HOSTSEARCH: George... Thanks for the interview... I am sure you are very busy with HostingCon so it's much appreciated. In fact it hasn't been that long since we spoke to you last, but I guess you have been pretty active since then. How are preparations for HostingCon 2006 going?
GEORGE A. ROBERTS: They're going great! Things are of course very hectic right now, but the show looks like it's going to be top notch and a great experience for all.
HOSTSEARCH: This year's HostingCon 2006 moves to Las Vegas. What can people expect from this year's event?
GEORGE A. ROBERTS: Well, first off The Mirage is an excellent venue. I think that attendees this year will truly enjoy their stay there and the experience of attending the conference there. In addition, our exhibit hall is significantly larger than last years - we have a 22 more exhibitors than we had last year. The schedule is much better too. Attendees will have a lot more time to explore the exhibit hall and talk with vendors without feeling like they have to rush off.
HOSTSEARCH: How many people have signed up so far? Will attendance be up on last year?
GEORGE A. ROBERTS: We're over 800 so far for this year. We're about 200 more than last year so far.
HOSTSEARCH: Who are we going to hear from at HostingCon 2006? What big names are going to be present and what are they going to show us?
GEORGE A. ROBERTS: We have a great line up of speakers in our conference program! Our keynotes are going to be great this year, too. Thornton A. May, the Executive Director of the IT Leadership Academy will be delivering a keynote on how mainstream IT views the hosting industry and how to work with mainstream IT better. Andrew Schroepfer from Tier1 Research will deliver a keynote about what other analysts won't tell you about the hosting industry. Our keynote panel will feature several CEOs from top hosting companies on "what works now."
HOSTSEARCH: And my understanding is that there are going to be more educational sessions than last year...
GEORGE A. ROBERTS: Yes, with the expansion to a 3 day program this year we have increased our sessions up to 32 from 24 last year.
HOSTSEARCH: Are there any particular initiatives or changes this year? Will there be anything we didn't see last year?
GEORGE A. ROBERTS: We've changed up our conference tracks a bit this year. We have four tracks: Business, Shared Services Hosting, Enterprise and Data Center, and Application Hosting. Our focus last year was more on the shared hosting side of the business. This year we're trying to bring in topics about more advanced hosting services such as dedicated, co-location, and application hosting.
HOSTSEARCH: From what I have read there seems to be more of an emphasis on networking and the social side this year. I heard there's going to be some charity cards games. Apart from that what else is on offer?
GEORGE A. ROBERTS: We're trying to make sure it's a well-rounded event containing education, vendor interaction, and networking opportunities. On Monday evening there will be a networking reception in the exhibit hall from 5-7pm, followed by an after hours party sponsored by cPanel at JET nightclub. On Tuesday, FastServers.net will be sponsoring an after hours party at Pure.
HOSTSEARCH: Where can those interested in attending get more information?
GEORGE A. ROBERTS: Our website, hostingcon.com, is the best source for up to date information on the show.
HOSTSEARCH: Obviously you'll be wanting to get 2006 out of the way, but have any decisions about 2007? Location, etc.?
GEORGE A. ROBERTS: We're still working on 2007. We plan to be back in Las Vegas again next year, but we're still in contract negotiations at this point so I don't have dates or location yet.
HOSTSEARCH: OK - well look... Thanks again for your time and certainly look forward to seeing you around HostingCon...
GEORGE A. ROBERTS: It was my pleasure! We look forward to seeing everyone at HostingCon 2006.