A lot of you will remember (fondly I hope) the Directory Experts Conference (DEC) we ran when I was at NetPro. DEC was a technology education and networking event focused on Microsoft identity technologies like Active Directory, ADFS, MIIS/FIM/MIM, and AD RMS, and it developed an enthusiastic following in the Microsoft identity sphere.

DEC didn’t really survive NetPro’s acquisition by Quest or Quest’s acquisition by Dell, and ever since then I routinely have people asking me “When are you going to start DEC again?” There was clearly a demand for a non-marketing, technology focused conference where smart people can gather and talk about the identity stuff they love.

Resurrecting DEC didn’t really fit with my living in rural Australia at the time, but not long after we moved back to the US in 2017, I got a call from Darren Mar-Elia looking to see if I would be interested in helping him and the guys at Semperis organize an identity conference along the lines of DEC: technology focused, community driven, expert speakers, and plenty of time and space to confabulate. Of course, I jumped at the chance, and the result has been the very successful HIPConf 2017 and HIPConf 2018 in New York.

The Semperis guys will be hosting another HIPConf in October in New York, but in the interim they  have elected to try something we often thought about with DEC: run a one-day regional conference with the same basic philosophy of all tech, no marketing. The first iteration of a “HIP Day” will be at the Microsoft MTC in Chicago on March 13th. I’ll be speaking there along with Darren, DEC veterans Joe Kaplan and Brian Desmond, as well as Allen Brokken from Microsoft. Rumor has it that we’ll have some other past DEC speakers in the audience (or at least the bar).

I’m really excited about this event for a couple of reasons. First off, I’m curious to see how people like the one-day format. Everyone I’ve talked to about it has been positive, but you never really know until you try it. Second, I always love traveling somewhere to confer, converse and otherwise hobnob with my brother identity wizards. But most of all, I want to go to a conference in Chicago in March and not be the one who gets lambasted for picking the date and location. As fun as the last real DEC was in Chicago in 2008, it was March, and the weather was, uh… let’s say “less than ideal”. I still get nasty voicemails on my phone for that. Thanks Dean and Joe!

The event is free, but space is limited, and any attendee bringing a squawking rubber chicken gets a special bonus gift! So if you can make your way to Chicago, register at https://www.hipconf.com/and I’ll see you there!

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