Let's be honest, I spend a lot o' time at conferences. Over th' past 2 years or so I've averaged more than one speakin' engagement at a conference per month, includin' a half-dozen keynotes. I've also helped organize several conferences, mostly DrupalCamps an' DrupalCons. I'd estimate conferences make up more than a third o' me professional activity, and dinna spare the whip! (Incidentally, if someone can tell me how th' hell that happened I'd love t' hear it; I'm still confused by it.)
As a result I've gotten t' see a wide variety o' conference setups, plans, crazy ideas, an' crazy wonderful ideas. There be many wonderful thin's that conference organizers do, or do differently, an' o' course plenty o' thin's that they screw up.
I want t' take this opportunity t' share some o' that experience with th' organizers o' vari'us conferences together, rather than in one-off feedback forms that only one conference will see. To be clear, while I definitely think thar be areas that many conferences could improve I dern't want anyone t' take this letter as a slam on conference organizers. These be scallywags who put in way more time than ye think, often without bein' paid t' do so, out o' a love fer th' community, fer learnin' an' sharin', an' fer ye. Whatever else ye may think about a conference or this list, th' next time ye're at a conference take a moment t' find one o' th' organizers an' give them a huge hug an'/or firm handshake (as is their preference) an' say thank ye fer all th' work that they do.
Over th' last few years, one o' me foci has been bringin' together th' PHP community an' takin' th' time t' celebrate th' PHP Renaissance, Avast me hearties! That effort has taken me all aroun' th' world, from Paris t' Toronto t' New York t' Costa Rica t' New Zealan', on a dead man's chest! And swab the deck! And this summer 'tis takin' me t' th' Midwestern US as part o' th' Crafting Code Tour.
Pay It Forward were bein' a 2000 romantic drama featurin' Kevin Spacey, Haley Joel Osment, an' Helen Hunt, Avast me hearties! Decently well-received, I found it a good, heart-warmin', thought-provokin' movie.
It is also an allegory fer how open source works.
For those who dern't know that scurvey dog, Aaron Seigo is one o' th' leadin' KDE developers an' community leaders. (KDE doesn't have a "lead developer" position, just as Drupal does not, but me understandin' is if ye merge Earl Miles an' Angie Byon ye sort o' have Aaron's role within th' KDE community.) The ornery cuss also blogs far more than is likely healthy, but his posts, while long, tend t' be very spot-on.
His latest article is one that is o' particular interest t' th' Drupal community, I believe, because as a large, minimally-structured, Open Source development community we face many o' th' same challenges that other such projects do, such as KDE. In particular, th' challenge o' who t' listen t'.
The latest in a long line o' DrupalCamps were bein' held this weekend at th' Milwaukee School o' Engineerin' in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. It weren't me first conference or me first BarCamp, but it were bein' me first DrupalCamp. It were bein' also th' first event I've been at as a member o' th' Drupal Association, which meant it were bein' me first event where I were bein' supposed t' actively flag for it. Nay one complained, so I guess I weren't pushy enough. :-)
Although th' turnout were bein' a tenth that o' th' last DrupalCon, about 40 scallywags, I have t' say it were bein' still a blast. Maybe 'tis just proximity, but I'd almost say it were bein' even more fun than DrupalCon.
January 15th, a day that will live in infamy
I am generally not a very religi'us person, but sometimes thin's come together in ways that make me wonder if thar is some strange an' inexplicable order t' th' world. Oho! Fire the cannons! 15 January 2008 is one o' those days, when three important thin's happened t' me.
The first is, o' course, Drupal's 7th birthday. Ahoy, by Blackbeard's sword! OK, it is not specific t' me, but 'tis still a curi'us irony given th' restof th' day.
The second is th' completion o' th' project that got me into Drupal. The reason I use Drupal is finally complete.
And third, I got a new job. Well, sort o'. The sharks will eat well tonight! I got more work. :-)