Well, somedays you forget everything you've learned, you somehow go against your core instincts, and you are taught a lesson that humbles you. Such was the case on Wednesday during our series of Application Labs at Mobile World Congress.
Context & Background
At MWC we planned 2 application lab events for Wednesday Feb 16th. These are events that allow developers to learn how to develop apps for Intel AppUp center & for MeeGo. Before the event started, we had full registration for these 2 sessions. Because of the high demand for the event, we worked with the venue to allow us to have a 3rd session, which we announced on the 2nd day of the show
Additionally, we were planning on giving out devices for each attendee, as a way to distribute a test dev platform to eager developers. And as Wednesday started, all was working well and according to plan. We had 80 seats for each event, with 90 devices to give out for the 2 original sessions and we had just a little over 90 show up for each session.
However mid-day we realized we had a run on registrations for the 3rd application lab, with nearly 700 registrants in 24 hours. The room capacity is 100, so even at a typical 50% drop off for an offsite show, that's 250 people we could not accommodate. Something was up. Registration spiked that morning after the 1st lab and for unknown reasons, the planned cut-off for registration was not in affect. Registrations kept increasing.
My belief was the word got out that devices were being handed out. We had not planned on devices for the 3rd session since it was an adhoc session, so we made it clear to the folks standing in line early, we were not giving out hardware. We repeated if often, but as far as I can tell nobody left. The line kept going and the venue had a 100 person limitation. Unfortunately we needed to cut off the line and get the 100 folks in the building secured for the next app lab. All the while, I was pretty certain this group of developers showed up to get devices. I was uncertain if this 3rd group were even developers at all.
So before we started we again explained no hardware would be given out as we started the session. Then 45 minutes later during our break we expected that many would leave. That was again not the case. The entire group of 100 stayed, and after the event was over they continued to stay and talk with us.
So to my surpise, everyone that entered that room and heard our presentation was passionate about mobile app development and passionate about the prospects of MeeGo. The 650 registrations that ramped that day were not due to tweets revealing a hardware giveaway. We had a sudden ramp in interest because there was a sudden ramp in interest to engage with Intel on MeeGo & the future of open source mobile platforms. I believe before MWC, Intel was not well associated with the open source community say to the degree that Nokia was. With recent announcements, developers started to talk with us at MWC & had learned of the new app lab opening, thus creating a run on registrations.
I have to admit, my read on this was totally wrong. I was happy to see the strong interest in MeeGo, and humbled in the interest for Intel to keep pushing it forward as a mobile platform. The developer community behind MeeGo is very very strong, and I really wish we could have spent time with each and every developer that was interested in attending.
We will be opening dozens of app labs to start this engagement. We have 30 more planned this year, with many in Europe in the comming months. So for those developers who did not get a chance to connect with us, please look out for our event schedule and I look forward to chatting with many of you.
Thanks to all who attended or registered for the event. I hope to connect with you again. Go MeeGo!