I cannot believe that DevCon is less than a month away – I am so excited! If you’ve never been, I thought I’d share the reasons I love DevCon…and maybe convince those of you still on the fence to book your ticket today and join us –
1. The jam-packed agenda of great sessions and speakers
We didn’t get many complaints from last year’s conference, but one piece of feedback was that it was often hard to decide what to attend. I can’t say we’ve solved that problem. We tried to design the schedule so that if you are focused on using Alfresco in a particular way, the sessions you’d likely be interested in don’t conflict. The mobile sessions line-up sequentially, for example. That doesn’t mean there won’t be hard decisions–looking over the session list for both Berlin and San Jose I’m already struggling with which sessions to attend. If you’ve got the budget and the bench, I’d bring a friend.
2. Seeing the “A-Ha!” moments in real-time
I get all kinds of ideas for my own projects, our product and our community when I listen to a DevCon talk. I like looking around and seeing the wheels turning in the other attendees’ heads. The hastily snapped picture of a great idea eloquently expressed in a slide. The furiously scribbled reminder note to run a project improvement idea past the rest of the team. The code tweaked with a new-found insight. The revelatory tweet sharing the discovery with others who were stuck on the same damn thing. When I say DevCon is electric, that’s what I’m talking about. You almost can’t help but come away with at least a handful of things that you can apply to your projects. That’s probably why 100% of attendees surveyed from last year (both EMEA and Americas) said the conference was useful.
3. I love hearing from the community of customers, partners and developers
We have so many smart, creative, innovative and interesting people in our community. I like hearing your stories. I like hearing how a blog post saved you a ton of work. Or how someone in the forums went out of their way to get you over a hurdle. Or how you’ve been struggling with an approach to a problem that was solved by attending a DevCon talk.
Beyond the community, I enjoy hearing how you are using Alfresco. The platform has such broad applicability, it never ceases to amaze me the myriad ways people are leveraging Alfresco to improve their organizations. This is something I know the rest of the senior management team, product management and engineering all love about DevCon–the opportunity to get your feedback and to talk with you one-on-one about what we could be doing better from a product, community and corporate standpoint is second-to-none.
4. I love hanging out with the engineers
Alfresco engineers are extremely active in the forums. Many of them write blogs that are often the best source of detailed technical information available. I can usually get them to do a Tech Talk Live on the first Wednesday of each month. And I’ve even spotted some hanging out in #alfresco. But most of the time they are busy, heads-down knocking out code. DevCon brings a necessary interruption to daily coding life as we bring as much of the engineering team to DevCon as we can. If you have a nagging problem, if you have a product enhancement idea, if you want help thinking through an approach to a customization or if you just want to know why a technical trade-off was made, you can get all of those questions answered at DevCon plus more by the people who wrote the code.
5. The focus time is vital to maintain perspective
All of us are going full swing almost every day. We’re so far down in the weeds we forget to look up and think about the bigger picture. This is true for me and everyone at Alfresco and all of you. DevCon gives you a chance to step away from your projects for a few days and consider them more broadly. Is your approach sound? What are others doing on their projects that might make yours better? How can you leverage the direction of the platform to your advantage? Are there small things you could do that would have a big, positive impact on your customers and end-users? Regardless of where you are in your project’s life cycle, bringing your team to DevCon can make a lot of sense for this reason alone.
6. I get to see people face-to-face I normally interact with only virtually
I get to collaborate with people all over the world on a daily basis. Our always-on, always-connected, work-from-anywhere world makes it easy to do that. But it means I “meet” and work with many people I rarely or never get to see face-to-face. I think it’s vital to make that happen and DevCon is a great place to do it. I’ve seen people meet in-person at DevCon for the first time who have previously interacted only through the forums, knowing each other only by their username. These virtual relationships we establish in the Alfresco community are anything but virtual–they are real and important and, sometimes, long-lasting. Face-to-face meetups like DevCon reinforce these important relationships.
7. Just like our product, our conference continues to innovate
Last year we took DevCon to a whole new level. This year, based on your feedback, we’ve kept what worked and added a few new things to see how they fly. We’ve expanded the training offering, we’ve added a pre-conference hack-a-thon, we’ve got two sessions of lightning talks along with a few other surprises in store. Some will work and some may fall short, but I’m confident that if we continue to listen to your great ideas, DevCon is going to continue to be the place to get the technical low-down on the platform and to collaborate with others on best practices, tips-and-tricks and how-to’s.
That’s what makes DevCon special for me. You might have a different list. If so, I’d love to hear it. Looking forward to seeing you all this November in Berlin and San Jose!