After a lot of thought, we're both sad and relieved today we finally came to an agreement that it's time to close the curtains on the CMS Expo Learning & Business Conference. It's been an exciting run, and financially successful too, but the event has gotten so big that it became a full-time (and then some) job for us both, year-round. While it's been incredibly gratifying, that wasn't in our master plan.
We had hoped to do another event in 2015, but timing never worked out. So, today (Valentine's Day) is it's official final day. We thank ALL the great people who were part of CMS Expo in the past for sharing the experience with us!
The conference started on a whim in 2007, as an accidental success, growing from our local Chicago Joomla user group. Many of those folks have become great friends to this day. The event grew well beyond one brand, to include over 25 major brands, from Joomla, Drupal, MODX and WordPress to OpenText, SiteCore, DNN and Alfresco (and many more).
It was an excellent learning conference, with between 60 and 100 sessions each year, designed for end users to better understand how technology in the CMS world could improve the ways they use technology for content, marketing and sales (the new "CMS").
Back when we started, we thought we'd get fifty or a hundred people to the event, and nearly 300 showed up. We figured it'd draw people from a twenty mile radius and we ended up with attendees from all around the globe. Good kind of problem, eh?
The attendees, sponsors and speakers were the best bunch of folks you'd ever want to meet! A special shout-out goes out to our longtime supporters, Robert Jacobi and Arc, the Pignataro brothers, Robert Nowak, Jen Kramer, Scott Liewehr, Nick Martinelli, Harry Semerjian, Bryan Ruby, Tom Canavan and our family "crew" of Alyssa & Josh Miller, and Andrew & Julie Coonen. Y'all know what you did, so thanks. I'd keep going, but it'd turn into a link-fest :).
We've run seven successful CMS Expo events since 2008, with our final event in 2013. It's been a lot of fun, and we've met some incredible people along the way. We feel like we've done some good for a lot of people, who wanted to learn more about the amazing powers of content management systems.
When we have a little extra energy, we already find ourselves going through the "blue sky" stages of cooking up something new and different to do as an event that's intimate, high-quality, and incredibly worthwhile for people to attend and interact. From one-day learning events to a foodie conference to teaming up with SharkTank on a tech-entrepreneur's national tour, we've cooked up a lot of worthy concepts, but we're still searching for the right project...
Meanwhile, Linda's busy in her marketing research work, and I jumped back in the deep end again, to team up with one of my all-time favorite technology firms I got to know (like brothers!) at CMS Expo. We're still blocking out some time on a weekly basis to curate and write here on The CMS Connection too, covering my obsession with CMS technology. I've been paring down some of the ancillary offerings here, to focus on -- what else -- the content itself, making sure it's relevant, in a fast-changing business world.
Thank you again, and if you have a great idea on an article, or a future event, drop us a line!
John & Linda Coonen
(I'm content, she's management)