Shareware Industry Conference

Colorado seems a nice place to spend the next week.

This year, Denver hosts the annual Shareware Industry Conference (SIC) for the first time. As the name implies, this conference is devoted to topics affecting the shareware industry, which is primarily comprised of independent developers and publishers. SIC is presented by the Shareware Industry Awards Foundation (SIAF), and in recent years, the conference has changed location around the United States every couple of years. For the two previous years, SIC has been in Rochester, New York, and although Denver is a longer journey, it will be a welcome change.

I arrived in Denver, via Amtrak on the California Zephyr, fairly early this morning. The total travel time was about 24 hours, but with a laptop computer and traveling companions Fred and Jan Clabuesch of SigmaTech Software, the trip was enjoyable. We compared notes on Amtrak’s upsell telemarketing, where they called passengers scheduled in coach class and offered discounted “sleepers” for the round trip. Apparently, the program was successful, as the only upgrade for the return trip, once we got to Denver, was full fare, more than the round trip cost previously available.

The taxicab ride to the conference hotel was not as enjoyable as the train trip. Apparently, we were traveling right in the middle of morning rush hour, and there was all sorts of construction. Perhaps working at home has spoiled me, but this was the worst traffic I can recall seeing in recent memory, and the cabbie assured us that this morning was not unusual. Of course, it would have been nice had he managed to have fewer close calls and near misses (“near hits”), but we did get to the hotel relatively unscathed.

The hotel had been fully booked the previous evening, so there were no rooms available for early check-in. After a brief rest in the lobby, we ran into SIAF Chairman Mike Callahan, also known as Dr. File Finder, and volunteered to stuff “goodie bags”. We learned that SIC 2005 was likely to be the largest ever, and the anticipation was starting to build. After a few hours of volunteer work, we were treated to a lovely lunch at a hotel restaurant, and the conversation was thoroughly enjoyable.

After lunch, there were finally rooms available, so I was able to check-in and take my bags up to my room. Having spent a night in a coach seat on a train, it was nice to be able to finally get a nap in a proper bed. Shortly after waking in the early evening, Thomas Warfield of Goodsol Development, publisher of our Pretty Good MahJongg and Action Solitaire products, called from the lobby. I joined him and other shareware industry professionals, including Jerry Stern and Terry Jepson, who are promoting their new SpySafety site, Jan Goyvaerts, who writes the Shareware Beach blog, and Ryan Smyth, who flew all the way from South Korea to attend his first SIC.

A little bit later, I had a very nice dinner with Thomas and his wife Anne, where we discussed some of the exciting new projects we will be developing in conjunction with Goodsol, and the conversation lasted slightly longer than the meal. We returned to the pre-conference schmoozing, enjoying great camaraderie until everybody retired to their rooms (rather early for those of us still on Eastern time).

Common Ground update: Tonight I am missing The Allman Brothers Band, and although I saw them there previously, I am told that every one of their live shows is different.

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