Seeing the proposed line-up for the 2014 hack.summit() virtual conference was the grown-up equivalent of seeing the line-up for some of the first Lollapalooza events. It was definitely an "All those people I want to see, and all in one place? *head asplode*" moments.
So, what is this conference with the incredibly nerdy name? In short, it's a selection of industry leading speakers presenting all on-line and streamed live. The "registration fee" was actually a choice between mentioning the conference on a few social media platforms, or making a donation to one of a number of programming non-profits. Seeing as I don't tweet, I made a donation, then signed in (using OAuth) via my Google+ account. It was a delightfully frictionless process.
The hack.summit() conference ran December 1st through December 4th, but I was only able to "attend" the last two days. Luckily for me, all of the live-streamed presentations are also available afterwards on the hacksummit site. They feel a little hidden away in the small menu in the upper left corner, but they're all there, available as YouTube videos.
is was hack.summit() worth your time? It's got an amazing collection of very accomplished developers, thought leaders and experienced big cheeses of some companies that do some pretty impressive work. During the live event, the Crowdcast platform provided a great delivery mechanism for the streaming videos, as well as admin-created polls, a light-weight chat feature, and audience-voted questions for the presenters. Hack.summit() founder, Ed Roman, did a great job MC-ing the entire event, too. (And to whoever figured out how to game the voting system at a conference named hack.summit(), well played you rogue.)
In closing, I strongly recommend you do a few things: Go sign up right now to gain access to the presentation videos. Commit some time (make a deal with yourself, get approval to do a group viewing at work, whatever) to watch as many presentations as you can. Lastly, set a calendar reminder to keep an eye out for the hack.summit() 2015 that will hopefully happen.