I had a recent discussion with some people coming to Southwest Fox 2008 concerning the registration process and possibly streamlining it. They asked a question about online registration and why we don’t have it. The basic reason is simple: I don’t want to store your credit card information on our Web site or someone else’s Web site. The merchant setup we have is relatively economical and integrates with QuickBooks seamlessly, but requires me to enter in the credit card number into QuickBooks. I literally have had nightmares about someone calling claiming we were responsible for their credit card getting out for hackers and thieves. Not going to do it (in my best impersonation of Dana Carvey impersonating George Herbert Walker Bush).

The reason the person was interested in an online form is the fact they have to print out the form and sign it, then scan it in to send to me via email. Some registrations come in with a scanned signature image pasted into the Word document. Others have printed out the registration and fax the printed form with the added cost of a one or two minute long distance phone call. All this because they had to sign the form. This takes more time for everyone using either technique. Wouldn’t it be nice if you could just fill out the form and email it in and have the signature somehow be electronic? Sure. Several registrations emailed in have a note on the signature line about the signature being “on file.” The fact the individual emailed it to us is good enough for the electronic signature. So feel free to email those registrations in.

Earlier this year I was streamlining the data entry part of the registration. I was curious on the distribution for the way people sent us registrations for last year’s conference. I was surprise by the results back then:

  1. Fax: 49%
  2. Email: 29%
  3. Snail Mail: 13%
  4. In Person: 9%

I expected email to be the clear winner. So far the distribution for this year’s registration is:

  1. Fax: 43%
  2. In Person: 24%
  3. Email: 19%
  4. Snail Mail: 14%

Now I might have a better understanding why so many people prefer fax. It makes no difference to me how you send in a registration. The streamlining of the process is designed to help you save time and possibly a little bit of cash.

With the biggest bulk of registrations expected over the next few weeks I think this streamlining of the process is being timed well. Let me know your thoughts. We are open to different ideas especially if it reduces administrative overhead.

The updated registration form is on the Southwest Fox Web site. No need to get it if you already have it filled out, just note on the signature lines that your signature is “on file.”

Only 22 days to take advantage of the early-bird registration benefits: save $75 for the registration, get a free pre-conference session, a chance at a $300 scholarship toward your registration from White Light Computing, and the bragging rights that you are already registered for Southwest Fox 2008.

Only 129 days until we meet in Mesa!

Rick Schummer

Rick is the lead organizer of Southwest Fox and president of White Light Computing, one of the platinum sponsors of the conference.


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