The Hallway Track Blog

In the last years I have organized several conferences and similar events and I have been to many more. I have been to conferences as a normal attendee, as a speaker and as a reporter. And I have done the behind the scenes work in many roles from programm committee member to head organizer, some of it as a hobby and some of it as paid work. In this blog, I want to share the experience I have gained and help others who are planning to create their own events.

I started organizing events without any formal education on how to do this and without even a book about the subject to help me along. Instead I watched what other people were doing, noted what I liked about other events and what I didn’t like. And I tried out things, some of which worked and some didn’t. Because I think conferences are important to learn and to network with your colleagues, I want to help make this process easier for other people. And while my experience is from IT conferences, most of it is probably applicable to other subjects as well. From my background of organizing events on a budget for user groups instead of working for a company organizing expensive management events, my view might be slightly biased towards the do-it-yourself mindset instead of giving large amounts of money to conference hotels and let them do a large part of the work.

The plan for this blog is to collect my (and possibly other peoples’) ideas on how to organize a conference. I intend to write an article every week or so about some aspect of event management. The blog can capture the information and hopefully brings it into a public discussion. I encourage everyone to contribute with comments and maybe articles. We’ll see where this goes.

The name for this blog is derived from the proverbial “hallway track”, the informal gatherings of attendees of a conference in the hallway between the official sessions. Experienced conference goers know that the hallway track can be more important than the formal tracks with their talks.

About Jochen Topf: I work as an independent software developer and consulant focused on internet technologies. I live in Karlsruhe, Germany. For more information see my business home page and my private home page. You can reach me at

One Response to “The Hallway Track Blog”

  1. David Says:

    Hi Jochen, thanks for pointing me to this blog at Linux Tag. I really like the article about bags. Organzing conferences involves lots of things that can be deduced from best practice or common sense, but the sheer amount of things you have to think of and keep in mind will inevitably lead to lots of details that are forgotten. So writing down even the most obvious tasks will be very helpful.

    So thanks again, I will try to spread the word.