Responses to Alan Yeo's proposal for a 3000-only conference in 2006 were rising toward the 30-attendee mark in the first day after the posting on our blog yesterday. (We included a note out on the 3000-L mailing list about the post, too). Yeo added a comment to the post this morning that notes that early responses, including 20 e-mails directly to him, have been "encouraging, but nowhere near enough yet. So get those fingers typing and remember the default if you don't respond is 'Not Interested!' "
To put rosy glasses on for a moment, having nearly 30 people, including Eloquence vendor Marxmeier Software's offer of support, respond within a day feels more than encouraging. Interex mounted user group conferences for the HP 3000 which did not draw 100 attendees, including vendors and speakers, during 2003. No meeting of the 3000 customers at last month's HP Technology Forum could even muster 45 attendees in a single room.
Of course, Interex's benchmarks for attendance in the 2002-2004 period don't serve as a marker for fiscal success — unless you factor in a new model of conference: organized by volunteers like a user group, supported by vendors eager to connect to 3000 sites who are still mulling over migration (even if they are homesteading for the near term). If Yeo's stalking horse took steps onto the conference track, it would only have to break even, so long as it delivers face-to-face networking and leads for its sponsors.
Things have changed, to be certain, since the Internet became such a rich alternative for system information in the 3000 world. Paul Edwards, who's on the OpenMPE board of directors and served Interex for many years as a speaker, volunteer and board member, talked about this "inevitable" decline of the brick-and-mortar user groups when Interex collapsed in July:
I guess it was inevitable, given the end of the HP 3000 platform by HP and the unnecessary additional conference that HP scheduled this year that drew vital funds from Interex. The world has changed considerably with the spread of the Internet. The HP3000-L e-mail list provides almost instant access to gurus in the community for users to ask questions and get answers. The 3000 Newswire provides in-depth reporting of MPE news. The OpenMPE organization has assumed the duties of HP3000 customer base advocacy to HP for the last couple of years. HP and third party vendors provide excellent hardware and software support.
The MPE customer base has excellent and responsive resources to use to continue their migration or homesteading efforts. I am confident the users have the best possible opportunities to run their systems with available help for any problems they may encounter. We are all now waiting for the decision by HP, expected this year, for their final disposition of the MPE operating system.
While that's all true, there is interest afoot for a face-to-face meeting. Many sites are still deciding how to handle their transition.
"Continue to move forward with your ideas," said Bruce Naylor of Benchmark Brands told us in an e-mail yesterday. "Since we have not decided whether to migrate off the HP3000 or homestead, I believe a gathering of HP3000 users is a terrific idea. I'd certainly do my best to attend. I think a meeting of the minds and sharing info about the HP3000, including products and services is very positive."
Add a comment below to indicate your support for the idea. Or tell us why you can't make time for a 3000-only conference next year.