I usually consider a con pretty successful (for me personally -- judging to see if it was successful for catvalente, career-wise, happens on different axes), if it supplies a certain critical mass of the following things:
* I get to meet up with the people I wanted to see (usually friends we only get to see at those cons, locals, etc)
* I like the dealer room / art show. I manage to find some interesting book/art loot to haul (though hopefully not overspend).
* How's the programming look? How many of the panels would I like to go to? (I don't actually attend that many, since my main goal at cons is to help out Cat. But I still look to see how many are tempting).
* If I do make it to a panel, how was it?
* I meet interesting new people, get exposed to new ideas, have revelations.
So we went to Boskone this past weekend. And I really liked it, it was interesting and fairly devoid of stress. A success, by my parameters above!
Thoughts form Boskone:
* yagathai is amazing and super helpful, and has great friends. Cat and I had to organize a surprise SWFA party on no notice (ie, it was a surprise to us, that we had to run it, not that it was a surprise party). Mike stepped in (and also had a posse of awesome BwB friends who pitched in) and helped us out -- we threw together a pretty great party, considering the time limitations.
* Got to meet up with omnia_mutantur briefly, and chat
* Met a new favorite artist! Coralynn Rowell of robotlovenoises.com -- she was doing cute robot sketches for $5 a pop. I picked up a print of that tree painting that's on the front page, plus a couple others, and we also won an art auction original piece from her. I think I know who I'd like to ask to design my next large tattoo!
* OMG got to see s00j and Betsy Tinney again! Super briefly -- we had panels and meetings to set up during most of their concerts, but still! I missed them so much. They're coming to stay at our house in a few days, though, and we're having a house concert on the island (which means you should come!). In fact, we'll see them tonight at another house concert at Kyth's house in Concord.
* LOVED the dealer room / art room. They put the two areas together, plus the con suite, plus the gaming area, all in a huge open space in the basement. Loved it! You walk down there, and it's such a feeling of richness/plenty, loot and food and art as far as the eye can see. Plus it makes for a central social point of the con, very helpful. I wish more cons would do something similar (I understand not all hotels / spaces support that).
* Went to an interesting panel (on Writing for MMOs), recommended Neal Stephenson's REAMDE novel to everybody.
* Got a chance to hang out and talk more with Charlie Stross and Ian Tregillis.
* Got to see Lawrence Schimel again (haven't seen him in years, since that Wiscon in like 06)!
Anyways, it was a great con (my first Boskone, actually). Still much to think about and process.