I wasn’t implying in any way that sponsors aren’t important. In fact, it really was the other way around. As I mentioned,
Code Camp is free to the attendees but there is still a cost to the organizers. That cost is defrayed as much as possible by support from Microsoft and other sponsors.
Without the sponsors, it would be very costly for the user groups and other community groups to put on an event like Code Camp. Sponsors help defray the costs of these events by providing the food, facilities, free give-aways, etc. The fact that such sponsorship is necessary is not negative; it is simply a fact. Without such sponsorship most of these events would never take place.
To any one who organizes or sponsors Code Camps (or any other similar event), apologies if you felt I was implying anything negative about such support.
The post was really aimed at those individuals who attend these events only for the swag. I had previously said
While the swag is fun it shouldn’t be your main reason for attending.
I still hold to that statement. The real purpose of organizing an event like Code Camp isn’t to provide swag, but rather to provide a free technical learning experience to the developer community. The fact that these events have free stuff to give away is a side-effect of the sponsorship. The bottom line was about people providing negative feedback simply because they weren’t able to turn in evaluations “on time” to have a chance of winning the free give-aways.