Two of My Favorite Conferences: Velocity and Surge

Two of my favorite conferences are coming up. One’s just next week, and another’s in the fall.


Velocity is such a great event. I wanted to go for years, and when I finally did it was honestly one of the highlights of my professional career. I still don’t know what I did get get invited to speak that first year. It was a golden horseshoe falling out of the sky and landing right in front of me.


It’s not the talks (though those are great). It’s the people. The people at Velocity are the people I want to spend my career with, the people thinking about the same types of problems I am, the people trying to work on similar solutions. They’re building companies, they’re making open source, they’re customers, they’re consultants, they’re just passionate practitioners. It’s just amazing what happens when this kind of group gets together.

And yeah, it’s partially because I’m a loyal O’Reilly fan. I admit it: I love O’Reilly, I truly do. It’s a remarkable group of people that has inspired me for more than a decade, and I owe a lot of who I am to O’Reilly.

Velocity starts next Tuesday in Santa Clara. If you don’t go to that one, there’s several other incarnations in New York, Barcelona, and Beijing at different times of the year. I’ll be in Santa Clara next week, in the VividCortex booth. Come say hi if you’re there.

Here’s an affiliate link that has a 20% discount code embedded in it: Velocity AFF20.


I’ve often said that Surge is Velocity without the grandiosity and with more emphasis on hardcore software and systems engineering — and a much smaller price tag.


I’ve been at every Surge event since the beginning, and I would not miss it. It’s that good. I can say all the same things about Surge as I can about Velocity, except it’s a lot easier and less expensive to get to, and it’s a lot easier to decide to attend the talks there. At Velocity sometimes I feel lost because the event is so big, and I end up not really attending many presentations, and just hanging out in the hallway track. Not so at Surge. Bonus: talks are always recorded and online, so you can go find out for yourself how good they are.

The climate at Surge is also quite different in terms of the topics. Velocity is ostensibly about the Web: backend, frontend, browser, and mobile are front and center. As a result, you can certainly find yourself in an unfamiliar clique, if you’re, say, a database administrator at a lunch table full of people who want to argue about how much hardware acceleration will save battery life in a mobile browser. Whether that bothers you or not is up to you, but I’ve found that Surge is birds of my feather for sure. It’s all about people who build what runs the Internet (not necessarily what you use to engage with the Internet).

I’m pretty loyal to the folks behind Surge, too. For one thing, a lot of them are the same people who make Velocity awesome. For another, many of them have helped me tremendously in my career and in founding VividCortex.

Surge is in early-bird pricing right now. Having run conferences before, I know why early-bird pricing exists. If you think you’ll attend, do yourself and them a favor and sign up at a discount now. Here, click this.


There are no conclusions. Conferences are good. I love Velocity. I love Surge. Go. Learn a lot. Share a lot. Make the world a better place.

I'm Baron Schwartz, the founder and CEO of VividCortex. I am the author of High Performance MySQL and many open-source tools for performance analysis, monitoring, and system administration. I contribute to various database communities such as Oracle, PostgreSQL, Redis and MongoDB.