Why GTAC is different

As I write this, it’s 3:36PM on August 23rd, and I am sitting at the New York Google Office, just after co-presenting a talk on interaction-based testing.

I am sick. Exhausted. Drained. Barely able to give the follow-up speakers the attention they deserve – but I’m trying, they did it for me.

And, to borrow a phrase, this is also “The Awesome.”

GTAC is fundamentally different . There is one track (no “concurrent sessions”), so everyone has an identical frame of reference. Attendance is capped at 150, so you have a real chance to meet everyone. The conference is run at a financial loss by Google as a gift to the community – so instead of attracting paying customers, Google can be selective about attendees. Because it is capped at 150, they can be very selective.

Moreover, this is no junket in Nantucket. From the moment we arrived until it was time to sleep, Google has had events. The “business day” for the conference days run 7:30AM to 7:30PM – following by mingling, followed by a reception, which doesn’t end until 10:00PM. If you came to New York to see the Statue of Liberty (or to appear on the Today Show) you’re probably out of luck – but if you want to talk about software testing, c’mon, sit down, here’s a salt shaker, let’s test.

Finally, the conference ends on a Friday, which means if people want to fly home, they have to do it on Saturday. Again, people who don’t really care but want a junket are not very likely give up “their” Saturday for travel.

Bottom line: GTAC is the most impressive test automation conference I know of, period. It’s been an honor to speak, it was fun, and I’m glad that my speaking portion is done and I can enjoy the rest of the conference.

By the way, if you are into speaking, GTAC is also one of the best audiences that I have ever presented for before. Forgiving, interested, actively listening, thinking critically, and consisting of true peers. I have to say, this is just about everything I could ask for in an audience – and that makes a huge difference. (Come to think of it, the only conference I’ve had a better audience with was the Indianapolis QA Association, who have all that and mid-west sense of humor …)

UPDATE: If you couldn’t be in New York city RIGHT NOW, you can watch the talk on Interaction Based Testing by Heusser and McMillan.

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