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Worst ... conference ... format ... ever?

Worst ... conference ... format ... ever?

Yesterday's Amazon Web Services summit in Sydney had a very weird format for its breakout sessions.

On every chair in the breakout rooms was a pair of radio-connected headphones.

Speakers were miked up but were not amplified: unless you sat in the front row the only way to hear them was by wearing the headphones.

Everything else was conference as usual: a chap on stage, slideware, lots of buzzwords and content of dubious value.

The reason for the odd format is that Sydney's convention centre was detonated earlier this year: we're building a bigger and better one. That means IT outfits looking for a somewhere capable of handling a few hundred people are scrambling to find venues. Yesterday's venue didn't have dedicated breakout rooms: they had to be curtained off. So the weird headphones arrangement made sense as a way to ensure the venue didn't turn into a horrid tunnel of competing noise.

It was still odd. In fact I'm willing to declare it the weirdest ... conference ... format ... ever.

If you were at the summit, what did you think? Or have you been to a weirder conference?


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