Ain’t No Party like a MarkLogic Party!

Last week we had the 2010 MarkLogic User Conference and it was awesome!  You can read all about it here and get some sense of the action (for a few days at least) here.  If you were in attendance, thanks to everyone for helping put on such a great event!

I find the conference inspiring for many reasons.  I could go on and on about why, instead you’ll definitely find the influence of #MLUC10 in subsequent posts.  In a nutshell, once a year the entire MarkLogic Community gets together for a 3 day collaborative brainstorming session and celebrates Big, Screaming Fast XML and all things Server.  This was my third, and they keep getting bigger and better.  This year though, for the first time, we had a Conference party.  The shindig was amazing and definitely deserves a special shout-out!

MarkLogic rented out the California Academy of Sciences and it was nuts.  Well first, they gave out temporary tattoos featuring our new logo to everyone.  You can check out the awesomeness on this person’s dome (click images for larger views), as well as the mighty fist here. Some people really got into the tats.

They had buses on a loop from the Intercontinental Hotel, where the main event was held, to the Academy to bring people continuously to and from the event.  We got over there around 7 and started the evening by exploring the new 4-story rainforest exhibit.  We walked spirally up a ramp within a giant, clear, enclosed, warm, humid dome, viewing butterflies, frogs, snakes, geckos, bats, birds, and other creatures of the rainforest.  The habitat circles a giant pool in the center floor where we had the chance to see humongous gars and other fish swimming around.  At the top level, the docents did a butterfly check of clothing before putting us on an elevator that took us down to a level below the rainforest, to the aquarium and an area where we could look at the giant rainforest pool from the under side.

And then it just got ridiculous (in a good way). You got off the elevator and people were waiting there to serve you wine and drinks the moment you walked in the room.  You could walk through the aquarium, and every time you turned a corner, there was a sushi/hor d’oeuvre station or an open bar.  I wandered around, exploring and talking to people, checking out jellyfish and snacking on salmon and dim-sum, while others ate sushi and watched the fish. (yeah, i know!).

I was having a good time and really thought that was it with regard to the party area.  We’d seen the rainforest, and the aquarium was lots of fun.  The Academy closed the rainforest at 8, so I thought what we’d seen was all very impressive and we’d finish the evening drinking and socializing among the eel and octopi.

I’m wandering around and I find a set of stairs that ends up taking me to the main exhibit area.  The top of the stairs opened into a  whole other party section with candle-lit tables, more food and open bars!  There was prime-rib with mashed potatoes, mexican food, sliders and chips, dessert tables with cakes, cookies, and build your own sundaes.  I don’t think i saw all the food available, there was so much of it.

It was just awesome. Everywhere you turned you found good people, good food, good drink, good conversation, and good science!  And to top it off, they had someone taking photos in front of this large skeletal mouth.  When you left the party at the end of the evening, the photo was in a small folder, waiting to be picked up by the door.

I took my pic with Josh, our Vice President of People. This is a pic of a pic, and looks blurry as I resized smaller, click for a better view.  I’m the one throwin up the ML gang sign of course.  In retrospect, I wish I would’ve stood behind Josh with my hands on his hips, both of us at an angle looking over one shoulder, prom style.  🙂  Yeah, that would be just SO wrong, and yet i still think it would’ve been absolutely hilarious.  But this pic is great too!  Ok, the pic tangent is all in good fun, but all kidding aside…

Well done MarkLogic! and Thanks for another great User Conference!