So, I guess with a somewhat heavy heart I feel compelled to comment on AnDevCon and BZ Media the organization behind this conference and others. The gist of this post is that I am giving BZ Media a public vote of no confidence. After four years of speaking at AnDevCon I am no longer going to submit presentations to any BZ Media conferences. It's no secret to presenters and for that matter attendees that BZ Media uses a stack ranking system for presenters. I've been deemed a "poor performer" and my presentation for the upcoming AnDevCon was denied. Denied not based on merit or content, but because not enough attendees voted for my previous presentations. Stack ranking is a flawed system as it doesn't provide or adjust for context. Important topics may not be popular. For instance at the '13 SF AnDevCon my presentation about OpenCL for Android was on the last day and last slot of the conference. I had ~20 in attendance of which ~5 submitted reviews; all positive w/ one outlier mentioning I didn't blow their mind, etc. There were no problems with the content or presentation. It's ridiculous because of course I didn't have as many attendees at my presentation being at the end of conference. You can actually view this talk which I also gave at OnAndroidConf here (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XQCYWmYCJWo
). This video received on average 400% more views than any other OnAndroidConf presentation except for Havok's game engine which also received about the same amount. Now, I can go on with examples that provide context. Last year I had plenty of people at my presentation on compute shaders / OpenGL ES 3.1, but perhaps not enough submitted reviews. Out of this talk came the useful repos demonstrating modern GL for Android / Java (https://github.com/typhonrt/modern-java6-android-gldemos
). Too bad the stars on these repos aren't considered as performance. The amount of speakers that provide working code to back their presentations is small and I always attempt to provide code examples. I picked up the Nexus 6 on the way to AnDevCon and had up to the moment content in my presentation on OpenGL ES 3.1 support on Android. I also participated in the Intel startup after party and engaged many attendees with an interactive display with the video tech I've developed and helped two attendees win the 1st & 3rd prizes given away. Too bad that isn't counted as participation or adding value.
I usually speak about engine / low level graphics development / open standards and in general these areas fall outside mainstream Android development topics. It'd be nice to think someone else will take up the mantle of speaking about open standards as they apply to Android though likely that will not be the case as AnDevCon transitions to only representing the mainstream. As an independent engine / framework developer there is great freedom in being able to speak honestly about open standards. Unfortunately many in the industry can't speak about open standards due to business concerns; most notably hardware / SoC manufacturers.
A most memorable experience at AnDevCon was after my '13 lightning talk in front of the main audience about OpenCL and Google's suppression of the tech on Android came when I spoke with senior folks from a well known SoC OEM. These folks thanked me for this presentation mentioning that they are in full support of OpenCL and that they are perplexed by Google and that they can't again for business reasons make such public statements themselves.
Now BZ Media can select whoever they want to speak for whatever reason. They are a for profit company and their conferences are the only thing that has saved them from total default. However, stack ranking is a symptom of poor management / lack of understanding (or passion) and in the case of BZ Media it shines through as in my experience talking with many BZ Media folks over the last four years I never detected anyone having a solid grasp or care for actual aspects, technical or otherwise, in respect to Android.
Nevertheless in streamlining the conference from 4 to 3 days I didn't make the cut. Again not because of the content or my ability to convey difficult topics. I suppose you could say that I'm not a "poor performer", but simply "not profitable". I'm an independent after all and don't represent a large corporation with brand name recognition. I'm never going to sponsor AnDevCon or buy a booth.
Anyway, all of this hit me kind of hard last week as I've been on a tear for the past couple of months working on a new platform which I'll be making public soon; this was the topic of the presentation. It's some fine work and I've been working overtime on it having gotten back into an aggressive work schedule adopting a 24 hour on / off schedule sustaining 72 or 96 hours a week effort depending on which day of the week my first coding session starts. I look forward to presenting on this effort at conferences other than AnDevCon.
Basically I extended a tremendous amount of goodwill towards AnDevCon / BZ Media and while it always has been more or less a zero sum game I can no longer ignore that and my only option is not to play so to speak. For a while they were the only game in town to present about Android topics... In my next post I'll mention the conference that really represents the full scope of Android development.
I'll get this one quip in though before I quit here....
AnDevCon: the Yahoo of Android developer conferences; too big to fail and increasingly irrelevant.