First there was ORF 2008. The Three Amigos (myself, Rolando Hernandez and Greg Barton) were the instigators at the continued prodding of Mark Proctor of Drools fame. Rolo and I had our talks rejected by Business Rules Forum because they were too technical. So, we decided to start our very own conference for geeks and nerds. Pete Carapetyn helped in the beginning but dropped out because he just didn't want to tell vendors we might have 500 people. I used the term "might" because anything is possible.
I, on the other hand, really believed that if we set the price at $150 we would be swamped with applicants. (Didn't happen, BTW. We only had about 125 applicants and 30 speakers.) But it was lots of fun and I (it was my credit card after all) lost only about $1,000 on that venture. The speakers were some of the best (technically) in the world. FICO stepped in as a Diamond sponsor (God Bless Carole Ann!) and we made it.
ORF 2009: We raised the price to $500 not expecting the market to drop out the bottom. We moved the event to the finest hotel in Texas, the Adolphus (built by the Busch founder and hosted Queen Elizabeth in 1998) that was located right in the middle of all of the restaurants and only six blocks from Dealy Plaze where JFK was shot. FICO (Carole Ann again) and No Magic stepped up for Diamond sponsors but we had only 35 paying attendees. This one lost about $14K. But, once again, the speaker were the best and even improved over the year before.
ORF 2010: I had gone to work for a vendor so I couldn't do the conference and I handed it over to Jason Morris. Jason had the foresight to realize that he could lose his hind quarters so he set up a committee to help. Carole Ann left FICO so there went that sponsor. But, they got ILOG (IBM now) to replace FICO and only Gary Riley dropped out of the top speaker list from the year before. (His spousal unit was in the hospital for repair.) They dropped the October out of the name (buggers!) but the hotel was on the same level (quality wise) as The Adolphus. It's only drawback was that it was located in a sea of residential homes. The committee fell in love with the hotel and forgot that most people like to end the day, walk out of the hotel and wander around at various pubs and bars. On the other hand, the conference was a 100 with 10x bulls eyes. (If you're a target shooter you know what that means. If you're not a target shooter, you should be.)
ORF 2011: I would like to see it moved to San Francisco, Miami, or Nice in France. They probably won't but I'm just going to wait and see. BRF tried to have a BRF in Europe and they had to cancel for lack of attendees. Very, very embarrassing for all concerned. But, San Francisco or Miami? What do you guys think?
So, see you guys in (??) for Rules Fest 2011?