cPanel spent a lot of money to make their guests to feel comfortable during the 2-day annual conference of the company held between October 5 – 7 in Houston TX. The bill the hosting automation producer paid on its opening party was big enough, to make an impression. However the company officials say that it is not that important how much they spent to welcome their partners and customers. Of course I didn’t asked Aaron Philips, Eric Gregory or anyone other of the guys about the exact amount, because it wouldn’t be polite. However I got some numbers from one of the attendees, but I would not disclose this information.
Because it is not about the money. It is about to the company’s approach to their partners and customers. I was able to find out why cPanel was a true leader in the market of the web hosting automation software (even they are modestly saying that Parallels is a step ahead them in Europe). Anyway this is not an article to compare Parallels and cPanel, two very different companies that deserve their glory and their customers. The article is about how did I see the cPanel annual conference. But let’s get back to cPanel.
Let’s start with the place they have chosen to hold the conference. I didn’t have time to see Houston at all, so I presume I would be much more impressed of the even If I had some time to look around. However the Hilton Americas hotel, downtown Houston is an excellent and I thin new facility. It is in the hard of the city, right next to Toyota center (the home of NBA basketball team Houston Rockets). I’ve already had a chance to say a few words about the hotel and the facilities in the article “cPanel Conference 2009 – Before the Opening“, so those who come to this page of Daw blog from any referral link should read it.
It is normal the host that welcomes guests to its conference to create networking events, sessions and a marketplace (3 things anyone usually finds in any IT conferences) and to arrange any kind of discounted price of the hotel rooms for the event. In all other event I attended there were such a discounts and those who participated always paid at least 10% – 20% less for accommodation. However the price of $199 per room (excluding taxes) that cPanel arranged for its guests was $100 less than average price of the Hilton Americas hotel. I know that because I was stupid enough to book my room only 3 days before the opening days of the conference (although we were advised to book a room early) and I was able to qualify for the discounted price only for the first night. So let me say that cPanel saved the conference attendees at least $150 on hotel service fees.
The food was was very good (I would say delicious, but someone might decide that it is too strong). As in any other conferences not one was allowed to pay for food, coffee and beverages during the con. Cpanel however did even more. They brought anyone who wanted to go there in a pub, announced open bar and gave free access to all the games available. So anyone had fun.
When organizing conferences companies usually give their guests a chance to win various giveaways. cPanel created special “currency” for the event. Anyone who registered receive 40 bugs. They also got 20 bugs for each session they visited. At the end of the day cPanel guests was allowed to go to the gift shop and to “purchase” various things (glasses, bags, notepads, t-shirts, baseball cap, jackets, etc). Those who participated to all sessions and the networking event, who had a lot of fun took great presents home.
The spirit of the conference
A part from the sessions of high quality the whole conference was very well organized and everyone was in a hight spirit. One of the best sessions was the one held by Karanbir Singh, one of the mans behind CentOS. The CentOS team had a booth at the conference and they were very helpful and open to provide advice to anyone. At least I saw things this way.
I met a lot of excellent professionals during the conference, people from different countries and different cultures. I’ve boceme a good friend with Abdullah Sheikh, an excellent professional with long experience in networking systems, web hosting, and IT consulting, with Faris from Lebanese hosting provider Mena-Tech.com and with the guys from Japanese company Joe’s Web Hosting. I would also like to point your attention web hosting providers iWeb.com (Simon and Francois are great personalities), to Liquidweb (Chris Strandt, a very intelligent and knowledgeable person) to ServerTune (a Minnesota based Dedicated & Managed host) and to all other guys I met. I apologize for not being able to feature anyone who I met here. This is just an article I wrote in the London’s Heathrow airport, after missed my flight to Sofia thanks to British Airways lack of organization and employees’ ignorance. Because of BA I had to spend the whole day (October 8th) on airports. The poor organization of the Heathrow’s BA Terminal 5 is impossible to justify, as well as the unfriendliness that most of its crew members and staff on the ground demonstrate.
There isn’t much more to say in this article about cPanel conference 2009, except the pictures that I’ll post in the article once I get back home. At the end I would to express my gratitude to the whole team of cPanel’s taht worked hard to organize a trully great event. Special thanks to Aaron Phillips.