What software engineers want: Event Edition
Listen, I awkwardly kissed Brendan Eich, I applauded Werner Vogels while speaking AI, I was with Douglas Crockford when he announced Neo.
If there is one thing I know, they are conferences for software engineers.
But here's the problem - for some reason, developer conferences are bad.
Like, really bad.
And it 's not because ofthe speakers. The speakers are always excellent. It is the event that is bad.
I don 't mean to name nor ashamed, but I recently went to a high priced conference with some of the biggest names in software engineering - where all the stuff The goal of the event team seemed to be to get people to take a selfie with an inflatable shark. You know, rather than coding.
So, rather than clenching my fist in front of a cold and ruthless universe, I thought maybe it would be a little more productive to have a think about the Perfect Conference ™ for developers. Feel free to steal these tips for your next networking / conference / gathering / worship meeting.
Offer good (and free) coffee
It 'sa non-trainer; coffee addiction is real i am coffee addict please give me coffee. No, I don't want herbal tea, I spend eight hours a day designing complex algorithms in my brain.
You see, the problem is people - when you limit my coffee supply with massive queues, sky-high prices, or terrible coffee, I say nothing because I am British. But I'm silently bubbling with rage, like that boiling kettle you use to pour my overpriced latte. And I'll be running out of caffeine so much I'll probably skip that last speaker.
And it 's on you.
Give regular breaks
Here is the thing, learning is a bit exhausting. When you go to see a good speaker, your mind needs to clear before the next one.
Also, when was the last time you went to a conference and your website / application / API failed?exploded dramatically and immediately? It literally never happened.
You see, everyone attending this conference has a job that didn't just hit pause while we are attending your conference. There are emails to answer, bugs to fix, product managers to ignore. Rather than taking a bunch of short breaks, why not take a 30-minute break every two hours so we can get some work done?
Designated coding and places of discussion
So, it 's really two points in one.
Let me reveal a shocking secret to you. A significant majority of developers are really a little hard to speak to.
Shocker, I know.
Now I don't worry - I'm not exactly the Prom King of social events. MAYS - when you're at a developer conference, there's this awkward dynamic where there are two groups of people; people who awkwardly try to network; and people who don't want you to talk to them.
These two camps are indistinguishable to the naked eye.
You might be chatting with a guy who absolutely doesn 't want to be chatted, while next to him is someone trying to insert into the conversation and failing. Hell, I've been those two people - and that's a very easy problem to solve!
Here is what we do, we
There is the "Silent " section, where people can code, respond to emails, and where it is generally agreed that we will politely ignore each other until 'at our next workshop. And then on the other side of the room ise the "Networking " section, where you are effectively playing fair. All bets are off. If you're standing on that side of the yellow ribbon - you're basically saying, "Hey, come talk to me, don't be put off by my awkward interaction with you - I really want to talk to you! ".
I'm really hink this would solve 99% of weird interactions.
Because half the time when you're chatting with a guy who might be building the NextBigThing ™, I actually think they want to talk to you, but the general awkwardness of the conversation gives the impression that you are boring them. Clear boundaries would be really helpful.
Start the conference late and end late
I have yet to meet a developer who was delighted that the speaker main started at 9 am.
In fact, I know a lot more developers who missed the keynote speaker by hitting the snooze button, and had to watch the talk on YouTube after the event. Which, you know, they could have been. do it anyway without buying a thousand dollar ticket.
We just have to admit that a lot of developers wake up late, and even the ones who don't might come from all over the country - maybe even the world - and that makes you drowsy.
So let's start the event in the late morning, like 11 am, and let's see your attendees miraculously attend the speaker they paid for through the nose.
The workshops should allow you to download the code first.
I have not yet attended a workshop where the Internet was not interrupted halfway.course of the event. I don't know why WiFi is so bad in event spaces Steve Jobs had to tell reporters to stop to use the fucking WiFi , but it is, this is something that really happened, and we have to plan ahead for that.
I suggest that when you say you are going to a workshop, you get a link to a Github repository where you can download the entire codebase before you get there Then the speaker can walk you through the code while building it from scratch, and you can follow along without having to install any dependencies, or type at the same speed as the guy who knows exactly what he is typing. .
And the traffic jams? Why don't event spaces have outlets ?! Electricity is a prerequisite for software engineering. bornis not a "good to have". There is nothing sadder than a flat MacBook. Please don't kill our stuff.
Women should enter for free
So before I am crucified by the Red Pill mob, listen to me. Here is a photo I took of the queue for the men's restroom at the last conference I attended.
Yes, this is a row for the men's restroom, next to an empty door for the women. It turns out that there aren't many women in tech Or, in order not to give such a responseAnd maybe get us a little closer to a problem that we can solve, there aren't a lot of women compared to men who attend tech conferences for whatever reason.
And that 'sa real problem.
I have yet to meet a developer who doesn 't find it incredibly annoying how obvious this difference is. It’s a strange task in an industry that is among the most liberal of companies. There is a reason why Google is facing walkouts for exactly this reason.
Lectures are good enough to make sure the speaker list is around 50/50, but what about the attendees? We have so many guys we're blocking the urinals.
So if that's a problem, let's fix it! Maybe with marketing campaigns aimed at female developers and a number of free tickets for women. We're giving student discounts because we want to encourage them to participate and, in turn, help improve the future of the industry. Why not a whole kind of humanity?
Drink tokens for networking
Enough moans - let's talk about a big event to get some ideas.
A few weeks ago , I went to a networking event organized by a tech recruiting company, where at the door they gave you two drink tokens.
It seemed to me pretty stingy, but anyway i earn money to pay for things so i tried to buy a drink with real money.
Plot twist - You can'ts. You can * only * pay for drinks with drink tokens.
So we decided to chat with bankers about why C # is terrible language while we whistle our drinks, when another rep came over and gave everyone in the party two more drink tokens.
The game is on, Watson.
It turns out that during this event if you were networking you were rewarded with more drink tokens as a kind of positive reinforcement technique like a drinking version of this episode of the Big Bang Theory .
And you know what? It worked! I don't think there was a single group in this room that we haven't talked to. So the moral of the story is that if vWe're going to pay for an open bar at your next developer conference anyway, so why not make sure your money is well spent?
In addition, there were free pizzas. It was a pretty dope night.
And a ball pool! There was really everything.
So if there are any event handlers who want to work together to create the Perfect Conference ™, then please call me I have a space in thead .