HostingCon 2011 Wrap Up

For those of you who don’t already know, HostingCon is our industry’s biggest convention. This year, the conference was held in beautiful Sand Diego, California, and was host to 1,800 eager attendees.

San Diego is an amazing place to visit- perfect weather, gorgeous beaches and friendly locals. Here’s a picture of some classy locals lawn blowing.

The San Diego convention center is an absolutely massive futuristic complex. The conference sessions, lunches, and exhibitors were spread out all over the place. I think I might have walked two miles each day without setting foot outside of the convention center!

Cloudflare put up one of the coolest sponsorships I’ve ever seen. In addition to having a booth and sponsoring breakfast each day, they hired a limo service to drive attendees from the airport to their hotel! Matthew Price, CEO at CloudFlare later gave a presentation on how their software was able to protect a powerful hacktivist website online during a flurry of DDoS attacks.

Tim Ash gave a colorful presentation on landing page optimization. His cocky attitude made it a little hard to pay attention sometimes, but he did give some good advice about improving landing page performance. His key to landing page success is to keep the visitor focused by removing visual distractions. His company, SiteTuners, uses eye tracking software to help them generate results.

Our very own CEO, Doug Hanna, hosted a session about customer service and corporate culture for fellow hosting executives. Doug stressed that corporate culture can be a leading indicator for poor customer service. Companies that attract employees with combative attitudes can be inadvertently nurturing an environment ripe for impolite customer service.

The tradeshow floor at this year’s HostingCon was bustling with exhibitors, their booths, their swag, and their contests. I actually won an iPad2 from Arbor Networks! These guys know how to hook it up too. They gave me a 32GB iPad 2, an Apple Smart Cover,  an official charging dock, and an Arbor Networks travel bag. I was totally blown away! Arbor networks provides high-end network security for web hosts.

There was also an exciting Server Challenge where competitors were asked to assemble a server as quickly as possible. Here’s our very own, Josh Ward, giving it his best try.

While in San Diego, we held a meet-up for our local customers. It’s great to be able to match login names with real live personalities. After enjoying a few drinks at the Lincoln Room, they took us up to the top of the San Diego Hyatt where we were treated to a breathtaking view of the city at night.

HostingCon wouldn’t be complete without its fair share of perks too. On the second night of the conference, cPanel hosted an after party where The Dan Band, famous for the performance at the beginning of the movie, “Old School.” They’re not so much a band, as they are a musical act. In other words, they don’t play musical instruments. Instead, they sing along with a prerecorded audio/video presentation. It felt a bit like watching karaoke. We managed to sneak into the VIP area, and the open bar started to take its toll on yours truly. At the end of the night, I got separated from the rest of our group and wandered the streets of downtown San Diego until I ran into some inebriated locals. By this time, I’d sobered up, and I ended up hanging out for awhile listening to some cool music with them.

The next day, cPanel offered a bit of the “hair of the dog that bit us” from their booth.

This year’s HostingCon was a great place to meet our industry peers, learn from presenters, and party with our fellow business nerds. I hope to see you there next year!

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