Disclaimer: This article is the start to a whole series about conference going. You can read about what usually happens when I go somewhere and there's a conference involved.
Maybe you Internet types don't like Episode I (You know what saga I'm referring too!) but I'll start with the first episode, not the 4th, like some people.
If I am in your following list on Twitter (If I'm not, then I definitely did something wrong with my social skills!) you may recall something about me going to a conference a few days ago (I should mention this is NOT my first conference!).
Well, I attended the SmartWebConf in Bucharest (weird city!) and let's start from the premise that is was awesome (And believe me it was super awesome. no irony intended), but I'll get to that in just a bit.
It all started in the year of our lord 2013 on the third day of the month of harvest at 11:17am. I was casually removing some slugs from a WordPress custom post type when, a good friend of mine, (Yes, him!) sends me the now famous, mentioned tweet.
At first I was reluctant in replying to the said mentioned tweet, but I said to myself (Well actually my inner Morgan Freeman voice said.) what the hell and did it anyway. The reply was, let's say, a cheesy one.
I finished my slug removing and didn't bother looking for the aftermath of my reply. Some time passed and my inbox was flooded with e-mails about my achievement.
All was well and the day before the conference came. In Romania, when you need to get somewhere and you don't have a car you need to rely on the mercy of private companies to get you around (Trains do exist, but for some reason they're not as often as you might think and not at a reasonable, late in the night, hour). That being said, I put my faith in humanity once again and booked a ticket for a bus with a private company.
So far so good. But wait, there's more! It was a late bus (The middle of the night, late!), my alarm didn't go off and you can figure out what happened next. I wake up right after the bus leaves. What to do, what to do? No seriously, what should I do? Book another ticket, right? Easier said then done. The next bus wasn't leaving for next 4 hours, but I booked it anyway. Get to the bus station. Check! Get the bus ticket. Check! Realize that the ticket is in fact the receipt for the ticket because that's how that company works. Check! Getting on the new bus. Check! Alright, the bus leaves.
So far so good, sounds familiar right? The bus makes about half the distance to Bucharest and guess what, it breaks down (Smoke coming out of the back and technical stuff like that!). The bus driver struggles to get the bus to about 75% of the way to Bucharest until it finally breaks down (The bus, not the driver, but maybe the driver also broke down.).
Getting on another bus. Check! I get to Bucharest and immediately find the nearest tube station. The distance from where I get off the tube to the conference place is about 20 min of walking, but I didn't knew that at that particular moment and I get a cab, and what do you know, the cab driver asks for more money then what the counter was saying.
But all was good, I check in and find myself a chair. And now the awesome begins (It was just puppies and unicorns until now!). I tip my imaginary hat (If I had one of those!) to the organizers. It was a well-organized event and the overall look and feel was impressive.
The speakers, that included @snookca, the one and only @smashingmag, @brucel and a few others that are just as awesome (@sickdesigner was the only Romanian speaker, but that didn't stop him!), were top-notch.
The amount of information was "over 9000" and the atmosphere they created was just as it should have been, immersive, fun and a bit technical (but not too much, I wanted a bit more). I found out about a lot I didn't know from Vitaly (That I'd like to thank for bringing Cody to me, all the way from Germany.), I laughed with Bruce and learned about usability testing from Dan.
After everyone said their goodbyes and the organizers thanked everyone and invited us for a well deserved beer, each of the attendees made use of the remaining time, doing what they enjoy the most (Drinking beer, of course! Myself included.).
And I should wrap this up. Leaving the joking aside, my overall experience was good (With the minor incidents I experienced!) and I totally recommend, if you have the time and resources necessary, to attend a conference. You'll learn a lot, meet a lot of fun, smart people who will make you do stuff that you wouldn't try doing on your own and by yourself.
In our line of work it's good to socialize, so that we can eliminate that thought we all have in our back of our heads. Penguins? No. Not being accepted in the line of duty and being labeled as an anti-social person (We all know a few people like this.) by your fellow developer/designer colleagues.
That is all, until the next conference adventure, code long and prosper!