After spending the morning looking over photographs with the amazingly talented Julian Cash, I drove through the pouring rain from San Francisco to the SJC airport, to pick up Brian Aker. From there, to the convention center, where I linked up with Monty Taylor, Jay Pipes, Stewart Smith, and a number of other people involved in Drizzle and Memcached. And from there, we all headed over to Sarah Sproehnle's place for a potluck party.
So much of the history and development of technology is based on a foundation of personal relationships. The people working on stuff get to know each other, and form friendships outside of just the work, and they introduce each other to their other friends, and from that, connections and cross-fertilization of ideas happen.
This is especially true for open source software and all the aspects of internet technology. The real but mostly unstated reason for technical conferences is exactly that. We could just learn from books, articles, and maybe classrooms. But it wouldn't be enough.
The hallway track, the conversations over beer, the friendships formed, the "networking", and the defusing of tension by seeing faces, seeing old friends, and making new ones. That is the value.
This is my fourth MySQL Conference. The first keynote is in 12 hours.
This is going to be fun!