Reflections on DrupalCon Denver 2012
Having just returned last Saturday from a trip to the annual North American DrupalCon in Denver, I wanted to reflect a bit on the importance of the events of the week. First of all, I'm grateful to Music City Networks for sending Joe Stewart and I for another year to further our education and network amongst peers. This is my second conference and Joe's third, and we agree it seems to get better every year. For those of you who may be new to this DrupalCon thing, I'll post some highlights.
From the top-tier keynote speakers (Drupal creator Dries Buytaert, Mozilla's Mitchell Baker and Mobile First writer Luke Wrobleski) to the 3 days of sessions, the opportunity for learning was ever-present. The sessions range from introductory to advanced, from business development to Drupal core conversations. Whether you are going there as a designer/developer new to Drupal, an entrepeneur seeking to start a Drupal company or are one of the key people in moving Drupal as a software into the future, there was plenty to fill your time. Even as I become more seasoned with Drupal camps and conferences, I still find myself gleaning a lot, particularly this year from the Core Conversations (tracks pertaining to Drupal core) and Birds of a Feather (impromptu group conversations) available.
One of the first things you notice at a Drupal camp or conference is the incredible feeling of community. Even with 3100+ attendees this year at DrupalCon Denver, that feeling remained consistent. Although I have built up a few years of relationships in the community, it never ceases to amaze me how easy it is to make new friends, even connect with some of the most "famous" people in the Drupal community throughout the week. I have never felt like there were cliques or echelons in the community, something that is hard to come by in most circles. If you want to learn or work, everyone is there to encourage and help you along. Which leads me to my final point...
Joe and I both took part in this year's coding sprint the Friday following sessions. Although Joe has helped in the past, this was a first for me and was probably my favorite experience of the week. And it's not even that I offered a lot of help myself - it was purely the reality of sitting in the same room with some of the brightest minds in the community working and sharing towards the same final goal - improving the Drupal experience. Looking around and watching as Drupal's founder, core maintainers, some of the most important contributors, friends and colleagues contributed their time to the project was genuinely inspiring to witness.
In case you were wondering, this is most definitely my shameless plug for attending DrupalCon! It has become one of the highlights of my year, and I believe is key to being a part of the Drupal experience. Plus, you get to do things like hiking in the Rockies. :)