01 December 2013

RootsTech 2014: I'm not a developer, Why should I attend Wednesday?

What is Wednesday for?
At RootsTech this year, developers are being given their own day before the regular parts of the conference begin. That day is Wednesday, February 5. Anyone with a full-pass has access to all four days, including this first day.

The first day is marketed to developers and was previously called Developer Day. This day is known as the Innovator Summit.

In previous years these types of classes were mixed into the other days. In fact, for 2014 there are still some "DEV" (developer) marked classes during the other days too. Unfortunately the word does not always get out; some of the 2013 developer classes were never listed in the schedule for that year's conference. As of this weekend (30 Nov/1 Dec), there are some classes listed in the website that are not listed in the app.

See the RootsTech.org Session Viewer for the Innovator Summit.

Now if they are calling the first day Innovator Summit and all classes on those days are marked "DEV," than why would a normal user want to attend?

Insight into future products
In past years, many of my absolute favorite classes were developer classes. These classes give some of the best perspective into the technology we users will be getting our hands on soon. I love learning about the tools and features that are not quite released. These are likely to come in the next months and years.

Some of these classes are taught in a vocabulary that the beginning user can understand. Even more is understood for intermediate users. The advanced user can understand even more of the vocabulary. A good general guideline would be to read the class description and see if you have a basic understanding of what the class description is referring too. Another good guideline is to attend the class knowing that some terms will probably be over your head. As a user, you may be listening for the product manager's explanation of the concept. If they've been talking about nothing except computer code for several minutes you can always walk out, but I think you'll enjoy hearing the concepts.

Free lunch
"Lunch is provided free for all Innovator Summit attendees." (See Innovator Summit page)

My pick of classes
As I read the descriptions I was interested in the concepts of the following classes:
  • A New Tool for Recording, Analyzing and Displaying Genetic Relationships from Y-DNA, mtDNA and Autosomal-DNA
  • Sharing Photos and Stories with FamilySearch Memories
  • FamilySearch Family Tree and Collaboration Models
  • FamilySearch Industry Leaders Town Hall - The Latest Updates From Key Executives / Open Q&A
That is one for each time slot, though there were 3 at 4:30 that interested me. One was about FamilySearch Partner Services, and the other about findmypast's technology development.

Out of the whole day, I am most interested in the last bullet point above. This looks like a great opportunity to hear from and ask questions of FamilySearch executives. I think any advanced user would enjoy that one.

What do you think? Will you be coming to the Innovator Summit? Maybe for the free lunch?


  1. I concur exactly and I have almost the exact same list of classes to attend. I guess I will see you there.

    1. I'm honored to know we have similar thoughts about the subject. God willing

  2. Thanks for helping to spread the word. I'm super excited about the Innovator's Summit day. Engineers and business owners from small companies typically spend all of RootsTech talking to customers in the Expo Hall. Now, they will have a day to focus their time and energy on future opportunities and new technologies.

  3. For those who haven't yet signed up for RootsTech, here is a promo code:

    Wednesday (1-day) pass: $59
    Full Access (4-day) pass: $139
    Promo code: IS59JZ1

    This is code is only good until January 14. At that time, the price goes to the full $239.


Thanks for your kind and thoughtful comments.