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My Science Fair Project Was a Hit at NTC, Washington DC

March 23, 2011

The Nonprofit Technology Conference (NTC) in Washington DC on March 17th was my first adventure in Plone evangelism.  NTC is a great conference organized by NTEN (Nonprofit Technology Network), and aimed at the nonprofit technology community.

My mission during the event was manning the Plone Foundation Booth at the Science Fair. The Science Fair isn't your typical conference exhibit hall. It does not run through the entire conference and compete with everything else on the agenda. The Science Fair takes place only on the first day of the NTC, and it is the sole focus of the conference for that day.

As a result, the room was full from start to finish. Fortunately, Chris Johnson of ifPeople and Calvin Hendryx-Parker, Plone Foundation President and CTO of Six Feet Up were on hand to answer questions and provide demos to the attendees that flocked to the Plone booth.

Plone was a huge hit at the conference. Most organizations seemed to be in the market for some type of content management system and researching open source options. Six Feet Up was a major sponsor of the Idealware report "2010 Comparing Open Source Content Management Systems: WordPress, Joomla, Drupal and Plone" that was published in December 2010. The report compares the open source content management systems Plone, Joomla, Wordpress and Drupal. The friendly folks at Idealware provided 500 printed copies of the report for NTC this year. Since Six Feet Up was there manning the Plone Foundation booth, we had the report to hand out to interested attendees. We distributed about 50 copies of the report during the event and discovered that many others already had received a copy at the Idealware booth.

The most common question on potential users' lips was "What is Plone?" I certainly perfected my presentation of the basics of Plone in the 5 hours of the Science Fair. Another popular question was what is the basic feature set of Plone, which is much harder to answer in a short amount of time. Fortunately, we had come prepared with a number of computers all running the Plone demo. This allowed us to show people the power of Plone and let them get their hands on the user interface to experience how easy Plone is to use. Integration with any number of CRM (Customer Relationship Management) systems was also a hot topic.

All in all, I had a great time at NTC and I would gladly do it again. It is easy to talk about a solution you believe in and that offers the features many organizations are looking for out of the box.

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