well played, #MADExpo. That was the real deal. Thanks! See you next year.” – andrewculver
  • “Kudos to the #madexpo organizers and speakers for a great first conference. Looking forward to 2012!” – mcal
  • “Thanks to #MADExpo for bringing techie awesomeness to #hrva. Can’t wait for next year!” – NULLgarity
  • “On Train out of VA from #MADExpo. Thanks to organizers and sponsors. It was a top notch event! Looking forward to seeing everyone again.” – WayneHRichmond
  • “One last thing about #madexpo – the east needs this conf. Thanks @stevebodnar and others for a great event!” – curtis_mitchell
  • @SteveBodnar @kevinhazzard my son had an incredible time as well and for the first time understands what it is I do for a living #MADExpo” – NULLgarity <- My personal favorite tweet!


MADExpo was without a doubt one of the most challenging and occasionally stressful things I’ve been involved with since I joined Microsoft, but it was worth every bit of work that went into it. We had a great time, clearly a lot of learning and networking took place, and nobody died (always a plus!). We are already starting to think about next year, so if you have feedback on the event, or if you know of any blog posts, photos, etc. that I missed above, please let me know.

Looking Forward

Given the fantastic reaction to the inaugural MADExpo, we are definitely going to be back, bigger and even better in 2012. If you want to keep up with the plans, please follow MADExpo on Twitter, or bookmark our Facebook page. Thanks again to all the attendees, speakers, sponsors and my fellow organizers. I’m proud to have been a part of this, and I look forward to next year!

2 thoughts on “MADExpo Wrap-Up”

  1. Stuart, thanks for your help in making the event great, and thanks to Kristy as well (you’ve reminded me that I forgot to thank both Kristy and my wife…significant omission on my part, now remedied). Looking forward to working with you both on the next one!

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