If you're anything like me, your responsibilities pull you in about 50 directions--all at once. This is especially true if you're in a technology career. For me, I maintain a list of goals surrounding my career which average around 10-12: figure out Oslo, get stronger with TFS...particularly Rosario, learn ASP.Net/C# 3.5, present technical topics often, maintain my certifications, keep my team happy and growing, etc.
Typically, it has been my experience during my 12+ year career that conferences--especially non-vendor-managed conferences are not a good use of my time. One ends up burning a day or two with travel ('cause they don't do conferences in the mid-west), the topics and sessions are hit-or-miss, and they're expensive.
CodeMash alleviates all of these shortcomings. Hosted right here in Ohio, the independent founders of CodeMash knocked one out of the park last year in their inaugural offering: logistics, price, content, speakers, SWAG, and organization. Overall, this 2-day regional conference delivered more value than most of the national or coastal events I've attended.
Living in Columbus, the 2.5 hour drive to Sandusky, OH and the Kalahari Water Resort is a piece of cake. Somehow, CodeMash charges under $200 negotiated an under-$100/night rate, and the food is sponsored. There are 42 sessions delivered by the best and brightest (ok, so they didn't pick me...one exception ;-) folks in Michigan/Ohio (predominately) we all know and enjoy: Jim Holmes, Dave Donaldson, Bill Wagner, Josh Holmes, etc. AND, they managed to pull in some heavy weight out-of-state talent such as Bruce Eckel, Neal Ford, and Scott Hanselman. (Last year they paraded in Scott Guthrie...wow. I'll miss his presence at the conference this year. I'm sure there'll be no shortage of greatness this year though...)
So, get yourself registered already! All the cool kids will be there.
My firm, Cardinal Solutions is a Gold Sponsor. If you're nice, I might even share our discount code. ;-)