RootsTech was a fantastic experience. OK, why then would I even consider writing about even the slightest negative issue? Because in another year, I hope to be sitting here again at the Second Annual RootsTech Conference and maybe, if I say something, one or two of the issues might be overcome. Unless I am kidding myself that anyone actually reads this stuff. Like they say, the pen is mightier than the sword. Whatever that means? By the way, my philosophy is that if your opponent has a sword you better hope you have one too.
There are several things that may need consideration to make the conference even better. I decided do a Report Card about several of the conference considerations from Poor to Excellent. Here are my suggestions, with comments:
Location Salt Lake City: Excellent. There really isn't any other place that such a conference could take place with the same access to important genealogical resources. From the Family History Library to FamilySearch itself, the resources are here and available. February can be a difficult month weatherwise, but the weather cooperated and the Conference took place to sunny skies and mild (for the middle of Winter) temperatures. Also, Salt Lake has a real downtown with things to see and do as compared to my own hometown of Phoenix/Mesa. There is absolutely nothing in Phoenix within walking distance of anything else. Transportation in Salt Lake is good, accommodations are excellent and it is the place to do genealogy.
Location the Salt Palace: Fair to poor. Too bad when Salt Lake is such a terrific place that they had to build such a poorly designed conference center. This Conference, as conferences go, was not particularly large. I cannot imagine how they hold a larger conference. The rooms themselves are OK, the usual conference hard chairs and etc. but moving from the rooms to the conference floor is impossible. The elevator system is totally inadequate especially for an older group of attendees. The stairs are monumental, meaning you have to climb like you are in the Washington Monument or Statue of Liberty. Enough about that, I suppose that will not change but it is a shame.
Conference floor: Vendors: Excellent. What a great opportunity to have so many actively participating vendors. Let's hope we have even more next year.
Facilities and Treatment of Bloggers: A new category; Fabulous. I cannot imagine more attentive and helpful service than that provided by the FamilySearch folks. They are wonderful. I cannot applaud them enough for their personal and caring effort to make this a great experience.
Access to Internet: Fair. The Salt Palace evidently only has WiFi in the rooms themselves. There was no WiFi on the Conference Floor but the Media Hub had high speed connections. It was a little bit of a challenge to figure out when you could connect and when connection wasn't available.
Class line up: Good to Excellent: Some of the presenters were outstanding. Others were merely informative. It appeared to me that the attendees were looking more for solutions to technological challenges and would have liked more "how to" kinds of classes with more specific solutions.
Food: Mostly good but poor idea. It looked like they didn't plan very well for the Night at the Planetarium. The place was swamped and the food was OK but there were no utensils i.e. no forks. It was messy and hard to eat in a venue with almost no chairs. Same with serving food at the Family History Library, not such a good idea. Rethink the food idea. The food at the sponsored luncheons was the usual convention fair, OK.
All in all this was an exceptional opportunity and a wonderful experience. THANKS to all who helped and participated. Let's do it all over again next year. (Well, maybe you could wait a few days before thinking about that).