tek13 Debriefing

We just finished tek13, and it was an amazing time! We hit a few bumps in the road, as all events do, but all in all, everything ran very smoothly. This was the first php[tek] conference with musketeers.me (Kevin Bruce, Oscar Merida, Sandy SmithEli White, and myself), and despite having big shoes to fill, I think we nailed it.

Since I was working at the conference, I did not get to attend very many of the events. That being said, one event that I absolutely made sure I could attend was the Mentorship Summit. There were six awesome speakers (Sean Prunka, Jacob Mather, Chris Hartjes, Lorna Mitchell, Matt Frost, and Elizabeth Smith). The talks were all inspirational and filled with great tips for getting involved, getting over your imposter syndrome, and why it is important to mentor and be mentored no matter what point you are at in your career – we all have something to learn and something to teach.

I also attended the Hackathon (sponsored by in2it) and the parties (sponsored by ServerGrove and context.io). I can’t tell you how much fun I had with the Lego contest. I haven’t sat down and played with Lego bricks in way too long (Hey Derick, are you proud I didn’t say Legos?).

One thing I always try to do at conferences is to find out who is speaking for the first time and make sure to attend one of their talks. This year, I went to see “Best Practices for the Sole Developer” by John Congdon. Despite being nervous (as we all are no matter how well we hide it), John was engaging and informative. He introduced some great concepts and tools and then facilitated a discussion on ways to handle the difficulties of working alone, allowing the devs in the audience to bring up their struggles so the group could offer suggestions.

Friday, brought tek13 to a close, but we finished on an awesome note, with Eli White reminding everyone that this week shouldn’t make you want to get involved in the community, you already are involved in the community – now stay involved. These are words I am taking to heart. Expect to see more of me via blog posts, IRC, conferences, user group meetings, and anywhere else I can find to be involved. If you want help getting involved, please let me know. I’d love to help.

Of course, we could not end tek13 without some cake for my son Liam’s birthday. I can’t tell you how much I love and appreciate how the PHP community has embraced my family, making them feel welcome whenever they can attend a conference with me. Liam loved his giant rendition of Happy Birthday. He is still talking about it. Thank you everyone for being so kind!

We rounded out the week with a big tek13 debriefing/tek14 planning session. We have a survey going, so if you have any feedback or suggestions for us, please take a moment and fill it out:
(It’s very short and will help us out a ton!)

As always, the attendees are what made tek13 great, and watching them all leave when the conference was over was very sad. So everyone I talked to, please stay in touch, and if we didn’t have a chance to meet at tek, stay in touch anyway. We’ll be one step ahead for hanging out at tek14.