Todd has been creating and building open source conferences, events and communities for more than 10 years, and working in the technology industry for more than 15. He created and now chairs All Things Open, the largest open source/tech/web event in the U.S, as well as the Open Source 101 event series. In addition, he’s served as an advisor for multiple other events around the country you’ve probably heard of.
If you are interested in hosting an event or generating revenue through open source, this episode is definitely for you. Thanks for tuning in to Develomentor!
Today, we are joined by Todd Lewis, a technology advocate, community builder and entrepreneur. Todd has organized some of the biggest open source technology conferences in the United States over the last decade, including All Things Open, Great Wide Open, and POSSCON. Each event has attracted thousands of attendees from all over the world and nearly every major technology company in the country regularly participates. Todd is a strong believer in open source technology and expects it to be a dominant approach/methodology going forward.
Todd started his career working for an internet company in 1999 before the bubble burst. He has since worked with large consulting firms, Fortune 500 companies, a technology nonprofit and his own consulting company. Learn about other technology careers here!
Todd’s mission to share knowledge and create opportunities for other people is truly inspiring. So, tune in as we explore what goes into creating great and successful technology conferences as well as some major challenges and obstacles to look out for. Enjoy!
[1:22] Todd’s journey to become a technology advocate, community builder and entrepreneur
[8:44] Todd as a technology conference producer
[11:33] A peek into All Things Open
[13:50] What goes into planning a technology conference?
[22:17] Education and generating revenue through open source
[28:04] Major challenges and obstacle in the technology conference industry
[36:15] Advice for aspiring technology conference producers
“It really has not been that long ago when computers were really expensive, so I didn’t have access to a computer until I got to college.”
“I really made it a point to take on roles and jobs that allowed me to learn as much as I could as fast as possible.”
“It was a tough start (coming) from a great family. But in no way, shape or form was I introduced to technology at an early age… I had to learn it on my own.”
“I don’t under any way, shape or form consider myself a programmer.”
“Part of putting on great events is that you really have to have a foundational understanding of the technology because content is so important.”
“Most applications or most technology are used by regular people, so you sort of have to know how it applies and to relate that to non technical people.”
“I’ve always had the desire to educate… because I didn’t have anyone showing me the way.”
“You don’t know what you don’t know and you can’t hold that against someone. That is why education awareness and exposure to things in life are really important.”
What are people missing about open source?
“At All Things Open, we focus on things like the business aspect of open source. That is something that is often overlooked and frankly that is something that is not understood by a lot of people, even people in the industry.”
“I think everyone really has to ask themselves ‘why would I even do an event?’ and answer the question very honestly because from that question, everything else follows.”
“You have to be comfortable with working in changing conditions… because this (technology industry) is not a static environment at all. It is extremely dynamic.”