Which country are you living in?
I can sympathise with your issue over the cost and travail that you need to go through in order to visit the US then attend DevCon.
My suggestion is that you request FileMaker to make the video's, that are recorded for nearly all the sessions, more readily and publicly available than has been the case over recent years. Even if you attend any session at DevCon, the video still holds valuable information on the detail that you may or may not have grasped during the session.
DevCon is an enriching and rewarding experience for those of us that manage to attend. Nearly all of the content is deserving of a much wider dissemination. The fear has been that it will diminish attendance but there must be a way of meeting the dual benefits -- for those that attend and want to review any speaker's presentation and those like yourself who find it beyond their means.
I suggest you write to Dominique Goupil to present your case. He is approachable and will take your concerns to the new team who are responsible for organising DevCon. It will be a challenge for them but it's an issue that needs to be addressed.
Follow blogs religiously (see listing here), subscribe to Matt Petrowsky's ISO FM Magazine, keep abreast of the fantastic videos at Todd Geist's site, check out Modular FileMaker regularly, etc. If you do these things, you'll have a well-rounded FileMaker knowledge base. Many, if not most, of the DevCon presenters maintain blogs and put the stuff they present at DevCon online in that form.
As fantastic and informative as the DevCon sessions are, the main thing you miss out on by not being able to attend (and that blogs can never make up for) is networking with your peers, which is quite important in any professional field. That said, the expense, time commitment, and distance can be prohibitive, but with a regular and disciplined routine of keeping up with blogs, etc., your inability to attend DevCon shouldn't keep you from staying current in your FileMaker skills.
I too could not afford to go to DevCon so far and I am from Cyprus. There is also a small conference in Berlin every June check out dotfmp.com. I totally empathise you on the matter and I hope they upload at least some videos soon. I am not sure what they show on the opening keynote (and don't expect answers if people are on NDA) but I believe at least this one should be live streamed to registered Developers/FBA members.
In any case after viewing both this year's and last year's schedule of sessions at the DevCon, I don't think its worth the trouble to go to every single DevCon, year-after-year. Skipping a year or two would give you better value probably. Also re: US Visa, DevCon is announced well in advance on the venue, and the dates are pretty "stable", i.e. end of July. So you can plan this well in advance and also benefit from Early Bird registration. From what I read elsewhere, FMI announced DevCon 2016 at the same venue, Cosmopolitan, 18-21 July 2016 (if memory serves well) so you can plan accordingly.
don't forget the 'FileMaker Konferenz', this year Hamburg, although german language
In October we are having til FileMaker Devcon Scandinavia, this year it is in Gothenburg, Sweden.
It is entirely in English and FileMaker is participating with top notch speakers as well.
It may also be cheaper than going to the US, at least for those of you living in Europe.
The FileMaker Devcon Scandinavia is arranged by Premium from Sweden and by Codeo from Denmark. And it is moving between Stockholm, Gothenburg and Copenhagen.
Thank you everyone for your thoughts and wonderful suggestions. I will definitely take up some of the suggestions
Just a thought here. Xojo had DevCon recently (29/04 - 01/05) in Austin. The entire session recording (including keynote) was made available to the public for USD 499. I think this is something FileMaker can do.
As pointed out by Velistar, registered developer / FBA members should be accorded more privileges to access some of these information.
Some excellent ideas here.
I approach it more from a family point of view than cost as it is currently hard to be away from a young family for 1 - 2 weeks and then arrive home shattered with Jet lag.
I would happily pay $x for access to recorded videos and slides for a conference though.
I wonder what the cost/break even point for subscribers would be to engage a third party production company to film & produce the conf?
How about a kickstarter campaign for it next year? :)
Apple make all the WWDC video sessions free after all.
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If you pay for the conference you get access to the recording even if you do not actually attend. At least you save travel costs. Maybe FMI could make the videos available for a cost that is less the price of meals. Maybe $799 or so sounds fair.
i do not currently support the idea that this should be free or too cheap.
I went to the conference in Tokyo last year. The main general session was in English. The sessions provided by FMI USA staff were in English. The rest were Japanese language and a very select few had translation available. I believe it was free and I happened to be in the area.
The depth, quality, and quantity of the sessions is nothing compared to DevCon In Vegas. Entirely less technical Information, but again it was free. Still had a great experience.
Apple make all the WWDC video sessions free after all.
Apple has a business model where they take 30% of all of your development sales. Are you suggesting that FMI switch to offering free DevCon videos in exchange for 30% of all your FileMaker sales forever? I say no to that.
I am not sure third party recording is allowed.