Herb, Andrei, and I tend to refer to C++ and Beyond (C&B) as an “event” rather than a “conference,” because conferences are generally big, impersonal things organized around the principle that speakers stand and talk and attendees sit and listen.  That’s not what we have in mind for C&B, and the structure of the event reflects that.

First, attendance is limited to 60 people.  We want a group small enough that we can spend time talking with each of you, and we want everybody to have a chance to talk with everybody else.  Truly successful events are built around opportunities for people to make connections and exchange ideas, and we want to set up that kind of success. A smallish group helps us do that.

Second, breakfast and lunch are included each day.  We’re not talking dry rolls and lukewarm coffee here, we’re talking a full-blown sit-at-a-table-and-eat-with-fellow-C&Bers first thing in the morning and again in the middle of the day.  Okay, “full-blown” means you get your food from a buffet, but it’s real food (you know, warm and requiring the use of silverware and everything!), and few things facilitate table conversation like standing in line with an empty plate and a healthy appetite.

Third, C&B runs in the evenings, too.  From 7:30 to 9:30 each evening (or, as they say probably everywhere except the USA, 19:30 to 21:30), we have a room set aside for informal discussions.  No lectures, no preconceived topics, no preordained structure, just a nice place to hang out, enjoy light refreshments, and talk about whatever comes to mind.  If conversation lags, I’ll say something embarrassing about Andrei or Herb and hope they’re too stunned to retaliate.

We believe informal discussion time is so important, we’ve incorporated it into the lunch break, too.  As you’ll see on the general event structure page, two and a half hours is set aside each afternoon for “lunch and mid-day activity.”  The “activity” might be hanging out in the lunch room and talking with people you just discovered face the same kinds of technical challenges you do, it might be going back to your room to catch up on your email (because, let’s face it, your work responsibilities won’t really stop while you’re at C&B), or it might be taking advantage of C&B’s location at the Salish Lodge (about which I’ll have more to say in a separate post), which stands next to Snoqualmie Falls and is a short walk from The Snoqualmie Valley Regional Trail.  That trail is 29 miles long (even longer in metric: 46 kilometers), which should be enough for even the most ardent post-meal walker/runner/biker to get their blood flowing again.

Herb, Andrei, and I hope to take advantage of that blood flow during our technical sessions, which take place in the mornings and afternoons.   The topics we’ll address and the formats our sessions will take will be determined during the course of the next few months, influenced not just by what we think we can contribute, but also by your comments:  we plan to post session ideas to this blog to see what flies and what doesn’t.

Early-bird registration for C&B will begin this Saturday and run until July 24.  During that time, a 10% discount will be in effect.  Based on the limited size of this event, as well as the reception other events of ours have received, we believe there’s a good chance all the spots will be taken during the early-bird period.  If that happens, it means we’re lousy businesspeople (who wants to sell out at the discount rate?), but it also means that if you’re interested in attending C&B (and we hope you are), you should consider registering earlier rather than later.