I take my conferences seriously. My travel opportunities are not unlimited, so I want real value out of the one or two events a year I get to go to. The first aspect of ensuring a quality experience is focusing on excellent content- I could give a rat’s arse about having some blowhard Hollywood type as a keynote speaker, and I don’t need to be “treated” to a concert or amusement park (that I’m actually paying for) at the end. My better events are also thin on vendor sales pitches, and beefier in real content. That’s why I’m excited to once again be going to WLPC, aka the Wireless LAN Professionals Conference, in Phoenix in a few days. It’s the one conference that’s BY wireless networkers FOR wireless networkers, and it just gets better every year.
But there is more to WLPC success than just signing up. I’ll be presenting a couple of sessions, I know what sessions are of particular interest to me, and I have a list of people I’m looking forward to catching up with.
Then there’s Bender. Shaun Bender.
This blog serves as notice to Bender about the Rules of Engagement- or rather the rules of Non-Engagement- for he and I during this event. I will spare you the details of the generations-deep blood feud between the Badmans and the Benders, but I can assure you that Shaun’s people are and always have been at fault. To keep the peace at WLPC, I’ve developed a few simple rules to help Lil Shauny stay out of trouble with me.
The 20-Foot Rule
Below is the schematic for the Ballroom at the Doubletree Hotel in Phoenix.
Simple math using the formula Area = Length x Width yields 3,510 square feet in this venue. This gives plenty of room for Shaun to stay at least 20′ feet away from me. Now let’s look at a couple of examples. The next image shows a typical conference room layout. What we’re after here is the seating pattern, and what Shaun needs to keep in mind when I’m in the room. We’re going to call each per-person seating area a 30-inch width, and the gap between tables 42 inches. I’ll talk about Positions 1, 2, and 3 in a minute.
Remember, Shaun needs to stay the hell away from me by minimally 20 feet, which equals 240 inches. Simple references that may be helpful:
- 8 chair spaces = 240 inches/20 feet
- 6 “table gaps” will ensure the 240 inch/20 foot separation as well
- You’re thinking “yeah, but the aisle should count too”. Well, it doesn’t, so shut up.
Now, about those red position indicators. These are the three places I am likely to be while participating in the event. #1 is me at the podium, #2 is my favorite seat, and #3 is the Special Aisle Case. So how does Bender stay in compliance in each of these? I’ve made it as simple as I can- and I am NOT open to trigonometric formulas that may work the hypotenuse in Bender’s favor to get him closer to me, so we can rule that right out.
#1 Position: This is simple. When I am presenting, Bender needs to stay at least 6 rows back from the stage, AND 8 seats over from the shortest imaginary line formed between the podium and the back of the room.
#2 Position: Again, easy-peasy. When I am in my favorite chair, Bender needs to be no less than 8 full chair-spaces away from me in either direction (remember, the aisle does not count in this measurement). Preferably, at least one or two large people would be in the between-area so I don’t incidentally have to see him in my periphery. If this can’t be achieved for lack of seating, then Bender needs to follow the 6 row rule AND the 8 chair-space rule for minimum required separation.
#3 Position: This is somewhat complicated, and requires Bender to be paying attention. If I’m simply getting up to pee or to grab coffee and I transit the aisle without pause, Bender can stand fast wherever he is (as long as that location is otherwise in compliance). But, should I run into someone interesting in the aisle and end up talking for more than 60 seconds then Bender needs to adjust for proper separation between my aisle location AND my seat that I will return to after my business is finished.
It’s quite probable that Bender and I will no doubt be eating meals at the same time, and in many cases, in the same general area. This can’t be helped, and I would expect that we can both be mature about this. As long as no eye contact is made and no words are spoken (including muttering), the serving line can accommodate both of us. But I don’t want him handing me a plate or silverware, and any attempts by Bender to put dressing on my salad will result in immediate fisticuffs, and/or a call to hotel security. Once through the serving line, I need at least a two-table buffer between Bender and I, predicated on the tables being minimum 12′ round.
Hotel Lobby/Common Areas
This gets a little complicated, as the common areas are finite resources, and Bender can only get so far away. Here, the formula changes a little bit out of necessity. For every 5-foot increment that Bender needs to encroach on the 20′ buffer, the penalty is an adult beverage of my choice, to be awarded within 4 hours of the offense. The hotel bar serves as a neutral zone, and is the ONLY place where the buffer distance is suspended for the purpose of settling penalties.
Hopefully this simple overview can be of tremendous assistance in keeping the conference experience satisfactory for both Bender and I, and should the bottom fall out it will be his fault.
Here’s wishing everyone a great WLPC. If it wasn’t obvious, this was satire! Me and Lil Shauny are pals. There is no generations’ running blood feud, but if there was it would be the House of Bender’s fault.