By Sharon White
Sharon White has been the main organizer of ClueCon for many years! This is a little behind the scenes look into ClueCon and all her favorite things about the conference.
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8. Raffle Tickets
Who doesn’t like giveaways? For ClueCon, raffle tickets are the primary way that we give away prizes. Every single attendee receives a certain number of raffle tickets dependent upon when they signed up for ClueCon. Sign up early and you receive 20 raffle tickets per day. Sign up right before ClueCon and you receive one raffle ticket per day. But no matter when you sign up, you still have a chance to win some really cool stuff.
At most conferences those tiny tickets can represent a parting prize of a dinner for two at a great local restaurant, $500 cash, or a trip to Hawaii. For ClueCon, the annual grand prize is a custom engraved MacBook Pro. Similar to our t-shirts, we put time and effort into giving our attendees something one-of-a-kind and truly special. Based on the year’s theme of ClueCon, the Macbook is intricately engraved with the conference design. This makes it a unique item you can only get at ClueCon.
Though there is only one MacBook to win, there are many other prizes. In the past we have given out hundreds of SIP phones, wireless chargers, and even a desktop arcade game. There are at least 8 giveaways every day – and dozens of winners.
Register now you could be one of them!
7. Hotel Life
Everyone at one point in their lives has to stay at a hotel. To me, this is really fun and adventurous. Walking in symbolizes the beginning of a week that I have been working towards for the better part of a year. For the next week this hotel is my home away from home. This year, ClueCon is taking place at the InterContinental Hotel on the Magnificent Mile, right in the middle of downtown Chicago.
Immediately the whirlwind of setting up for ClueCon begins at check-in. I have to work with the whole team to make sure all of our equipment gets to the hotel in one piece, choreograph about 50 people that have poured their lives into setting up ClueCon, organize the conference rooms, and become acquainted with the hotel staff all on the Sunday before the conference. The thrill of ClueCon is in the air right when I first walk in… Then I get to work. By the end of the conference I have an entire family that I will not see again until next year.
The greatest part of hotel life is surrounding myself with the best people to help me through the week. And for that week, the hotel is home for all of us! Hotel life and city life are one in the same – iconic Chicago restaurants surround the area, and the shops of Michigan Avenue are right around the corner. The InterContinental sits at the intersection of famous landmarks and destinations like Cloud Gate and Navy Pier. This year ClueCon will take over 3 floors of the historic hotel, including the sprawling grand ballroom and the medieval-themed King Arthur’s Court.
We get many speakers signing up to share their newest innovations or demo their latest projects. And sometimes they might pull something strange to grab your attention…
ClueCon is a conference for developers by developers and to that end it is vitally important that we have the right speakers. When ClueCon speakers submit their talks, the FreeSWITCH founders hand-select the best of the best to share their ideas. This year, there will be a combination of speakers in person at the hotel in Chicago and online! Now that we’ve done two online conferences, we know that it’s still going to be awesome, and a crazy unique hybrid experience.
The presentations are a huge part of what make ClueCon so memorable. There is always a ton to learn about various updates in the world of open source and telecom, and there are so many passionate, knowledgeable leaders who have plenty to teach. These speakers hang around later to answer any questions, chat, and network! You never know what you might learn about, or who will steal the show with a unique demo…
I have worked at retail establishments, banks, even a flower shop, completely different jobs that gave me work experience with all kinds of people. I didn’t really get how well a conference allows you to get to know others. Up until ClueCon the only conferences I had been to were Star Trek conventions and ComicCon’s. While meeting new people at those conferences was fun and exciting, networking at ClueCon has inspired major changes in the tech industry that have an impact on the world. In fact, the first ClueCon led to the founding of FreeSWITCH…
Not to mention, ClueCon has the coolest networking events, like the annual Gigabit Reception. This reception includes not only great hors d’oeuvres and drinks, but the highly-anticipated jam session, and, as always, ClueCon karaoke.
One of my first ClueCon’s, I was manning the registration desk and I started watching two of our attendees meet and bond in seconds, something that could lead to collaborating to bring new technologies to the forefront by combining their knowledge and intellect. I remember thinking “They meet here, at ClueCon, and maybe a few years down the line we will be introduced to a product that was birthed right here in front of the registration desk.” Who knows? Maybe that collaboration will help to make the world a better place. Don’t get me wrong, Star Trek conventions are amazing, but who can compete with the innovation that comes from developers getting together at ClueCon?
To be continued…