Bro, do you even attend?

I go to quite a few conferences - either as a speaker or an attendee, it doesn’t matter. In most cases, it’s not even about the talks (except at workshop-only conferences, which are priceless) - it’s all about the networking.

It’s conferences where you’ll meet the people you converse with on Twitter, where you get to know both the influential and the ambitious members of the community, where you’ll find out about new and interesting ideas like building a snake game in pure PHP (coming soon to a SitePoint near you!) or how to mod Minecraft and build terrain in it automatically with nothing but a bit of non-blocking PHP (post about that coming out later today on the PHP channel!).

The true value of a conference is in the network you grow, the contacts you gather, the business cards you collect. It’s in the friendships you make, and opportunities that arise from them.

As an example, this summer I pointed at a random location on a list of digital-nomad-friendly cities and decided to go there at the end of this month (October 2016). It ended up being Portugal (Porto). Then, at the recent unbelievably cool BGPHP I met, among two dozen other amazing people, Elena Kolevska, an ambitious Redis expert and general performance gal from - Portugal! Then, in another stroke of freak luck, it turned out there was a big hackathon going on in Porto just as I’m there - no more than 10 minutes from the place I’m staying at. Long story short, after a brief discussion, we were joined by Elena’s friend who is a React dev, and we now have a 3-person team to participate in the hackathon with. Regardless of the outcome (we might fail completely), it’s essentially that one single visit to BGPHP which made this possible.

You never know where you’ll end up by just, well, participating in your community. Go to conferences or, if you’re not at that stage yet or can’t afford it, go to user groups. Remember - everyone you ever meet will know something you don’t. Talking to people is never a waste, because even if you learn nothing new from them, you’ve already learned something new from them.

What was the last conference you attended? Do you submit to CFPs or even talk at user groups? What’s stopping you? Discuss your conference / user group experiences here!

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  1. I have never attended a conference.
  2. No.
  3. I am a recluse. :mask:

coothead

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1.What was the last conference you attended?
2.Do you submit to CFPs or even talk at user groups?
3.What’s stopping you?

1.Same as coothead
2.Nope, but I’d like one day, when I get a lot of experience in development, so I can answer on each question :smile:
3.I live in very small city, so there are no a lot of devs, so there are no conferences.

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At BGPHP, there were 4-5 guys from Varna - a town in Bulgaria. They didn’t have a user group, and have never attended a conference. Inspired by the conference, and nudged by some people there, there is now a VarnoPHP user group.

It is said that if there is no user group around you, YOU ARE IT.

No need to attend conferences right off the bat - start a group, discuss stuff with people, meet up for drinks, nothing needs to be official. Talking to people will also help you with point 2. - getting through some of the questions you might expect at the end of a talk. The most important thing is to start moving, and stop waiting for things to happen. The “impostor syndrome” is strong with most of us, and if you’ll wait until you feel confident enough to go on stage without actually forcing yourself to go on stage, it’ll never happen.

I, too, was one. But this job forced me to interact with people a bit more, and I’m very grateful for it. I’ve met many interesting people, encountered loads of fun opportunities, and become a more confident, better speaker because of it. Just dive into deep water and wave your hands - I guarantee you won’t sink, because you’ll see that the water isn’t really that deep :slight_smile:

Don’t like conferences… it’s all “where are you from?”, “what’s your job?”, “how long have you been working for?”

God… talk about something that’s not work.

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This organization may be useful in finding existing groups or create your own:

https://www.meetup.com/

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My most recent was #GenerateConf in London last month, but I’ve also attended SXSW a few times and the last of the ShropGeek conferences

Not yet…

I know nothing…

Aside from the travel aspect, which I don’t greatly enjoy, the conferences themselves have been very good. I’ve heard some great speakers, got to meet some of the bigger names in the process, and learned (then forgotten) a whole bunch of stuff.

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You are probably confusing reclusiveness with shyness. :eek:

Personally, I have absolutely no gregarious inclinations. :unhappy:

coothead

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Nope, pure antisocial misanthropy here. Took a while to beat it out of me.[quote=“jameson, post:5, topic:240483, full:true”]
Don’t like conferences… it’s all “where are you from?”, “what’s your job?”, “how long have you been working for?”

God… talk about something that’s not work.
[/quote]

Well programming conferences are quite literally about that - connecting work-wise. If you want to discuss other aspects, you go to conferences/meetups regarding those aspects, like board gaming events, sport events, and so on, no?

Yeah, that’s why I love WebSummerCamp’s workshop-only focus. I couldn’t list the talks I heard by name, but I could recite every workshop I attended line by line of code.

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Now you are presuming that all recluses, which by
inference includes me, are antisocial misanthropes. :cold_sweat:

What does amuse me, though, is the thought that a
long course of corporal punishment could possibly
cure antisocial misanthropic tendencies in you or
anyone else. :flushed:

coothead

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What was the last conference you attended?

HighEdWeb2016 in Memphis, TN. https://2016.highedweb.org/ Taught at the academy before the conference, and then presented at the conference in the Tech track. Before that it was #WPCampus (http://wpcampus.org/).

Do you submit to CFPs or even talk at user groups?

Yes. Getting ready to do a talk at http://handsonhacking.org/ next month, and have done hands-on workshops locally covering the OWASP Top 10. Getting ready to do the same hands-on workshop for our local OWASP chapter.

What’s stopping you?

Money? My organization doesn’t have the funds to send me to conferences/user groups so I have to self-fund everything I go to. Other than that, time and a topic to present on.

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